David Yeiser


A WordPress theme for learners

It was more than 15 years ago that I got my crash course in modern web development. I had decided to move my personal blog from Blogger to an elaborately planned system of static HTML files on my own domain and server. But before I began building it I thought perhaps there’s a better way to do this, something automated… which led me to WordPress, a nascent blogging platform that offered exactly what I wanted. And so began my future.

WordPress was easy to fiddle with back then, my first theme ran off a single index.php file and there was no asset compiling. It was a 1:1 relationship between the input and the output. Change a CSS rule, refresh the page and see what happened.

I can’t imagine trying to learn WordPress for the first time today (or web development as a whole for that matter). It’s not that the themes we have now are bad, they’re just either built to be used by professionals, or packed full of dynamic, user-friendly features that make for an agonizing codebase. Overall it’s good and to be expected, but it makes the barrier to entry quite high.

To lower that barrier, I’ve made a very, very simple WordPress theme for those who want to learn design and development called Basik.¹ The setup and logic for the theme can be grasped just by looking at the file structure and reading the code; and the CSS is written as straight-forward as possible and can be edited directly in style.css. No compiling necessary — edit and refresh.

You can get it on GitHub or download the zip file directly.

Happy learning!

Screenshot of the Basik WordPress theme on desktop and mobile

  1. Basic is spelled with a “k” because the regular spelling was already taken — as was some of the other theme names I wanted to use. I loathe misspelled words as brands, trademarks or labels, but this one could be worse… I guess.