Some Like It Neat: A Free WordPress Starter Theme Built with Underscores, Bourbon, and Neat

photo credit: j03 - cc
photo credit: j03cc

Some Like it Neat is a new starter theme for WordPress, based on the popular ultra-minimal Underscores theme. It also incorporates Bourbon, a lightweight mixin library for Sass. On top of that it adds Neat, which applies a semantic grid framework for Sass and Bourbon, enabling you to build any responsive layout that you can dream up.

Since Some Like It Neat is a simple starter theme, there’s not much to see in the screenshot, apart from a relatively blank canvas, waiting to be shaped and styled.


The power of this theme lies in the tools that it incorporates. Some Like It Neat expedites the creation of a modern frontend development workflow for WordPress theming with responsive grids and a few prepackaged styles. The theme offers support for the following tools:

  • Bourbon: A simple and lightweight mixin library for Sass
  • Neat: A lightweight semantic grid framework for Sass and Bourbon
  • Bitters: Scaffold styles, variables and structure for Bourbon projects
  • Refills: Prepackaged patterns and components, built on top of Bourbon, Bitters, and Neat
  • Bower: A frontend package manager

This is essentially everything you need for a Bourbon-soaked development workflow. Developers starting with this theme should already be familiar with Sass, since it’s the foundation for using Bourbon and Neat. If you need a Sass primer, Sitepoint has a great tutorial on the basics. WP Beginner also has a quick introduction to help WordPress theme designers get started with Sass.

Some Like It Neat also allows for Gulp.js task automation. Alex Vasquez, the theme’s creator, says that this feature still has room for improvement. The theme currently includes support for the following tasks:

  • gulp watch – Starts up Gulp and watches your scss, js and php folder for changes, writes them out and refreshes the browser for you
  • gulp build – Removes unnecessary files and packs up the required files into a nice and neat, installable, zip package

Additionally, Some Like It Neat adds support for the Theme Hook Alliance (THA), a community-driven project that offers a standardized set of third-party action hooks to theme developers to implement for more flexibility. THA has a growing list of compatible themes. Vasquez opted for adding it to help keep things within the theme cleaner and easier to maintain.

Why Use Bourbon and Neat?

Incorporating Bourbon and its parallel projects into your WordPress theme is a matter of personal preference. In the past, Vasquez had used frontend frameworks such as Bootstrap and Foundation, but after discovering Bourbon+Neat, he found that it gave him a more efficient approach to theme creation:

To achieve the responsiveness required of various projects, I would have to tear up my HTML, input my own selector classes and what have you, in addition to changing my CSS. I didn’t like it. I heard about Neat and really liked its approach to a grid framework. You keep your HTML structure the way you like and all of the styling in your Sass files.

If that sounds like a better workflow for you, then you may want to set aside some time to give this starter theme a try. It can be used as a parent theme from which you create a highly customized child theme. Vasquez has outlined how to get started in the documentation, which will walk you through installing Node, Sass, Gulp.js, etc. He also posted a handy folder structure as an example for how projects are structured with the starter theme.

Some Like It Neat is Alex Vasquez‘s first submission to the official WordPress Themes Directory. You can download it via your admin theme browser or from its GitHub repository.


2 responses to “Some Like It Neat: A Free WordPress Starter Theme Built with Underscores, Bourbon, and Neat”

    • Alex, thanks for stopping by! This theme is a great addition to all the WordPress starter themes out there. Looking forward to experimenting with it when I get some free time. :)


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