A Short Review of the WordPress Architecture
The uniqueness of the WordPress architecture makes it possible to change the appearance of a WordPress site without effecting the structure and management of its content.
Changing the theme alters the appearance of a WordPress site.
What is a WordPress Theme?
A WordPress theme is comprised of a combination of files that control how your WordPress website appears when brought up by a browser. The theme’s design dictates the graphic layout of the site — how many columns, the position of the side bar, headers, footers and placement of the Navigation information. The theme manages the look and feel of site’s content by choice of type treatment, positioning of images, and the color palette.
When describing WordPress themes in class, we usually compare a theme to a cool cell phone skin, and the WordPress content management system to the cell phone.
Every cell phone is comprised of basic components that make it function, like the key pad, the text messaging system, voice mail, the controls to set the ring tones, the on/off switch, etc.
Simply put, WordPress software controls the content of your website, the theme gives the look and feel that matches the purpose of the site.
When we install a theme onto a WordPress site, it provides a change of styling like the colorful smart phone skins you can choose from when you want to ‘dress-up’ your cell phone.
The flashy, new skin, does not affect the primary functionality of your cell phone. Your contact list remains the same, the Apps you downloaded and installed remain functional. The only thing that changes is the appearance of your cell phone.
A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce the graphical interface with the underlying software that manages the WordPress site’s content.
Themes may include customized template files, image files (*.jpg, *.gif), style sheets (*.css), custom Pages, as well as any necessary code files (*.php). (For an introduction to template files, see Stepping Into Templates.)
Whether you are building your first WordPress site, have just started blogging on WordPress, or are re-evaluating your current theme, choosing the best theme to express the purpose of your site can consume you to the point of paralyzing all forward movement on your site. I can personally attest to spending way too much time finding the perfect green for my first WordPress site in 2007. Functionality did not enter into my decision process. That came later, when my perfect green site couldn’t do what I wanted it to do. That’s when I became a fan of function first, and fixing the color later.