Finding and Implementing Free Themes

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WordPress themes are the other side of WordPress extensibility. In Part II of this book, I took a long, hard look at plugins, hooks, widgets, and other aspects of extending WordPress with plugins. The other side of that equation is themes.

As with plugins, WordPress has an entire theme infrastructure available for theme developers to use. The theme application programming interface (API) is comprised of an abundance of template tags and, as with plugins, themes can be installed with one click from inside the WordPress Admin.

Bloggers who want to install themes from within WordPress can do so by choosing Appearance C Add New Themes. This interface provides a rich set of filters based on colors, columns, layout type (fixed or fluid), feature set, or subject (a gooey kind of filter based around "intent of the theme").

In addition, you can search for themes by keyword. The filter interface is simply an interface that inserts the commonly used keywords associated with the filter name, such as "two-columns."


The WordPress theme installer uses the WordPress Themes Directory located at extend/themes/, which I discuss later in this chapter. ■

As an example, you'll find a dark-colored theme with a fluid (also known as flexible) layout and threaded comment support. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Choose the Appearance O Add New Theme page in WordPress Admin, select the Dark check box in the Colors group, select the Flexible check box in the Width group, and select the Threaded Comments check box in the Features group.

2. Click Find Themes to perform a search of the available themes with those options in the WordPress Themes Directory.

3. Review the available options and click Install next to your desired theme. You can click Preview to see a sampling of what the theme will look like and click Details to get version and rating information about the theme. For this example, click the Install link under the Charcoal theme.

4. Click the Install button in the preview box. You will need to have your FTP (or if available, SFTP) connection information to enable WordPress to perform the install.

5. To activate the theme after a successful installation, click the Activate link. You can also activate the theme from the Appearance O Themes page.

This interface is shown in Figure 9.3.

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