So, you’re using WordPress right? and you’re looking for an easy to read (and updated) cheat sheet for 2014 and beyond?
Well, I’ve got just the thing for you.
I’ve spent the last few weeks putting together these charts and tables to help you along your blogging adventures through WordPress.
What you see above is in fact real. It is not an illusion, nor the product of another race composed entirely of all-powerful beings.
Above these words, etched into virtual stones, is a WordPress cheat sheet. (cue epic music)
Yes, marvel in its glory, bask in its enigmatic mystery and elusive meaning. For some, this language of codes and templates will be natural. For others, it will resemble the esoteric language on the walls of an ancient pyramid or temple.
For those who already understand and know the power that this sheet wields, take of this knowledge how you see fit.
For those who look upon these arrangements of letters and symbols and wonder what was in that water they just drank, read on, for I will provide some insight into the mysteries behind WordPress.
This is the advanced course folks, or an introduction to it.
Most of the information here is utilized by web developers and designers. It is used to fine tune aspects of a WordPress blog.
If you don’t have one, be sure to check out my guide on how to start a WordPress blog. Once you have it up and running, these codes could give you some extra power to truly make it your own.
What Are Themes? Can I Use Them for WordPress?
While cheat sheets like these are used for a variety of purposes such as developing and tweaking aspects of WordPress, one major use for them is creating your own themes.
While this may sound easy, it’s an involved process that I would recommend only to experienced developers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn either.
A theme itself is a way to give your website a unique look and feel. WordPress offers a numerous amount of them that you can simply “activate” and put into use on your blog.
From a technical blogging site standpoint, themes are collections of files that work in tandem to create a visual interface that is powered by a constructed design in the back end of things.
Here’s an example WordPress theme that you can purchase. This one happens to be tailored for businesses.
Themes modify the way the website is displayed, but not the actual software. The files included in these can be images, style sheets, custom pages and code files.
You’ll see files extensions for each of these. The above examples are respectively designated as .jpg/.gif, .css, and .php.
How does all of this work in a practical setting? Well, let’s say your blog is divided between food and wine. Through the use of these template files and something called the WordPress Loop, you can make it so your food posts and your wine posts look different, making them stand out more.
If you’re wondering how to get the blog up and running to begin with, check out my article on how to build a blog.
Without Making it too Confusing: What are Template Files and The Loop?
You realize you’re essentially asking me to summarize the entirety of advanced internet design and development into a single set of sub-headings in an article, right? The things I do for you.
Alright, we’ll go over some basic concepts of these two terms which should give you a better idea of what they each do and how they work together.
- The Essence of The Loop
Boiling it down to the basic definition, The Loop is how WordPress processes data.
It is used with template files to display your posts to people who come and visit your blog. Without The Loop, you would only be able to display the data from a single post, so it’s very integral that it be used to tie everything together. Here’s a great expansion on the beginner’s definition of Loops.
In an example scenario, The Loop verifies that all files are present and then proceeds to follow the settings put in place by you, the blog’s administrator, and pulls information from the database to make it all happen.
To put it simply, The Loop is the brain of WordPress.
It is the driving force behind everything that WordPress does, and because the creators of this blogging platform wanted it to be free and open, you can pop open the cranium of the program and tweak with things.
Like a real brain though, you should know what you’re doing. If you would like to know more, check out this article from the WordPress Codex entitled “The Loop in Action.”
- WordPress Template Files
If The Loop is WordPress’ brain, then the template files are its neurons or memories, whichever suits you better.
Template files are the individual pieces of a webpage that dictate how it’s laid out and how different things function.
For example, there are template files for the header and footer of your page, and these are used consistently.
Then you have template files that you can use for things like sidebars and other custom aspects of the page. Here’s where things get really interesting. There are two types of web page files that together make up a single page.
You have an XHTML file which dictates the content and the structure of the page, and you have a CSS Style Sheet which provides the pizazz and the overall presentation of the page.
Here’s an example hierarchy mapping of a WordPress Template file (click to enlarge):
Together these display a page on your WordPress blog, but the way they do it is by accessing template files that are working in the shadows inside of the program.
These template files and the CSS Style Sheet are bundled together and create what we know as a WordPress Theme. So, our WordPress little cheat sheet here lets you tweak and adjust those template files using the codes above.
If you would like to know more, check out the WordPress codex page: “Stepping into Templates.”
There are WordPress training courses available as well.
What Else Would You Like To Know?
What do you think of our little WordPress cheat sheet?
How about my attempts at boiling down ridiculous amounts of information into several paragraphs?
Would you like to learn more about web development and WordPress design?
I fully understand this may have been a confusing lesson, but please don’t hesitate to email me should you have any questions.
Tell me what you think of this post and what you would like to see in the future. Speak out in the comments, or send me an email, I’m always listening!
Thanks as always for reading, and happy coding! 🙂