Starter kits, blank files and generators
When developing a WordPress theme, widget or plugin, the best way to start is by using a “blank” template file so you’ll save time and you’ll start on solid foundations. Here are my favorites:
- Underscores.me: in my humble opinion, the best way to start coding a new WordPress theme. Simply fill the options and you’ll get offered to download a rock solid blank WordPress theme template.
- WP Widget Starter file: a blank template for developing WordPress widgets.
- Plugin Starter: a base class that is easily extended to make plugin development better, faster and stronger.
- WP Starter Kit: a development template for rapidly building WordPress plugins.
- Threaded comments: Basic CSS styles for threaded comments. Always a good start when it comes to styling comments!
- Vidahost: CatsWhoCode webhost. Super fast, reliable, no down time and a super friendly and reactive support. It’s not cheap at all, but definitely the best option if your site is receiving a lot of traffic, or if you’re looking to host multiple sites on a single server.
- WP Web Host: The webhost I recommend for people looking for an affordable and easy way to host a WordPress based website or blog. Friendly support with strong WordPress knowledge. Good service for small/medium sites.
On the other hand, I do not recommend Maven Hosting and PHPNet as I had bad results with both of them. I never hosted any of my websites on Bluehost, but I worked with a client who did and I didn’t found the performances good.
There’s literally thousands of WordPress themes that you can download and use freely on your blog. But let me be honest, most of them are ugly. Though, you can still find great theme that you can use for free. My personal list of favorite places to get quality free themes:
- WordPress.org Themes: The official repository for WordPress themes. Most are old and/or ugly, but there’s lots of beautiful, well coded free themes.
- Smashing Magazine: The popular design blog offers very cool free themes from time to time.
- Blog Oh Blog Themes: Quality themes, clean code.
- ThemeLab: Lots of beautiful free themes.
- SkinPress: A few cool themes to download and use freely.
Want even more free themes? 1st Web Designer compiled this list of 20 places to get free themes.
Also, note that several premium theme sellers distribute free themes from time to time. Please check out the list below for more info.
Although you can find good looking themes for free, lots of quality themes requires you to pay for it. A big pro of premium themes is that authors offer support, so you’ll have someone to help if needed.
- Themeforest: Probably my favorite place to get quality themes for a cheap price. Hundreds of themes to choose from. Most themes have a clean code; however code quality may vary from a theme to another.
- WooThemes: very popular premium theme seller. High quality design and code.
- WP Zoom: High quality design, solid code, great support. Provide some free themes as well.
- Elegant Themes: Beautiful themes, well coded. Pay once and get access to more than 80 themes.
- Themify: Affordable themes with great design and quality.
Tutorials sites and blogs
When developing WordPress themes or plugins, you often need to refer to quality tutorials in order to learn new things or consolidate your knowledge. Below is my personal selection of interesting tutorial sites and blogs.
- WP Tuts+: New articles almost everyday, always interesting.
- Smashing Magazine: The popular design blog have some very in-depth tutorials and articles about WP.
- Digging into WordPress: One of my favorites WordPress tutorials blog. Authored by Jeff Starr and Chris Coyier.
- WP Engineer: Lots of coding tutorials, tip and tricks. A must read for WordPress enthusiasts.
- WPMU: A multi-author site, with lots of new content every week.
I guess most of you know that here at CatsWhoCode, I often write lots of useful posts about WordPress, so don’t forget to bookmark the site if you haven’t done already!
Several websites and blogs are offering ready to use WordPress code snippets. Super useful when you need to achieve a particular task.
- WPRecipes: Another site of mine, online since 2008, with over 450 WordPress code snippets, hacks and tricks.
- CSS-Tricks snippets: Quality code snippets repository.
- WP Mayor: Several interesting code snippets.
- WP Snippets: One of my favorite online place when I’m looking for a hack or snippet.
- Snipplr: Lots of user-submitted code snippets.
- WordPress.org News: Indeed, the first place to have a look at when looking for WordPress news is the official site.
- WP Candy: Popular WordPress site with tons of fresh news.
- Weblog Tolls Collection: One of the oldest blogs about WordPress.
- WPTopics: A news site which aggregate news from lots of interesting blogs.