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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hacking Wordpress

I was to configure and install wordpress for a client and so my recent obsession is wordpress themes. Wordpress has a large collection of themes, however a lot of wordpress premium themes are for sale (you need to buy them).

After a lot of searching on the web I found methods to get the professional look and feel for a website by extending wordpress with plug-ins and themes. 

A few websites I found useful for getting themes :

Now let us see how the files are designed. Wordpress themes are distributed in compressed files. On extracting the files, we get a folder that contains the relevant theme files. The folder name is usually the name of the theme itself, however some themes are distributed with plug-ins used by the theme. The themes with additional plug-ins have 2 folders marked as themes and plugins. 

In the theme folder, we will find some php files, namely index.php, page.php, header.php, footer.php, and others as per the requirements of theme. There would also be javascript files, images, includes and css files which are, in most cases, packed into sub-folders. This folder containing the theme files should be copied into your wordpress installation folder on your server, and folders should be given unix permissions of 755, whereas files should be given 644. The folder where the theme folder should be copied (or uploaded) is <wordpress-root>/wp-content/themes/.

The plug-ins need to go to the folder : <wordpress-root>/wp-content/plugins/. Again, the privileges as discussed above should be given to the files. On Windows servers, read permission to IUSER should be given, for these folders.

Permissions are vital in a wordpress installation, as the theme should be readable by the client browsing the website.

So, after all that I went about and selected a theme that looked good. I knew I had to tweak it a bit.

The theme in question had a 2 column layout and the left portion was a div named content and the right portion was a div named, simply, right! There was an animation on top of width 900 pixels. I dived into the php files and found out sidebar.php and promptly made the output hidden. Thus, the sidebar was gone! The next step was to edit the css file and I changed the width of the content div to 900px. That done, the theme now became a single column theme instead of a dual column. I could remove the unwanted widgets placed on the right div and make further changes to make it look like I wanted it to.

Well then, I hope this presented some insight into wordpress themes and how one can customize them to their needs. Goodbye for now.. and happy hacking!

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