A Descriptive Guide to Child Theme
When someone considers having a website, WordPress platform is one of the foremost options that they think of considering due to its immense possibilities. And there are various reasons due to which it acts as a magnet and attracts such personnel who want to take the complete control over their websites. It’s well suited for people who want to get their websites customized and give a much warmer and personalized experience to their users.
Customization of WordPress theme
When trying to make changes to WordPress themes many amateurs and a staggering number of developers edits the theme directly. This means they are making changes in the files of the current theme’s folder which can create a lot of hassle later.
These modifications change the source theme for the developers and as a consequence, users either won’t be able to keep their theme up to date (which is bad for the security) or all the customization would be undone if the theme updation is done. Either way, the situation isn’t even near to being ideal.
This can be sorted easily by opting the option of “Child Theme”. This allows you to make any number of changes to a website without touching any of the original theme files.
What are Child Themes?
Basically, Child theme is parent theme if any customizations aren’t made to it. It’s the replica of the considered parent theme on which changes are made according to the required customization. Let’s first know more about parent theme, a theme only becomes a parent theme when someone builds a child theme for it. Until then, it is just a theme, such as the ones you find in the WordPress directory. Every theme that includes all of the files required in order to be considered complete can be a parent theme.
Child themes are like offsprings to parent themes. A child theme isn’t anything without the main parent theme, it won’t be able to do a thing and can’t even be activated.
That’s because a child theme isn’t a standalone entity, but instead modification or extension of the considered theme. It uses everything present in the parent theme and changes only those parts that need to be customized. However, without it being present, none of it will work.
Why and When WordPress Child theme is used?
Usually Developers and Designer use child theme to speed up their development. There are many amazing parent themes (frameworks) such as Genesis by StudioPress which are specifically made to be customized. These kinds of themes come with tons of functionalities and customization options which allows developers to alter styles, functions, layout, templates and even customize the parent theme beyond recognition.
Customizing a parent theme into a child theme solely depends on the requirement of the website. If there are tweaks that you come across and want to get them changed then it’s highly recommended for you to get your website customized and get a child theme according to your desired theme.
You can also read: MOST EFFICIENT AND OUGHT TO HAVE WORDPRESS PLUGINS
Considering a good parent theme is really important.
All WordPress frameworks are parent themes, but not all parent themes are frameworks. This is one thing that users and some amateur developers don’t keep in mind. While any WordPress theme can have child themes, not all of them are meant to be used as theme frameworks. We have seen numerous beginners who make the mistakes of creating a child theme of a parent theme that doesn’t offer much functionality.
If there are many changes being made to the theme then you might need to reconsider the theme.
Advantages of using child theme
There are many perks of using a child theme. Let’s dig in to see what are its advantages
1. Update friendly: A child theme automatically inherits all the features, styles, and templates of the parent theme. This allows you to make changes to the website using child themes without ever modifying the parent theme.
One one of the best features of the child theme is, that even after being totally customized and it doesn’t look like the parent theme even an ounce, whenever updates are being made to the parent theme same updates are done to the child theme without harming the customization at all.
2. Easily extendable: The parent theme can easily be extended, The required template files and functions that you need can selectively modify without going through other template files. You can add new functionality and much more.
3. Safe Fallback: If a developer is developing a theme, he would always need to think about all the possible scenarios before coding but in the case of the child theme, the developers can code and experiment without thinking so much as they always have the parent theme to fall back to.
A coin always has two sides, there are a few disadvantages to Child theme as well
The main drawback of Child Theme is that developers have to indulge a lot of time to learn about the parent theme and about its characteristics. The developer would have to learn hooks and other functions that are used by parent themes or framework.
Another shortcoming of Child theme is, if the developer of your parent theme abandons the project, there would a lot of hassle. There’s a lot you don’t know about in the parent theme’s code, and you won’t know how to update it in the event of a security vulnerability. In such scenarios you are left with only two options: to move on and recreate the project or stay open to hacking attacks. Instead of being dependent on someone else’s framework it is better to build your own. Or at least find a worthy parent theme.
There isn’t even a second thought that Child Theme is not a blessing for both the WordPress developers and the websites owners, select a good theme and get started to paint it in your color. But the initial step should be brainstorming about does your website even need a child theme or not. Firstly consider all the changes that you want to get your theme customized with, if they are too extreme where you find yourself overriding the core parent theme files, then you probably should be creating a custom theme.
Redefine Webs is a small firm with a hand full of dedicated and hardworking Developers, Designers, UI/UX experts, Digital Marketer. We are an efficient lot of developers who have worked extensively on WordPress and have customized many themes and plugins to provide the best to our clients.