10 HTML5-Ready Blank, Bare-Bones and Naked Themes for WordPress

If you are a WordPress developer and are looking for an easy way of rapidly building HTML5 ready themes without having to re-write the same WordPress code over and over, then this post is for you.

Blank, bare-bones, naked, themes, or whatever you prefer to call them, are a life-saver for developers who have to build WordPress themes on a regular basis. They are basically stripped-back themes that have had all of their surplus non-essential code stripped away, leaving only the bare necessities and a fantastic starting point for any new project.

Previously, we had published a post (10 Blank/Naked WordPress Themes Perfect for Development) covering bare-bones WordPress themes but, at the time, there were very few themes that were HTML5 ready. Now with HTML5 being embraced by most developers the availability and demand has sky-rocketted.

In this post we feature 10 blank, bare-bones or naked HTML5 ready themes, each with varied degrees of ‘nakedness’ and each offering different features and functionality.

We have also added The Constellation and the HTML5 in TwentyTen themes, which are not really blank themes, but are choc full of features that make them good enough as a starting point for any WordPress project.

1. Roots WordPress Theme

Roots WordPress Theme.

Roots is a starting WordPress theme that has been built with the HTML5 Boilerplate, Blueprint CSS/960.gs, and is hNews microformat ready. Roots includes many amazing features, here are some of its key features:

  • HTML5 Boilerplate’s incredibly powerful .htaccess directly from the theme
  • Blog posts are based on the hNews microformat as recommended by Readability’s Article Publishing Guidelines
  • Home page created with some temporary lorem ipsum
  • Primary and Utility navigation menus are created
  • Automatically sets the permalink structure to /%year%/%postname%/
  • All static theme assets are rewritten to the website root (/css/, /img/, and /js/)
  • The search results show up with a clean /search/query/ URL rather than /?s=query
  • Robots.txt optimized for SEO as recommended by the WordPress Codex
  • Simple page templates for full width, sitemap & subpages

2. Handcrafted WP Starter Theme

Handcrafted WP is an almost-naked HTML5 ready starter theme based on Ian Stewart’s Toolbox Starter Theme and Paul Irish & Divya Manian’s HTML5 Boilerplate. It comes with a very basic layout and is packed with a kick-ass array of useful features and functions to get you started. Here are some of the key features:

  • Cross-browser compatible
  • HTML5 ready with reset
  • IE specific classes for maximum cross-browser control
  • iOS, Android, Opera mobile-adaptable markup & CSS skeleton
  • Google CDN hosted jQuery with fallback
  • HTML5 Shiv to enable support for IE
  • Custom Post Type with custom icon ready to go
  • Post formats ready to go but commented out

3. HTML5 WordPress Shell

HTML5 WordPress Shell.

This is an updated version of the original WP Shell from www.mimoymima.com taking advantage of HTML5. It is a fantastic starting point for quickly creating themes using HTML5 with an abundance of features:

4. Toolbox – An HTML5 WordPress Starter Theme

Toolbox - An HTML5 WordPress Starter Theme.

Toolbox, developed by Automattic, is not as feature rich as any of the other blank/bare-bones themes in this article. What it does do is give you a completely un-styled blank canvas, with some of the exciting new HTML5 elements like <article>, <header>, and <nav>, so that you can quickly build your own HTML5-ready theme.


View Demo

5. HTML5 Boilerplate for Thematic

As the title states, this is a Thematic theme for WordPress using the HTML5 Boilerplate. Its theme has been based on the WordPress default theme Twenty Ten, and makes use of some of its features, as well as layout options from Thematic, to create an effective boilerplate for development. HTML5 Boilerplate for Thematic

HTML5 Boilerplate for Thematic

6. Starkers HTML5

Starkers HTML5

Developed by Nathan Staines, Starkers HTML5 is a bare-bones WordPress theme created to act as a starting point for the theme designer. Just like Elliot Jay Stocks’ original and very popular version of ‘Starkers‘ this theme is based on the current WordPress default – ‘TwentyTen’. Free of all presentational elements and non-semantic markup, Starkers HTML5 is the perfect ‘blank slate’ for your WordPress projects, as it’s a stripped-back version of the ‘Default’ theme.

Starkers HTML5

7. HTML5 Reset WordPress Theme

HTML5 Reset WordPress Theme

The HTML5 Reset WordPress theme is a blank theme based on the HTML5 Reset templates. In addition to all the standard WordPress elements and classes, they have added the code required so that the single post template conforms with the hNews microformat.

HTML5 Reset WordPress Theme

8. H5 WordPress Theme

H5 WordPress Theme

The H5 Theme Template offers everything you need to create beautiful themes with HTML5. It has a complete set of theme files and folders, and each file being meticulously crafted with all of the latest and greatest WordPress functionality. As a template theme, H5 is designed with easy customization and personalization in mind, serving as a solid starting point for your next HTML5-based theme.

9. Brave New World WordPress theme

Brave New World is free of layout and styling beyond a modified version of Eric Meyer’s reset CSS and a baseline typography. Just like Elliot Jay Stock’s Starkers theme this is a base theme free from cruft yet incorporates HTML5, WAI-ARIA landmark roles and hCard and hAtom microformats.

Brave New World WordPress theme

10. Constellation Theme for WordPress

Constellation Theme for WordPress

The Constellation theme, not as bare-bones as others, is a highly optimized WordPress framework rewritten from the ground up using HTML5. It gives you the flexibility to offer bespoke styles for different devices (includes media queries for several devices), totally up-to-date HTML5 code which is fantastic for SEO, a flexible grid system on top of all the other goodness bundled in to the HTML5 boiler plate.

Constellation Theme for WordPress

View Demo

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