Webdesign + coding question

Hy there.
Recently a client asked me to do a website for him. Well I already did some websites and delivered them as .psd-s, the client then handed the files to a web dev. to do the job. However I’m good at html and css, php and javascript are a bit rusty (especially javascript).
I was thinking to do the coding this time.
However to save some time, can I just purchase some themes to speed things up?
Maybe a stupid question but this is the first time I’m doing something like this.
Can I just purchase a theme from themeforest, customize it a bit and voilà?

Not sure what kind of theme you are talking about. But maybe you mean themes for a CMS like Wordpress? If you want a design to look exactly as you would like it to look / how you designed it it doesn’t make much sense to use a theme. I wouldn’t do that. I can imagine you could design something to change an existing theme, but these would be minor changes like color or something like that (if not violating copyright). If you need to change more, there’s no use in using an exising theme. Exising themes are there for people don’t want to design their websites themselves but use Wordpress and still want to have a website quick. It needs compromises as it’s prebuild and not meant to change layouts.

In the end it doesn’t matter if you use existing themes or build something from scratch, you do need experience on Html, CSS and Javascript. Especially these days as your pages need to be responsive to be able to show well on mobile devices too. Even more so when you are using prebuild templates, because you have to know your way around stuff other people build.


Thanks Maarten.
Yes wordpress. You’re right, in the end it doesn’t matter, from scratch or not.
It’s just… I’m a bit unsure if I can handle this. It’s been a while since I did some coding, never used wordpress tho, but it can’t be that difficult.
I can just reject the project.
In the other hand I can regret the missed opportunity, and the opportunity to refresh my coding skills a bit. But I can also regret it if I accept it, and get headaches later on…

well the cash is nice, I think this is motivation enough. I probably just need a galon of coffee for the next few weeks.

There are some themes made specifically for what you’re proposing: coding changes that extend beyond those options built into the admin. These themes start you out without having to reinvent the wheel, so they can be a huge time-saver. Themes are about more than looks, of course. Good ones also include various behind-the-scenes capabilities that make little sense to develop and code from scratch. It’s possible to do this with most any theme that roughly meets your needs, but you need to be careful about violating license agreements.

I’m more familiar with Joomla than WordPress, but both make use of override files. From a Joomla perspective, this is a directory where you can add code that will override those aspects of the original theme’s code without the need to hack the source files. This keeps all source file coding changes consolidated and comes in handy for when an updated version of the original template theme is released by the developer since it means that all your coding changes will not be overwritten during the update. Even so, you might need to change some of the code in those override files to conform to changes in the updated theme’s code, but this is far less onerous than dealing with the problems associated with hacking the developer’s original source files.

Even so, this can still be a very involved process given that making substantive changes to the theme will involve digging through the individual source files, identifying those chunks of code within them that will affect what you want to change and then making those changes in the overrides. For someone a bit rusty with HTML and CSS and getting confused by the thousands of lines of PHP in which that code is embedded, this can be a challenge.


Thanks B. Yes I’m affraid the PHP will be a challenge.

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To add to what’s been said, if you’ve already designed the site and provided the files, I would leave it at that. You’re not just going to retrofit an existing theme into your existing designs easily. I would leave learning how to build a customized theme for another time. There’s a lot to that. You could end up being extremely unprofitable otherwise.

Now, I know of designers who design things based on the setup of certain existing themes. I think this is a backwards way to work. They literally will design a mockup and place things in there where they are in the theme, not necessarily because it makes sense to do so—but just because it’s in the theme that way.

I’ve been doing web design and development since its origin. I’ve done plenty of HTML-only sites and custom WP sites. I don’t know PHP but I know my way around it and can figure out how to copy, paste and modify some functions. I will say that if your hands are not in code all the time, it can become extremely time consuming.

I recently decided to focus my business on design and not the development side of things because there are a ton of developers out there. But there aren’t tons of great designers out there. I would think about what are your best skills and how they can be utilized the most.


Thanks. The project is finished already.
Yes, indeed after 3 days of coding and copy-pasting I decided to use htmlburger.
For 500$ they converted my 5 page site to a wordpress theme.
I will definitely use them in the future for more full website projects.


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