Comment on Stallion WordPress SEO Child Theme by SEO Dave.
It’s quite simple to use really. I’m going to supply a blank Child theme folder structure (basically Stallion minus most files, so just the folder structure) which Stallion theme users can use.
It’s then a case of copying and pasting the files you want from Stallion to edit into the blank child theme folders.
Can be as simple as copying one of the css files into the child theme folder and edit it, say you wanted the Delicate colour scheme, but with pink text you would copy the Delicate CSS file and it’s image folder into the child theme folder, make the CSS changes, edit the images (optional), activate the child theme under Appearance >> Themes and it uses the child themes Delicate CSS file and images. Basically Stallion looks for most files (about 95% of files) in the child theme folder first, if it exists it’s used, if not it uses the core files, in this way almost everything can be edited without messing with core files.
When main Stallion is updated it won’t over write the child theme files, so maintaining customizations will be far easier.
What’s particularly good about the way Stallion 7.1 child themes work compared to how others I’ve looked at is I’ve set Stallion to check almost all php files (only a small number of PHP files can’t be over written), all CSS files and most images. In other themes that will use child themes it tends to only be the core template files (header.php, index.php etc…) and the main style.css file as that’s what WordPress core does with child themes. Any custom php files loaded by a theme have to be recoded manually which doesn’t make for easy child theme development.
Take the timbthumb.php script included with Stallion (script for making small thumbnails, saves bandwidth). Add the timbthumb.php file to the child theme folder and the child theme folder /cache/ folder will contain all the cached thumbnails meaning when Stallion is updated using the automated update option you won’t have to set the cache folder permissions again. I’m adding timbthumb.php to the blank child theme I’ll be providing so all child theme users won’t have to keep setting permissions after an update. To achieve this with other themes would require adding a copy of all php files that use timbthumb.php (in Stallion over half a dozen php files) and edit them to use the the child theme version!
This works with the images as well without having to do any coding (the child themes I looked at would require PHP code editing). If you just wanted to replace an image thumbnail image set or add a custom set, you’d add it to the child theme folder and Stallion will use it rather than the original images. This means you could completely replace say the TwentyEleven header images with 8 of your own or add 8 to a custom folder and they will be used.
The above is basic customization that anyone who adds customizations to Stallion should use, not creating new child themes per se. Then there’s actual child themes.
There’s a new Stallion options page – Child Theme Options which currently has 7 options, Layout, Colour Scheme and options related to the header images, banner images and thumbnails. These are the most likely options that will be changed by a child theme, if a developer wanted to make a 500px wide sidebar layout version of Stallion this is where the option would be added. In principal all Stallion options (over 300 of them) can be over written or added to via the new option page, with basic PHP skills a new feature could be added to Stallion via a child theme or a current feature changed without touching core Stallion files or having to be an expert PHP coder to work out how to replace a function: I was reading about the troubles some Thesis developers have to go through to remove Thesis features in their Thesis child themes and it will be much easier with Stallion 7.1.
I’m working on a TwentyTen child theme which includes the TwentyTen colour scheme (not exactly the same, based on TwentyTen) a unique header, unique header set, unique thumbnails. By installing this child theme it’s Stallion with the TwentyTen look and new sets of images. On the Child Theme Options page users will be able to select the TwentyTen colour scheme and the unique images or via the original Stallion options pages use the original settings. You could have the TwentyTen look with any of the current Stallion image sets or a mix of Stallion and the child themes images.
Anyone will be able to create a Unique Child Theme Options page with basic PHP skills, the hard part for creating a real child theme (one that looks different) is the CSS and images.