Building My First BuddyPress Theme

Today I started my first significant BuddyPress undertaking – a conversion of an existing WordPress theme into a BuddyPress theme. I had previously spent a good number of hours picking apart existing BuddyPress themes and creating child themes from the default BuddyPress parent theme framework.

The first question I addressed was whether or not to utilize the default BuddyPress parent theme framework. After considering my options, I decided that using the parent theme will be best due to the fact that it will make upgrading easier than if I used a totally customized theme.

Basically, I have to re-create the existing theme from scratch using the BuddyPress parent theme framework. This isn’t a big deal, but it does take time. Recreating the drop-down menu has thus far taken up most of my time. For some reason, my CSS isn’t working properly, and sub-menu items are not aligning properly…grrr…. Of course, this is par for the course with website design…and a large reason why people are willing to pay me to build websites. 🙂

One great thing about using the BuddyPress parent theme framework is that I don’t need to re-create the wheel when it comes to the BuddyPress profile pages. This could be a big headache if I was starting from scratch with a custom theme, but for now it’s looking pretty manageable.

So far, one day into this project, I am feeling pretty good about where things stand. I have learned a lot about how theming works in BuddyPress, and I have a solid core built (I hope!). I’ll share more as this adventure continues!

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  1. JLeuze on December 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Cool, can’t wait to see what you come up. I’ve been wanting to dig deeper into BuddyPress themes but there’s never enough time in the day!

    Are the profile pages the only major addition beyond a standard WordPress theme? Have you tackled styling forums for your theme yet?

    Yeah, dropdowns are always a headache. Of course getting them to work correctly in Internet Explorer 6 is always the biggest headache, don’t know what I’d do without Firebug.

  2. Ted on January 13, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    How are you making out with BuddyPress? Are you working towards a 1.2 child theme?

  3. Toby on January 13, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    @Ted – I am still working on a 1.1.3 child theme, converting a WordPress theme over to BuddyPress. it is coming along slower than I expected it to, as there are a lot of CSS classes that I need to overwrite on the included CSS files. For example, I have to target specific ul’s so as not to mess up the BuddyPress widget formatting.

    In any case, it has been a fun experience so far. I will let you know when I am done with it.