Progressive WordPress Theme Development

The underscores (_S), a starter theme for WordPress, is one of the popular WordPress starter themes used by WordPress developer community. Because it’s just a bare-bone starter theme meant for hacking, a glimpse of WordPress theme directory shows how this has been utilized by themes developers to make their own.These themes vary in their file structures, coding standard, performance, design best practices and many other aspects.

WordPress Rig (WP Rig) – a community project supported by LinkedIn Learning, is a starter theme with integrated build process. To quote from the project’s official announcement : “WP Rig was built by Morten Rand-Hendriksen, a long term WordPress contributor and Senior Staff Instructor at LinkedIn Learning, in collaboration with XWP, Google, and other members of the WordPress community. To show its commitment to the WordPress community, LinkedIn Learning donated Morten’s time to develop WP Rig and is releasing a 100% free course called WordPress: Building Progressive Themes with WP Rig in English, Spanish, German, and French.

Progressive WordPress

Alberto Madina‘s post on Progressive WordPress provides a comprehensive look – how AMP (accelerated mobile pages) technologies can be applied to WordPress platform.

WordPress users can get a first-class AMP experience without compromising the fidelity of their content or surrendering the flexibility of the WordPress platform. Alberto Medina
AMP WordPress

Progressive WordPress themes utilize recent progressive technologies including best coding practices, improved performance, AMP (accelerated mobile pages) compatibility.

Progressive WordPress Theme

LinkedIn Learning has announced The Progressive WordPress Theme Riga starter theme with build process, bundled into a single boilerplate theme development package. This open-sourced project was created by Morten Ran-Hendriksen and source code is available from GitHub. How this project was inspired, story behind WP Rig and is eloquently described by its development lead Morten Rand-Hendriksen as a development rig built to let developers harness the winds of the web and control where they take us.

WP Rig is an evolution on the tried and true starter theme model: a modern build process and WordPress starter theme bundled together, created to simplify the process of building advanced, accessible, performant, progressive themes. WP Rig does the heavy lifting of optimization so developers can focus on what they do best: designing and building great user experiences. It provides a unified build process promoting the latest performance best practices, and a starter theme that rethinks how WordPress themes are built and what they should do. Morten Rand-Hendriksen
WP Rig Lead Developer

WP Rig project collaborator and Google Developer Advocate Alberto Medina describes the project as follows:

One of the key elements in a progressive web is tooling to help developers do the right thing in an easier and faster way. An important tool to have in the toolbox of WordPress developers is one that facilitates the development of Progressive WordPress themes.  Our colleagues at LinkedIn Learning have been busy developing a Progressive WordPress Theme Boilerplate, which is a theme development starter kit that makes it easier for WordPress theme developers to get from 0 to a fully progressive theme. The boilerplate comes out of the box with:

  • A modern development workflow, which is highly-configurable, and uses tools such as Composer, Gulp, and browser sync
  • A range of coding and performance best practices baked in, such as asynchronous loading of resources, and lazy loading of images
  • And it has opt-in integration with the AMP plugin, so that if the developer so chooses, a fully AMP compatible WordPress starter theme can be generated from the get go

The underscores (_S) starter theme, an brainchild, is widely used starter theme by the WordPress community and only time will tell how WP Rig will be received by its user community.

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