Want to get into WordPress theme development with Pinegrow WP? Here are 10 points that will help you to get started while avoiding possible mistakes and frustrations.
This article was originally published on the pg-blog and this is a revised versions (03/04/2018).
1 – Everything is done on your own computer
WordPress theme development with Pinegrow is meant to be done on your LOCAL computer. (There is no FTP nor SSH or remote server manipulations involved. It is all about FILES and FOLDERS stored on your own computer …)
2 – Necessary additional applications
You have to install and configure a Web development environment (a webserver, a database engine and WordPress) on your own computer. Please consider using our favorite solution: Local from Flywheel. It is available for Mac and PC. (and it’s FREE)
Read a super complete post about how-to set up a local WordPress development environment HERE.
3 – WordPress knowledge is required
The Pinegrow support team often receives the following question: “how I can export my website to wordpress? With one click if this is possible….”
Pinegrow will help you a LOT to create awesome themes very quickly and particularly with the all new Smart Actions introduced with Pinegrow 4.6, but there is no black magic: a basic understanding about what is WordPress and how it works is required. (see point 9) and so, to answer the question: No, there is no auto-magic HTML to WordPress theme conversion feature included within Pinegrow.
Here are some testimonials from Pinegrow Pinegrow PRO+WP users
From Lars Kwiatkowski on Slack
I had almost no experience on wordpress theme creation. with the docs on the pinegrow page it was really easy to create my first theme. It is so well documented. Just give it a go with a really basic wp site. wordpress theme creation is a big topic and it needed several pages for the pinegrow team to explain everything. But it is well made and sorted – if you have basic understanding of wordpress, you will have made your wp theme in no time. Learning wordpress itself shouldn’t be a topic here. you can find millions of videos explaining how to set up your wordpress. And for creating a wordpress page you don’t use Pinegrow, you just use your browser. After creating a basic wordpress page with the a random theme which comes with the wordpress installs, you then come back to Pinegrow to make your own theme easily.
From chrismb on Slack
My advice to anyone wanting to use WordPress with PG would be to at least get a basic understanding of how WP theme development works without using PG. Get on Youtube and have a look at a how to on create a WordPress theme with Bootstrap. Have a look at the WP Codex and understand page hierarchy etc.
Understand that PG is a developer tool that helps you not have to write repetitive chunks of monotonous code. However it does also help you learn more about the code as you can easily preview the generated PHP in PG (something PG encourage in their vids).
It is an awesome development tool and massive time saver, but it isn’t and I don’t think it was ever intended to be a drag and drop theme creator. (and I hope it never goes that way too!)
4 – Everything in its time
To avoid trouble and/or embarassment, , this is only when your theme is finished, tested and packaged that you should start thinking about installing it on a remote WordPress for yourself (or releasing it to the public).
Before that, you must absolutely prepare and fully validate your theme on your LOCAL development environment. (see point 2)
5 – Editing existing WordPress themes?
You cannot edit existing WordPress themes from ThemeForest or any other market with Pinegrow BUT you can convert static HTML documents into true and valid WordPress themes.
6 – Practicing is the key to success
If your WordPress knowledge is not sufficient (see point 3 and 9), you will fail a lot BUT because everything is located on your own computer (see point 1 and 2), your numerous attempts will be done quickly and you will learn a LOT from your failures.
7 – At first, keep it simple
Even with Pinegrow, you should NEVER start your journey into WordPress theme development with a COMPLICATED project. Try to create VERY simple things first and learn on the go.
8 – Learn from existing projects
IMPORTANT: These samples does not include the all new Smart Actions.
9 – Read the fine Manuals
The CODEX, which is the WordPress documentation, is an important source of information and If you know nothing about WordPress templates and roles, then WPHIERARCHY is probably the best place to learn. (You can also read this useful documentation from the WordPress Theme Handbook and watch our all new video tutorials)
10- Start your project carefully and discerningly
While available within Pinegrow, Bootstrap Blocks for WordPress (Bootstrap 3.3.x) are suitable for simple landing pages, projects that don’t require deep customization and for learning about how to accomplish things with Pinegrow WordPress builder.
For every other situations, please, don’t hesitate to start from scratch. The unique quality of Pinegrow is that you can use it to create dynamic WordPress websites with truly custom design and features.
Happy Pinegrowing and WordPress theming !