Underscores and Bootstrap – Starter Themes

  • While I’ve been making WordPress sites for several years I don’t have a starter theme that I use for my projects yet. Mostly I’ve been working on projects for other people, using their starter themes, editing existing themes, or doing work with child themes. Since I’m doing more work on my own I thought I should begin creating a starter theme of my own with code I commonly use.

Of course my first thought was to check out Underscores because it is made by the folks at Automattic, makers of WordPress itself. But I wondered if there was a theme that incorporated Bootstrap into it already? Through my search I found two themes that interested me, one was no longer maintained but it was created by somebody who had moved on to work for Automattic and the other was Understrap an actively maintained current project.

After trying both themes out they both seemed like they could be good starter themes. I want to go back and check out Understrap in more detail. But what I quickly realized was that for the project I was looking to complete (this site) I already had a prototype built in HTML & Bootstrap and fitting that into an existing setup wouldn’t be an efficient way to go. So I decided to go with Underscores and build out from there.

The process with Underscores was simple and straight forward for me. First I removed all the reset.css provided and then installed Bootstrap. Then I copied over the CSS from my prototype and began to adjust my PHP page templates. It was easy to edit the HTML and adding my classes for containers, rows, and columns. In all it took less time to do it then I spent looking for existing starter themes!

While using templates can be great to get started sometimes it’s faster to write your own code. It’s a balance of the learning curve and repetition versus one off creations.