How Sage Can Transform WordPress Theme Development

By Oisin Wood


Sage is an out-of-the-box theme design pattern for developing themes in WordPress. It was specifically developed to encourage a more streamlined process, using a comprehensive set of modern tools for web development. In comparison to other starter themes, Sage is miles ahead. So, what is it that makes Sage so great? We’ll go through why Sage is different and how it can transform WordPress theme development with greater efficiency, stability, and security.

What makes Sage different?

When developing WordPress websites, there are several design and software architecture elements to consider. In general, the most common method of development is to create theme files in PHP code using a theme framework. However, while these frameworks can provide a base to work from, they don’t offer the functionality and customisation needed for modern workflows. Specifically, starter themes lack the functionality to build frontend assets, which is crucial in today’s development world.

The Sage theme toolkit is different. It enhances the traditional method of developing WordPress themes, going above and beyond what has previously been offered in starter themes.

As well as tools you’d find in WordPress starter themes, Sage also provides modern frontend and backend tools, like synchronised browser testing, JS and CSS bundling, image compression, the Laravel PHP framework, and the Blade templating engine.

Since Sage is part of Roots, it’s open-source software which means it’s continuously being developed to include more modern web tools for developers. As a result, Sage aims to provide a full stack solution to help developers build better WordPress websites. Essentially, it provides developers with all the tools needed for scalability, customisation, performance, and security.

Sage frontend and backend tools

One of the main standouts between Sage and other theme starter packs is the combination of front and backend tools. In terms of front end, Sage includes the fundamental list of tools you’d need, as well as a variety of others that allow developers to write and develop code more effectively. These include:

  • CSS preprocessors, such as Saas
  • Static module bundlers
  • JS syntax features
  • Third-party JS libraries
  • Synchronised browser testing
  • JS and CSS error identification

Sage also offers several backend tools to improve theme organisation, enabling developers to write more advanced PHP code improve the overall website experience. These include:

  • PHP Standard Recommendation (PSR) coding standards
  • Model View Controller (MVC) template file organisation
  • Laravel Blade templating engine

What are the benefits of Sage?

Sage offers a solid foundation of building blocks which allows for better and more streamlined software development processes. As such, it encourages modular development, promoting code reusability and maintainability. It brings heaps of benefits for developers, including fewer errors, better web optimisation, increased web performance and speed, and the ability to write more modular and sustainable code. Thanks to the full stack solution of Sage, it also allows developers to save time when building websites, while reducing the risk of errors.

In addition, Sage allows you to develop reusable components and organise code with better structure. It does this in a variety of ways, such as allowing the use of Blade templates and a Model View Controller (MVC) pattern of development. When combined with other tools, like Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), the possibilities for flexibility and customisation of the site through the CMS are endless, allowing site admins as little or as much control as required.

Sage also helps with updating systems as it simplifies future updates, reduces bugs, allows for automated testing, and enhances scalability. This makes it easier to build and maintain complex WordPress projects, while easily manage future additions to the site without overcomplex system changes.

Finally, Sage offers out of the box performance enhancements, which you can easily deploy or customise by using them as building blocks. This significantly improves web performance and allows for greater flexibility when building WordPress sites. As page speed is an important metric in how sites are ranked in search engines, this performance is key.

Head for TrunkBBI and we’ll do the rest

Here at TrunkBBI, we don’t have favourite tools. We’ll recommend the solution that’s most suitable for your project, whether that’s utilising the Sage theme approach, or one of our several different headless systems with our own proprietary libraries.

We always strive to stay up to date with the latest technologies and development tools continually monitoring and refining our offering. Start by visiting our web development page to see what we’re achieving right now for many clients or get in touch by filling in the form below.

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