WordPress Theme Development Resources

Slightly Modified Options Framework

Slightly Modified Options Framework

SMOF is a great framework to use as a starting point when building out theme options for your custom WordPress theme.



TLDRLegal makes it super easy to understand what any given source code license means and the rules for usage.

TGM Plugin Activation

TGM Plugin Activation

If your theme integrates with third-party plugins you’ll want to reference them using TGM Plugin Activation to ensure users of your theme have all the necessary WordPress plugins installed.

Sublime Text 2

Sublime Text 2

This is the best text editor I have ever encountered, I highly recommend it to any developer. I bought a license for $70 and recommend you do the same, it’s worth every penny!



XAMPP makes it super easy to setup/run a local LAMP server on Mac OS X, Linux &: Windows.



There are a ton of great premium WordPress plugins and other code goodies on CodeCanyon. Some of these scripts offer developer licenses that allow you to bundle them with your theme. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel!


Bootstrap Responsive Design Framework

My personal favorite responsive design framework.


Foundation Responsive Design Framework

Another excellent responsive design framework.


Theme-Check WordPress Plugin

This WordPress plugin tests WordPress themes to ensure they follow coding standards. Great for ensuring your WordPress themes follows best practices.

Web Developer

Web Developer Chrome Extension

The Web Developer Chrome extension is great for any form of web development. The “View Responsive Layouts” feature is particularly helpful when debugging responsive themes.

Theme Sniffer

Theme Sniffer Chrome Extension

This is the lightweight Chrome extension I built to detect the template or theme being used on any Joomla or WordPress site.

WordPress Responsive Starter Themes

Here are several options for starting a new responsive WordPress theme. My favorite is Underscores, as it generates the latest version of the official WordPress theme Twenty Thirteen renamed to whatever title you give it.

Guides & References

Here are a few resources to utilize particularly if you’re new to WordPress theme development.


  1. Hi Andy,

    Awesome post 🙂

    It’s something I was looking for and which takes a lot of time to get together, so thank you for your work!

    If you don’t mind, I have a suggestion: it would be nice to combine this post with another one about the anatomy and the steps involved when developing a custom theme.



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