Linn Øyen Farley

I’m a designer and developer based in Toronto, working primarily with WordPress. I have a degree in technical theatre, I teach with Camp Tech and Ladies Learning Code, and I share my office with a very rambunctious cat.

Speaking Sessions

Don’t Fear the Custom Theme: How to build a custom WordPress theme with only four files

What is your talk about?

This talk is a file-by-file guide to creating a fully-functional WordPress theme, based on an existing HTML/CSS design. No PHP experience necessary! I’ll give an overview of the bare minimum of PHP functions you’ll need to build a WordPress theme (plus some extra stuff), and I’ll also demonstrate how I use custom WordPress themes in my client work as a tool for rapid prototyping and designing in the browser.

What do you want people to learn from your presentation?

I’ve found a lot of developers are hesitant to make the jump from child themes into custom theme development, in part because commercial themes can be overwhelming with their hundreds of files and complex-looking PHP functions. I want people to walk away from this talk with an easy-to-follow guide to creating a custom WordPress theme with just a few files, and hopefully with the confidence to try it out right away!

Why did you decide to speak?

I taught myself how to code, and I will forever be indebted to the people that took the time to write and speak about everything from nitty-gritty code how-to’s to freelance best practices. In an attempt to pay it forward, I’ve been teaching with organizations like Camp Tech ( and Ladies Learning Code ( for the last few years. This felt like the right time to take on the challenge of a conference talk!

What attracted you to WordPress in the first place?

I’m a one-person studio, so I prefer to build sites and then hand them off to clients post-launch. Before I started using WordPress, clients would have to contact me to make any updates to their site, but now I just need to spend a bit of time showing them where everything lives in the dashboard and they’re good to go.

What is your favourite plugin or theme, and why?

It’s a close tie between Advanced Custom Fields ( and WP Remote ( – I couldn’t run my business without either of them.

What are you most looking forward to at WordCamp Toronto?

WordPress nerds are the friendliest nerds. Every year I look forward to a weekend of geeking out, totally judgement-free. Plus, my highly scientific research shows that t-shirts with geeky references are far more likely to be recognized and appreciated at a WordCamp than at any other conference.