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Starkers for WordPress 2.6.2

Article illustration for Starkers for WordPress 2.6.2

UPDATED 07.01.2009 – For everyone who keeps asking, this version works fine with WP2.7.

UPDATED 03.11.2008 – A couple of small fixes (see the read_me file)

UPDATED 29.09.2008 – Please see this comment for info

Since I released my naked, bare-bones, blank-canvas, starting-point WordPress theme ‘Starkers’ back in January, a huge amount of people appear to be using it as the basis for their own projects, and it’s become much more popular than I ever imagined. As a result, I’ve finally updated the theme to be fully compatible with the latest (at the time of writing) stable release of WordPress: version 2.6.2.

If you’d like to get it, just click on the big shiny button below. If you’d like to find out what’s new and improved, please read on…

Download button

Changes & improvements

  • The main improvements are in the way styles are organised and I’ve now included a few handy CSS rules. For better file management, everything related to style is held inside the ‘styles’ directory (except for the base stylesheet ‘style.css’ – which has to sit in the normal location – and imports the other css files).
  • Inside the ‘style’ directory, you can manage your files using the sub-directories ‘css’, ‘images’, and ‘fonts’ (for web fonts if you’re using the @font-face rule.
  • ‘Layout.css’ contains a few basic rules you might find handy to use: a
    class to clear floats, a position of relative set to all
    elements, and a basic style for the Theme Switcher Reloaded plugin if you have it installed.
  • ‘Typography.css’ contains a commented-out guide to better font stacks, recommended by Nathan Ford
  • ‘Functions.php’ has been stripped bare (thanks to Ben Gillbanks) and so is completely free of Kubrick’s header customisation stuff
  • Some IDs have now been kept intact (such as

    ) to preserve functionality

  • Added: a dynamic page title
  • Added: <?php bloginfo(‘version’); ?> into the footer to render the WordPress version number (handy for testing)
  • Added: ‘page-custom.php’: a base template for creating your own custom pages
  • As I’m not sure anyone still uses it, I’ve added an underscore to ‘_comments-popup.php’. Should I just delete this file, do you think?
  • Credits updated in ‘style.css’
  • Rather than call each Starkers release ‘1’, ‘2’, or ‘1.0’, ‘1.1’, etc., I’ve now opted to name each version after the WordPress build it’s been tested with. Not only does this immediately tell you its range of compatibility, but it also tells you the version of the ‘default’ theme from which it was derived.

Features, as before

  • All non-semantic, presentational class names removed
    (e.g: class=“center”, class=“alignleft”)
  • All non-semantic, presentational HTML elements removed
  • All unnecessary elements removed
    disappears entirely)
  • Elements converted where necessary
    (e.g: becomes


  • Browser defaults reset in the ‘reset.css’ to give a true clean slate


  • Code indentation / tabbing needs to be cleaned up to better represent nesting. Anyone want to volunteer?


  • This theme is provided ‘as is’, with no promise of support, although I’ll help out when I can.
  • If you do need support, use the comments area below. Please do not email me.
  • All functionality remains the same as the ‘default’ theme supplied with the WP installation, created by Michael Heilemann
  • Dummies photo from iStockPhoto

A word on Thematic

Since releasing the first version of Starkers, Ian Stewart unveiled Thematic, a ‘theme framework’ that I highly recommend to anyone working with WordPress. People often ask me how Starkers compares to Thematic, because – as they’re both ‘starting-points’ – they can seem quite similar on the face of it. However, dig under the surface of Thematic and you’ll see just how much power it’s got. Built on The Sandbox and then modified to add yet more functionality, I really can’t say enough good things about it. But if you ask me if you should choose between Starkers and Thematic, here’s my advice:

- If you want something super-simple to start out with, stripped down to the bare minimum of markup, use Starkers.

- If you want the power of dynamic class names, microformats, and some existing markup / style, use Thematic.

Anyway, I hope you guys continue to find Starkers useful. Please let me know if you do by commenting below! Please also use the comments for requests and bug reports. Enjoy!