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BuddyPress Theme Development

This article is about developing BuddyPress Themes. If you wish to learn more about how to install and use Themes, review Using Themes. This topic differs from Using Themes because it discusses the technical aspects of writing code to build your own Themes rather than how to activate Themes or where to obtain new Themes. From BuddyPress version 1.7+ you can use most any WordPress theme. BuddyPress provides base template files to get you up and running without much effort. The Theme Developer docs are to outline how you can develop and enhance the base files to better suit peticular needs.

Why BuddyPress Themes
BuddyPress and WordPress Themes are files that work together to create the design and functionality of a BuddyPress site. Each Theme may be different, offering many choices for site owners to instantly change their website look.

You may wish to develop BuddyPress Themes for your own use, for a client project or to submit to the WordPress Theme Directory. Why else should you build a BuddyPress Theme?

To create a unique look for your BuddyPress site.
To take advantage of templates, template tags, and the BuddyPress Loops to generate different website results and looks.
To provide alternative templates for specific site features, such as member pages and component pages.
A BuddyPress Theme has many benefits, too.
It separates the presentation styles and template files from the system files so the site will upgrade without drastic changes to the visual presentation of the site.
It allows for customization of the site functionality unique to that Theme.
It allows for quick changes of the visual design and layout of a BuddyPress site.
Why should you build your own BuddyPress Theme? That’s the real question.
It’s an opportunity to learn more about CSS, HTML, and PHP.
It’s an opportunity to put your expertise with CSS, HTML, and PHP to work.
It’s creative.
It’s fun (most of the time).
If you release it to the public, you can feel good that you shared and gave something back to the BuddyPress Community (okay, bragging rights)