Underscores: The Optimal Bare WordPress Theme

wordpress base theme

We’ve written in the past alerting those purchasing a WordPress site to avoid buying a site where a purchased theme is modified from its core code. Unless you have a huge budget and lots of time, purchased themes are great as long as all of your modifications are accomplished with a child theme. Unfortunately, there are a lot of agencies selling custom sites that have a lot of problems… so be on the lookout.

An exception was brought to my attention. The amazing folks at Automattic are always providing amazing solutions wherever there’s a gap – and this is no different. Automattic has an ongoing project called _s (Underscores) that’s a base theme loaded with features to help you launch your next custom theme.

I’m a starter theme called _s, or underscores, if you like. I’m a theme meant for hacking so don’t use me as a Parent Theme. Instead try turning me into the next, most awesome, WordPress theme out there. That’s what I’m here for

Features of the _s theme (listed from this article):

  • A just right amount of lean, well-commented, modern, HTML5 templates.
  • A helpful 404 template.
  • A sample custom header implementation in
    inc/custom-header.php

    that can be activated by uncommenting one line in

    functions.php

    and adding the code snippet found in the comments of

    inc/custom-header.php

    to your header.php template.

  • Custom template tags in
    inc/template-tags

    that keep your templates clean and neat and prevent code duplication.

  • Some small tweaks in
    /inc/extras.php

    that can improve your theming experience. They can be activated by uncommenting one line in

    functions.php

    .

  • Keyboard navigation for image attachment templates. The script can be found in
    js/keyboard-image-navigation.js

    and is enqueued from the image attachment template,

    image.php

    .

  • A script at
    js/navigation.js

    that makes your menu a toggled dropdown for small screens (like your phone) ready for CSS artistry. It’s enqueued in

    functions.php

    .

  • 5 sample CSS layouts in
    /layouts

    : Two sidebars on the left, two sidebars on the right, a sidebar on either side of your content, and two-column layouts with sidebars on either side.

  • Smartly organized starter CSS in
    style.css

    that will help you to quickly get your design off the ground.

  • The GPL license in
    license.txt

    .

The article boasts over 1,000 hours of development put into the github project, which has stayed updated and current over the last few years.

Have you built a site based on _s? Send us a link in the comments so readers can check i tout.

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