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WP Rig: WordPress Theme Boilerplate

Build Status
License: GPL
GitHub release

Your Performance-Focused Development Rig

A progressive theme development rig for WordPress, WP Rig is built to promote the latest best practices for progressive web content and optimization. Creating a theme from WP Rig means adopting this approach and the core principles it is built on:

  • Accessibility
  • Mobile-first
  • Progressive enhancement
  • Resilient Web Design
  • Progressive Web App enabled
  • AMP-ready

We are trying to be the starter theme for design-focused devs. If you have any ideas, questions, or suggestions for this project or are seeking to get involved in contributing or maintaining, please check out
our discussion board on Github and read our contribute page on our website.


We have a new Documentation area that can be found on the WP Rig website.
If you would like to contribute to our documentation efforts, please submit a request on our contribute page on our website.


WP Rig has been tested on Linux, Mac, and Windows.


WP Rig requires the following dependencies. Full installation instructions are provided at their respective websites.

WP Rig and child themes

WP Rig is built to lay a solid theme foundation, which is excellent for a parent theme but not for a child theme. A child theme is meant to only add on or modify the foundation. As such, WP Rig is not intended for making child themes to extend any themes, whether they were originally built with WP Rig or not.

How to install WP Rig:

  1. Clone or download this repository to the themes folder of a WordPress site on your development environment.
    • DO NOT give the WP Rig theme directory the same name as your eventual production theme. Suggested directory names are wprig or wprig-themeslug. For instance, if your theme will eventually be named “Excalibur” your development directory could be named wprig-excalibur. The excalibur directory will be automatically created during the production process and should not exist beforehand.
  2. Configure theme settings, including the theme slug and name.
    • View ./config/config.default.json for the default settings.
    • Place custom theme settings in ./config/config.json to override default settings.
      • You do not have to include all settings from config.default.json. Just the settings you want to override.
    • Place local-only theme settings in ./config/config.local.json, e.g. potentially sensitive info like the path to your BrowserSync certificate.
      • Again, only include the settings you want to override.
  3. In the command line, run npm run rig-init to install necessary node and Composer dependencies.
  4. In the command line, run npm run dev to process source files, build the development theme, and watch files for subsequent changes.
    • npm run build can be used to process the source files and build the development theme without watching files afterwards.
  5. In WordPress admin, activate the WP Rig development theme.

Defining custom settings for the project

Here is an example of creating a custom theme config file for the project. In this example, we want a custom slug, name, and author.

Place the following in your ./config/config.json file. This config will be versioned in your repo, so all developers use the same settings.

  "theme": {
    "slug": "newthemeslug",
    "name": "New Theme Name",
    "author": "Name of the theme author"

Defining custom settings for your local environment

Some theme settings should only be set for your local environment. For example, if you want to set local information for BrowserSync.

Place the following in your ./config/config.local.json file. This config will not be tracked in your repo and will only be executed in your local development environment.

  "browserSync": {
    "live": true,
    "proxyURL": "localwprigenv.test",
    "https": true,
    "keyPath": "/path/to/my/browsersync/key",
    "certPath": "/path/to/my/browsersync/certificate"

If your local environment uses a specific port number, for example, 8888, add it to the proxyURL setting as follows:

"proxyURL": "localwprigenv.test:8888"

How to build WP Rig for production:

  1. Follow the steps above to install WP Rig.
  2. Run npm run bundle from inside the wp-rig development theme.
  3. A new, production-ready theme will be generated in wp-content/themes.
  4. The production theme can be activated or uploaded to a production environment.

Wiki: Recommended code editor extensions

To take full advantage of the features in WP Rig, visit the Recommended code editor extensions Wiki page.

Working with WP Rig

WP Rig can be used in any development environment. It does not require any specific platform or server setup. It also does not have an opinion about what local or virtual server solution the developer uses.

Before the first run, visit the BrowserSync wiki page.

Available Processes

dev watch process

npm run dev will run the default development task that processes source files. While this process is running, source files will be watched for changes, and the BrowserSync server will run. This process is optimized for speed, so you can iterate quickly.

dev build process

npm run build processes source files one-time. It does not watch for changes nor start the BrowserSync server.

translate process

The translation process generates a .pot file for the theme in the ./languages/ directory.

The translation process will run automatically during production builds unless the export:generatePotFile configuration value in ./config/config.json is set to false.

The translation process can also be run manually with npm run translate. However, unless NODE_ENV is defined as production, the .pot file will be generated against the source files, not the production files.

production bundle process

npm run bundle generates a production-ready theme as a new theme directory and, optionally, a .zip archive. This builds all source files, optimizes the built files for production, does a string replacement and runs translations. Non-essential files from the wp-rig development theme are not copied to the production theme.

To bundle the theme without creating a zip archive, define the export:compress setting in ./config/config.json to false:

export: {
	compress: false

Gulp process

WP Rig uses a Gulp 4 build process to generate and optimize the code for the theme. All development is done in the wp-rig development theme. Feel free to edit any .php files. Asset files (CSS, JavaScript and images) are processed by gulp. You should only edit the source asset files in the following locations:

  • CSS: assets/css/src
  • JavaScript: assets/js/src
  • images: assets/images/src

For more information about the Gulp processes, what processes are available, and how to run them individually, visit the Gulp Wiki page.

Browser Support

As WP Rig processes CSS and JavaScript, it will support the browsers listed in .browserslistrc. Note that WP Rig will not add polyfills for missing browser support. WP Rig will add CSS prefixes and transpile JavaScript.

Advanced Features

WP Rig gives the developer an out of the box environment with support for modern technologies, including ES2015, CSS grid, CSS custom properties (variables), CSS nesting and more, without making any configurations. Just write code, and WP Rig handles the heavy lifting for you.

Configuring the behavior of WP Rig is done by editing ./config/config.json. Here the developer can set the theme name and theme author name (for translation files) and local server settings for BrowserSync. Additionally, compression of JavaScript and CSS files can be turned off for debugging purposes.

Place your custom theme settings in ./config/config.json to override default settings, located in ./config/config.default.json. Place local-only/untracked theme settings in ./config/config.local.json. For example, if you want to set local information for BrowserSync.

WP Rig ships with advanced features, including:

  • Easily add custom Customizer settings using .json file
  • Built-in support for the official AMP plugin
  • Progressive loading of CSS
  • Modern CSS, custom properties (variables), autoprefixing, etc
  • Modern layouts through CSS grid, flex, and float

For more information about the advanced features in WP Rig and how to use them, visit the Advanced Features Wiki page.


WP Rig is released under GNU General Public License v3.0 (or later).

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