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Introducing Thirty Ten, my guide to creating a Twenty Ten Child Theme

WordPress 3.0 is introducing a new theme that is light years ahead of Kubrick (also known as the old WordPress default), that looks so good you won’t even mind running it on a live site. In addition to being a beautiful theme in it’s own right, it’s also easy to build upon and create your own child themes for. I’ll show you just how easy it is to make some substantial changes. We are going to move the two column Twenty Ten to a three column theme I’m going to call Thirty Ten.

I’m going to lay out a couple of ground rules for myself when building this theme:

  1. I’m not allowed to override any of the template files with my own version. I want this to be as easy to maintain as possible. This means that I have to use footer.php, header.php and all of the other files.
  2. No output buffers This means I can’t use an output buffer and then regular expressions to get around rule number one.
  3. I want the reader of this article to be able to take and borrow any piece of this theme and use it to modify their own theme Every part of this theme and tutorial is licensed under the GNU public license, just like WordPress

The first step is to create a theme folder and put a blank style.css and functions.php in it. This is where the bulk of the changes are going to come in. into our style.css document we are going to insert our header that looks like:

[css]
/*
Theme Name: Thirty Ten
Theme URI: http://aaron.jorb.in/thirty-ten
Description: A child theme of the 2010 default theme for WordPress.
Author: Aaron Jorbin based on work by the WordPress team
Author url: http://aaron.jorb.in/
Version: 1.0
Tags: black, blue, white, three-columns, fixed-width, custom-header, theme-options, threaded-comments, sticky-post, translation-ready, microformats, rtl-language-support, editor-style
Template: twentyten
*/
@import url(‘../twentyten/style.css’);
[/css]

My next step is to follow the sage advice: “good artists borrow, great artists steal” and will use the 3c-fixed.css layout style from thematic. I also need to add a fix to make it work with the current Twenty Ten style in all browsers.

[css]
@import url(‘3c-fixed.css’);
#access{overflow: visible;}
#main{clear: both;}
[/css]

So in four lines of css, I’ve switched Twenty Ten from a two column theme to a three column theme. SWEET!

That’s how flexible twenty-ten is. I want to do more then that though, because that alone is boring. Let’s now move our navigation menu to be above our image. This step we are going to be almost as easy.

[css]
#header #access{
top: -240px;
position: relative;
}
#site-title {
margin:0 0 44px;
}
[/css]

All we are doing this time is making the site-title have a bit more of a bottom margin to bump down the image, and then filling that space with our menu. I also want to make a few cosmetic changes to the default link colors and also change the formatting in the footer a bit (which will make a lot more sense after you’ve read the rest of this tutorial) To do this I added the following css:

[css]
/* Change our default link colors */
a:link{
color:#fdb120;
}
a:visited{
color:#d00c0d;
}
a:hover{
color:#1143d8;
}
a:active{
color:#a67942;
}
/* Modify the footer to allow for a bigger description and nicer looking links */
#site-info{
width:250px;
}
#site-generator{
width: 535px;
}

#site-generator a{
background: none;
padding: 0 7px;
}

#jorbin-link a:link, #jorbin-link a:visited, #jorbin-link a:hover,#jorbin-link a:active {
color:#990000;

}
#generator-link a{
-moz-background-clip:border;
-moz-background-inline-policy:continuous;
-moz-background-origin:padding;
background:transparent url(../twentyten/images/wordpress.png) no-repeat scroll left center;
color:#666666;
display:inline-block;
line-height:16px;
margin-left:1px;
padding-left:19px;
text-decoration:none;
}
[/css]

Speaking of the header image, as much as I like the default ones, I want to include some of my own. That’s incredibly easy and leads us to our first additions to the functions.php file.

For this component, Aaron Hockley of Hockley Photography was nice enough to let me use a few of his photos that are available for you to download and use with Thirty Ten. To register some additional headers I’m using the following function:

[php]
add_action( ‘after_setup_theme’, ‘thirtyten_setup’ );
function thirtyten_setup(){

/* Add additional default headers All Photos are by Aaron Hockley of Hockley Photography */
$thirty_ten_dir = get_bloginfo(‘stylesheet_directory’);
register_default_headers( array (
‘lights’ => array (
‘url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/lights.jpg",
‘thumbnail_url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/lights-thumbnail.jpg",
‘description’ => __( ‘Lights by Aaron Hockley’, ‘thirtyten’ )
),
‘train’ => array (
‘url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/train.jpg",
‘thumbnail_url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/train-thumbnail.jpg",
‘description’ => __( ‘Train by Aaron Hockley’, ‘thirtyten’ )
),
‘bridge’ => array (
‘url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/bridge.jpg",
‘thumbnail_url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/bridge-thumbnail.jpg",
‘description’ => __( ‘Bridge by Aaron Hockley’, ‘thirtyten’ )
)

));
}
[/php]

This will add three choices for default headers to your site. It keeps all of the original default headers that come with Twenty Ten. If I wanted to get rid of any, I could use unregister_default_headers and just pass the name of the one I wanted to get ride of. Another option would be to create my own version of twentyten_setup. If you do that, make sure you include all the parts of that function you want to keep.

Another change that I want to make is the read more link. Twenty Ten uses the function twentyten_excerpt_more to make the link say ” …Continue reading → “. I’m going to make my own version that says ” …finish reading ” followed by the blog title. I do this by first adding the following function:

[php]
function thirtyten_excerpt_more($more){
return ‘&nbsp;… <a href="’. get_permalink() . ‘">’ . __(‘finish reading ‘.get_the_title() .”, ‘twentyten’) . ‘</a>’;
}
[/php]

Next I just have to deregister twentyten_excerpt_more and register my own. By adding the following lines to the function thirtyten_setup that I created earlier, I make sure that we remove twentyten_excerpt_more after it’s been created:

[php]
remove_filter( ‘excerpt_more’, ‘twentyten_excerpt_more’ );
add_filter (‘excerpt_more’, ‘thirtyten_excerpt_more’ );
[/php]

The Next change I want to make is to some of the strings. I want to have a slightly unique footer and I also want to change the meta text on single pages. As I learned in mangling strings for fun and profit/by WordPress lead Developer Peter Westwood, using the WordPress internationalization functions allows me to change almost any string in WordPress (or in this case, Twenty Ten). I use the following code for that purpose:

[php]
class Thirty_Ten_Text_Wrangler {
function site_generator($translation, $text, $domain) {
$translations = &get_translations_for_domain( $domain );
if ( $text == ‘Proudly powered by <span id="generator-link">%s</span>.’ ) {
return $translations->translate( ‘Proudly powered by<span id="jorbin-link"><a href="http://aaron.jorb.in">Aaron Jorbin\’s Idea</a></span>, <apan id="hockley-link"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahockley">Aaron Hockley / Hockley Photography</a>, and <span id="generator-link"> </span>’ );
}
return $translation;
}
function single_meta($translation, $text, $domain) {
$translations = &get_translations_for_domain( $domain );
// With Tags
if ( $text == ‘This entry was posted in %1$s and tagged %2$s. Bookmark the <a title="Permalink to %4$s" rel="bookmark" href="%3$s">permalink</a>. Follow any comments here with the <a title="Comments RSS to %4$s" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="%5$s">RSS feed for this post</a>.’ ) {
return $translations->translate( ‘This entry was posted in %1$s and tagged %2$s. It can always be found at <a title="Permalink to %4$s" rel="bookmark" href="%3$s">it\’s permalink</a>. Follow any comments left here with the <a title="Comments RSS to %4$s" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="%5$s">RSS feed for this post</a>.’ );
}
//Without
elseif( $text == ‘This entry was posted in %1$s. Bookmark the <a title="Permalink to %4$s" rel="bookmark" href="%3$s">permalink</a>. Follow any comments here with the <a title="Comments RSS to %4$s" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="%5$s">RSS feed for this post</a>.’ ) {
return $translations->translate( ‘This entry was posted in %1$s. It can always be found at <a title="Permalink to %4$s" rel="bookmark" href="%3$s">it\’s permalink</a>. Follow any comments left here with the <a title="Comments RSS to %4$s" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="%5$s">RSS feed for this post</a>.’ );
}

return $translation;
}

}
add_filter(‘gettext’, array(‘Thirty_Ten_Text_Wrangler’, ‘site_generator’), 10, 4);
add_filter(‘gettext’, array(‘Thirty_Ten_Text_Wrangler’, ‘single_meta’), 10, 4);
[/php]

The final change is that I want to change how my authors page looks, or at least how posts show up on them. Twenty-ten makes it easy for child themes to have their own loop on a specific page type. All it takes is creating a loop-templatename.php  file and inserting your loop there.  So I made loop-author.php file and my custom loop lives there.

If you want to download this theme and use it for your own, you can Download thirtyten here. Also, take a look at to see this Twenty Ten Child Theme in action. And I’ve added all the code to a mercurial Google code site for you to easily make changes to. And finally make sure to comment below if you use it or do something cool with it so I can check it out.

UPDATE: I’ve added the ability to pick which style of three column theme you want.  Check out http://aaron.jorb.in/thirtyten/three-columns-three-ways/ to see the options.  And Follow the Thirty Ten subsite for more changes