I recently came across a problem when updating my theme. All my custom CSS styles I applied to my site’s WordPress Theme were gone. I had changed the size of the sidebar, and deleted the header image all together. There were a few other tweaks I’m sure… Now I’m back to the default fresh install of twentyten. Sigh. (Good thing I’m not “live” yet, is what I’m thinking.)
The sad thing (for me) is there is a way around this problem, if only I had done what I was supposed to. That’s what Trial and Error is all about, right? The good news is: with the newest updated version of WordPress, the use of Child Themes became available.
What’s a Child Theme. you ask?
“A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme, and allows you to modify, or add to, the functionality of that parent theme.”
This means you can separate your wordpress theme into 2 folders: (1) the child theme folder to keep only the files that you want to over-ride in your parent theme, and (2) your parent theme folder that is available for regular theme updates. Because, you want to stay up to date in this ever growing world of the internet, and you don’t want to break your site in the process.
The WordPress Codex has a great article on how to create a basic child theme and explains what you can do with it.
Up Next: I’m going to be creating a child theme for a client’s website, so I’ll take this opportunity to make a tutorial or two on how to tweak the twentyten theme files.