Getting Started (Intro)


NOUVEAU is a WordPress framework that goes far beyond the typical “framework theme”. In my experience, other “theme frameworks” simply do not make good starting points for new WordPress projects. Many are bulky and bloated and use proprietary front-end frameworks… while others are far too minimal to get you off the ground quickly. NOUVEAU is designed so that you can work fast, using current technologies and workflows, without being bogged down by the excesses or omissions of other frameworks.

A Clear Distinction: Presentation vs Features

WordPress provides two avenues for customizing your websites: themes and plugins.

Plugins allow you to add functionality and extend WordPress’s feature set, while themes control how your content is displayed. Most theme frameworks make the mistake of confusing these things, packing all manner of features into the theme, where they don’t belong. Likewise, they often provide far more or far less than the average developer needs to hit the ground running… meaning that a lot time is wasted cutting out the fat before you can get started.

NOUVEAU aims to solve both problems. First, it keeps features and presentation separate. The NOUVEAU starter theme is for presentation only, and any additional features or functionality are available separately as light–weight, easy-to-customize plugins.

The NOUVEAU theme tries to find that elusive framework goldilocks zone… just enough code and structure for you to hit the ground running, but without any assumptions, extraneous styles, or extraneous features to get in the way.


NOUVEAU is tailored for the latest WordPress builds, utilizing Zurb Foundation on the front-end and a simple, object-oriented PHP 5.3+ framework on the back-end.


This quick start guide is going to assume that you are already a whiz-bang WordPress theme-master. If not, you may want to visit the official WordPress Codex and brush up on the basics before digging into NOUVEAU. Keep in mind that NOUVEAU does not explicitly constrain itself to WordPress conventions or coding standards… some of which have grown very out-of-date [in order to maintain maximum backwards-compatibility]. To that end…


NOUVEAU uses PHP 5.3+ namespaces with PSR-4 compliant class autoloading, so you don’t need to include every single file you want to use. Also, all of the lightweight code is neatly organized and commented and generated phpdocs are conveniently located in the included _docs folder. All the important hooks and features are already created for you, so you can quickly configure your theme and then move on to the real work. Much of this quick start guide will focus on getting up to speed with these back-end features.


NOUVEAU uses Zurb Foundation for all front-end development. For your convenience, this is already fully configured so you start immediately writing CSS or SASS and everything should just work.

This quick start guide is not a Foundation tutorial, so you should already be relatively familiar with it to get the most out of NOUVEAU. If you need a bit of a primer on Foundation, the official documentation is fantastic.

Also note that Foundation has some of it’s own requirements if you would like to use the SASS/SCSS features. So if you want to make the most of the SASS/SCSS, you should still follow Zurb’s instructions for installing any appropriate prerequisites and compilers (bower, libsass, gulp, CodeKit**, etc), as that is not covered in this tutorial.*

* Well, maybe that’s not completely true. We’ll talk about this a little bit in the next couple chapters.
** A CodeKit project file is also included, in the event you love CodeKit as much as I do.

Quick Start Guide Terminology

While any of the plugins can be used with or without the theme (as they should be), the real strength and value of NOUVEAU is the starter theme, and that will be the sole focus of this quick start guide. Any time you see “NOUVEAU” referenced in this guide you should assume that it is referring to the theme only.

One more thing…

As any true framework, NOUVEAU is intended to serve as a starting point for your projects. You should rename it, customize it, build on it, and generally make it your own.

There is no part of it that is considered “off limits” because it’s really not meant to be automatically upgraded (although Foundation is very easy to update, if you are so inclined). It’s merely meant to save you from all the initial leg work necessary when creating new WordPress theme projects from scratch. If NOUVEAU is doing it’s job right you should, with very minimal configuration, be able to get straight to doing what matters: making killer web sites. Feel free to dig in and change as much, or as little as you like.

So without further ado, let’s get started…

This page was last updated on April 11, 2016 – it is currently considered COMPLETE.