Tiny Forge – free responsive WordPress theme for learning and site building

Tiny Forge theme encompasses all the best features of the default WordPress themes in one place, adds full accessibility, more usability, many code improvements and ensures fast start with very extensive documentation! Do you like elegant responsive mobile-first HTML5 ready structure of Twenty Twelve, custom per-post headers and three footer widgets from Twenty Eleven, icon webfont support as seen in Twenty Thirteen, Google Fonts support and Schema.org microdata format support? Web developers will enjoy integrated Theme Hook Alliance custom action hooks. It's all there, you don't have to make difficult compromises, you have everything in one neat package!

Tiny Forge WordPress theme was created from the default theme Twenty Twelve to be used as a learning tool or your own little web development "framework" a.k.a. "starter theme". It helps to understand how to extend parent themes and build your own child themes, hacking them the way you want it. Along with the main theme you will find an example of a child theme - an easy way to start developing with child themes! You get the best coding examples from default WordPress themes and the best hacks from the child theme.

Tiny Forge theme showcase

It is a good idea for new/prospective users to see what others were able to achieve with Tiny Forge WordPress theme. You can see here a couple of examples:

See more beautiful and interesting examples at: Showcase your Tiny Forge theme site or mod.

Download Tiny Forge theme »   Donate if you like this theme! »

So why would you choose Tiny Forge WordPress theme and its child themes?

Because pros are using it!

Web development studios and professional developers are using Tiny Forge theme: 79pxls, Dream Inspired Design, Art + Math, Gregg Banse.

Most themes and even the theme frameworks will cost you less than $100 USD. But you may burn through 2 or 3 themes to find the one you want to use. To get to theme I use on this site (Tiny Forge) I purchased and worked with 3 themes before I settled on this one. I had to be willing to let go of the money I spent though. That wasn't easy but in total I spent about $120 to settle on this theme (free). That's as much as I'd spend for an hour's time with a consultant. I also spent about 20 hours of my time to research, purchase, install and configure, then use each of the themes. The total project took me 2 weeks start to finish.

Choosing a theme takes time but time and a little expense up front can make the end result much more productive and pleasant. It's important to me that I enjoy the blogging experience and working with my site. If I don't enjoy working here, adding content, developing new tools & plugins, then why do it? The right theme can make such a huge difference! ~ Gregg Banse: Choosing a WordPress theme

It helps you to learn WordPress theme and child theme development!

Because it is based on default WordPress theme, many will find the code look and feel "familiar", and that's an important thing, especially if you're just starting to play with WordPress themes.

This WordPress theme does not offer million customization options, powered by option frameworks... how do you expect to learn WordPress development if you will never open a file in a text editor? Instead Tiny Forge has small peaces of code that (un)locks various features and it lets you do it yourself by guiding you through the files and code lines.

Learning experience in Tiny Forge is provided in three flavors:

Many features of this theme and its child themes are thoroughly commented and marked as a "Tip" with a distinct number. For example Tip01 shows how to include additional CSS and JavaScript files the right way - via functions.php file. Just open functions.php file in a text editor, search for "Tip01" and you're there! If there would be additional code components dealing with this Tip in other files, you could easily find the code by opening those files and searching for "Tip01" - no more searching for the needle in the haystack!

Two most important files of the theme: functions.php and style.css have comprehensive table of contents that will make navigation around the code much much easier!

Last but not least, Tiny Forge and its child themes have a great user guide: How to use Tiny Forge and its child themes: a comprehensive guide.

It gives more power to a theme developer!

Tiny Forge is a state-of-the-art accessible WordPress theme that includes latest and greatest theme features and validates with web development coding standards: CSS3, HTML5, conforms to WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications) and WCAG 2.0 AA (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) requirements!

Theme doesn't have very prominent design, rather it has a minimalist look and that's a good thing for the developer - it gives you a fresh starting point for your customizations, as I call it - a mini "framework", others call it a "starter theme".

Tiny Forge incorporates many useful preconfigured helper functions, that can be easily activated by simply uncommenting the function in functions.php file.

Theme also greatly extends the automatically included Custom CSS classes that make life much easier when you need to customize the look of your site. Theme Hook Alliance custom action hooks will make theme customization options even greater!

Tiny Forge ensures your data portability - theme does not create any custom post types, so all your created content will be compatible with any other WordPress theme.

LESS dynamic stylesheet language support is provided via child themes - welcome to rapid development age! Change the look and feel of your site in minutes!

If you're looking at this issue from a consumer standpoint, the most important thing to remember is that you are the guardian of your own data. If you choose a theme that locks you in, you are the one who will suffer the inconvenience of trying to transfer data when you change to a new theme.

Before installing a new theme, whether it's free or commercial, ask yourself if you'll be able to take all of your data with you, if and when you decide to stop using that theme. If the theme advertises dozens of capabilities, examine each of them to make sure that they don't tie you down. ~ WP Tavern: WordPress Theme Shops Move Toward Preserving Data Portability

Small things can save a lot of time - you will like precalculated most often used rem values.

Did I mention it gives you total creative freedom? Tiny Forge is FREE as in BEER, Open Source with GPL license? :D

Need personalized support? Please contact me here!

Quick overview of main theme features

  • Elegant, readable and fully responsive theme built on HTML5 and mobile-first layout
  • Provides full web accessibility: conforms to WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications) and WCAG 2.0 AA (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) requirements
  • Integrated Schema.org microdata format support - good for Google index and rank building
  • Custom Headers for posts and pages (including random header rotator) - ported from Twenty Eleven
  • Custom Header Logo to display it next to Site Title and Description (via Site Logo plugin/feature)
  • Styling for post formats on both index and single views
  • An optional "Open Sans" display font (enabled by default) and Google Fonts support (optional)
  • Icon webfont support - as seen in Twenty Thirteen, only better - using Font Awesome webfont icons
  • Integrated Theme Hook Alliance custom action hooks
  • Front page template with its own widgets
  • Full-width (no-sidebar) page template
  • Page template to display a list of links (blogroll). Blogroll feature is available as a plugin: Link Manager
  • 3 footer widgets - ported from Twenty Eleven
  • Included a starter child theme - easy way to make it your own!
  • LESS dynamic stylesheet language support! Welcome to rapid development age - change the look and feel of your site in minutes! (provided via child themes)
  • Usability, security and other improvements (see the list below)

Download Tiny Forge theme »   Donate if you like this theme! »

Schema.org microdata format support

Tiny Forge integrates Schema.org microdata format support directly into each page. Credit goes to Joshua Lyman. Why it is important:

Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string "Avatar" in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn't give any information about what that text string means - "Avatar" could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture - and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.

Schema.org provides a collection of shared vocabularies webmasters can use to mark up their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines: Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Yahoo!

Read more about Schema.org microdata format initiative: Introducing schema.org: Search engines come together for a richer web

It is also important to mention that Schema.org helps with establishing Google authorship of the website.

LESS dynamic stylesheet language support

Welcome to rapid development age - change the look and feel of your site in minutes! LESS support is provided via child themes.

LESS adds much needed dynamic properties to CSS. It introduces variables, operations, function-like elements, even JavaScript into the mix. It will make your life hassle free by enabling you to write stylesheets with a modular mindset.

LESS is a superset of CSS. This means that all CSS code is valid LESS code but there are additional elements in LESS which would not be valid in CSS. This is great because your existing CSS is already valid LESS code, minimizing the learning curve to using LESS.

Read more about LESS dynamic stylesheet language support.

Features from default WordPress themes

I resurrected/added best features from default WordPress themes: Twenty Ten, Twenty Eleven and Twenty Thirteen:

  • Custom headers for posts and pages - resurrected from Twenty Eleven. For some reason the role of header image was greatly reduced in Twenty Twelve. WordPress designers also removed support for custom headers for posts and pages. I don't think it was such a good idea.
  • 3 footer widgets - resurrected from Twenty Eleven. Again in Twenty Twelve WordPress designers added two special widgets for front page template, but what about all other pages? Credit goes to Joshua Lyman.
  • Icon webfont support - do you like the Genericons webfont in Twenty Thirteen theme? Yes, it is cool, but Tiny Forge uses Elusive-Icons webfont which has much bigger icon library!
  • Elastic search form in WordPress nav menu - ported from Twenty Thirteen (provided with child themes).

Usability improvements

  • Main navigation menu items with drop-down children are marked by a distinct icon (caret down and caret right).
  • Web links in the content and comments areas use familiar for the users blue color. Visited links have a distinct purple color, helping users to better navigate website.
  • Focused input fields get glowing effect.
  • Link that opens in a new window will be automatically marked with special icon, usually these are the links to external resources. Using Wikipedia style icon. This is temporary solution, because ideally this should be done using icon webfont, it would enable icons to inherit link color. At this moment Elusive-Icons webfont doesn't have such icon. Let's hope they will add this icon soon.
  • Improved font rendering for Linux machines.

Security improvements

  • Removing WordPress version info from head and feeds (this feature should be enabled manually by uncommenting several lines in functions.php).

Other improvements

  • Default core markup to output valid HTML5 for: search form, comment form, comments, gallery, and captions.
  • Discreet link to WordPress Admin panel in the footer - no more ugly "Meta" block in the sidebar!
  • Added Twitter Bootstrap code, button and alert styles.

Theme localization (translations)

  • English
  • French (big thanks to Dolordo)
  • German (big thanks to Ralph Stieber)
  • Japanese (big thanks to ISHIKAWA Koutarou @stein2nd)
  • Lithuanian (big thanks to Mantas Malcius)
  • Russian (big thanks to Pavel Kanyshev a.k.a. veshinak)
  • Swedish (big thanks to tommywik)

Read more about theme translation.

What are users saying about Tiny Forge theme?

This was the perfect theme for the launch of our new online law review... Tiny Forge is a clean, fast, and responsive theme, and it even provides several features that we haven’t used yet that will give us room for growth. Thank you! ~ Tim Kaye @ stetson.edu

So instead of writing my own code I spent two days trying on themes like a teenage girl tries on prom dresses - none of them was just quite right. I eventually settled and looked for something that was responsive (meaning I could view it on my computer or my iPhone with ease) and whose structure and CSS was clean and easy to navigate. I settled on Tiny Forge. It was pretty right out of the box and I just tweaked some colors, threw up my own header image and added some of my widgets to the sidebar. ~ Lindsey Smith

Read more Tiny Forge v1 reviews at WordPress.org

Story behind the creation of this theme

Being WordPress developer, I love to have my own little "framework" that I use to create new web projects. Usually I modify the default WordPress theme or create a child theme for it. I started with Kubrik, then went with Twenty Ten and now arrived to Twenty Twelve.

Why Twenty Twelve? Twenty Twelve is a clean, elegant, mobile ready, HTML5 compatible theme that includes most of the theme features supported by WordPress. It doesn't make your website look like a blog (as it is with Twenty Thirteen), is very easy to extend and shows you the best principles of WordPress theme development and coding style. With Tiny Forge we will get even less "bloggy" look.

Big thanks to the contributors!

Theme development


  • 2013 Nov - David J Millward (UK) @ fohengineer.co.uk
  • 2014 Jan - Daniel Schwitzky (Sweden)
  • 2014 Feb - Clive Hanuschak (Canada) @ WebWrangler.ca
  • 2014 Mar - Ernest Bigelow (US) @ WebYarns.com
  • 2014 Apr - Gregg Banse (US) @ GreggBanse.com
  • 2014 Jul - Dream Inspired Design (US) @ DreamInspiredDesign.com
  • 2014 Sep - Sarah Goer (US) @ goer.org/sarah/

Version history

See: Tiny Forge theme version history.

Need personalized support? Please contact me here!

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