The WordPress Theme Comments Template

I hate the Comments Template. There, I said it. It can be a confusing mess.

Luckily for you, I’ve sorted it out. Confusing still, yes. But sorted out. For this tutorial on the Comments Template, I’m basically going to walk you through what’s going to happen, show you some custom code snippets you’ll need to add to your inc/template-tags.php file, and then drop the whole thing on you. Hopefully, it’ll start to make sense. But at the very least you’ll have a wicked comments template.

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The WordPress Theme Index Template

Index.php is the most crucial WordPress Theme Template. Not only because WordPress needs to use it if you’re missing any of its brother and sister templates (like, archive.php or tag.php) but because the work we do here, getting this template right, will help us breeze through the rest of our templates (with the exception of the dreaded comments template; that’s just plain difficult no matter how you look at it).
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Setting Up Your Theme Functions

We’ve got a file structure in place, now let’s start adding things to them!

First, we’re going to add some PHP functions to our theme. These functions will serve a variety of purposes, including:

  • adding support for WordPress features such as custom backgrounds, headers, post formats, etc
  • setting up theme defaults
  • acting as “containers” for code we can reuse throughout the theme

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Creating a WordPress Theme HTML Structure

Now we’re starting to get into the real meat of WordPress Theme development: coding the HTML structure.

The Goals of Any HTML Structure

When coding a web site, you should have 2 goals in mind: lean code and meaningful code. That is, using as little markup (HTML tags) as possible and making sure that the markup is meaningful by using semantic class and ID names that refer to their content, not how they “look” (class=”widget-area” instead of class=”sidebar-left”).
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