Theme developers will now have access to a cool new starter theme that the WordPress.com theme team will be using on a routine basis when developing new themes. Not only is this great news for ALL theme developers, but how they are going about it makes me think they are also using this opportunity to experiment with GIT instead of working purely with SVN. I think some would argue that this is what the default theme should have been like within WordPress from the beginning but looking at how successful Twenty Ten has become, perhaps it was’nt such a bad idea.
By Jeffro on February 20, 2012
By Jeffro on February 13, 2012
ThemeSorter.com which I wrote about back in March of 2011 has turned one year old and thanks to AppThemes.com, they will be celebrating by giving away a few prizes. One of the prizes they’ll be giving away is an AppThemes club Developer membership valued at $349.00. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on their celebration post explaining which AppThemes theme you are most interested in and how you would use it.
Congrats to them on not only sticking around for a year, but also for smashing their goal of 1,000 themes by the Summer of 2011.
By Jeffro on February 10, 2012
Ian Stewart shared some of his predictions as they relate to WordPress themes for 2012. His thoughts on Lighter themes as well as themes getting rid of the useless options are spot on. It’s a trend that’s made headway since the beginning of 2012 and it will only continue during the rest of the year. I’m not quite sure about his thoughts on using the default theme that ships with WordPress because it gives you a 1,000 hour head start. I’m sure many will beg to differ but it’s a good trend to see that with each default theme, the team will be trying new ideas and hopefully, begin inspiring everyone else.
Amongst the comments, Josh Leuze proposed that themes should have less features built into them.
Along with less theme options it would be nice to see less features built into themes. There are so many themes out there with poorly implemented breadcrumbs, slideshows, and other functionality that doesn’t really need to be built in when there are so many awesome plugins they could integrate instead.
And with all the time they save by choosing established plugins instead of rolling their own, they can concentrate on sweet designs instead
With that being said, do you know of any themes that concentrate exclusively on providing a rich, beautiful presentation of content without all the doo dads attached onto it such as sliders, breadcrumbs, flashy headers, etc.? A theme that takes each post type and turns that piece of content whether it be a video, image, or blockquote into a thing of beauty. I’m willing to bet that most WordPress themes be it free or commercial do not accomplish that task out of the box. Instead, it seems like it takes a skilled designer or team of designers to turn a specific WordPress theme into a great presentation of content. However, the monkey wrench thrown into the equation is that themes are subjective and what looks great to one person may look like crap to someone else. If you can find a theme that accomplishes everything I’ve mentioned out of the box, I think that gets you closer to a 1,000 hour head start.
By Jeffro on February 8, 2012
WPLift has a cool post highlighting the different default themes that WordPress has had since its inception. According to the post, since WordPress was first created, the publishing platform has had a total of five default themes with Twenty Twelve being the sixth, slated to arrive with WordPress 3.4. It was a nice stroll down memory lane and a bit surprising that the amount of default themes was so low. However, it seemed like forever when Kubrick was the default theme for WordPress.
So the question is, how many of you remember using the first WordPress Default theme for your site?
By Jeffro on February 3, 2012
Congratulations goes out to Luke McDonald as one of the themes produced by Press75.com has been selected to be part of the WordPress.com commercial theme store. The theme is priced at $50.00 and is called Debut. It’s mobile ready right out of the box along with having post format support. Speaking of post formats, Debut is especially interesting because when users select the Audio post format, it expands into a multi-track playlist. You can see the theme in action via the WordPress.com theme showcase.
By Jeffro on January 31, 2012
DBS Interactive which is an interactive agency has released their version of a WordPress 3.0+ theme reference guide. The guide is a reworked version of the information you would find in the Codex around template tags. So if the Codex presentation of this data is not your cup of tea, perhaps this reference guide will be easier to follow.
By Jeffro on January 30, 2012
The Theme Review Team tried something new this past weekend. Members of the review team that could make it, spent all day in IRC to review themes stuck in the Priority 2 queue which lists themes that have been stuck in the review process for more than two weeks. While the goal was to clear the queue, the last time I checked the number of themes was around 81. Some of the themes have been in the review process for over 6 weeks. Browsing through the queue, I even noticed two themes submitted by Automattic. One was called Duotone which has been in the queue for 5 weeks with Bouquet coming in at 6 weeks. Just goes to show that Automattic doesn’t receive preferential treatment when it comes to the review process.
If you would like to see themes get through the review process faster, please consider joining the theme review team. As a theme author, you can also help make the review process go faster by ensuring that your theme meets the following guidelines.
By Jeffro on January 12, 2012
WordPress consultant, Konstantin Kovshenin has published an excellent guide describing what theme/plugin lock-in is and how to avoid it. This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for a long time but have never been able to put into words for a post. The biggest culprit in my opinion when it comes to lock-ins are themes, especially commercial ones. These themes not only come with features that make it unique, those features sometimes store or alter data in a way that makes it very difficult to switch themes or even upgrade WordPress. The first comment on that post by Diane illustrates my point exactly.
This problem is even more pervasive than articulated here. The theme options of many commercial themes create functionality unique to that theme and then if you want to make a change, boy are you screwed. We see this problem with clients all the time.
Looking back at my history of using WordPress, choosing the right theme based on looks, options, and functionality was one of the toughest decisions I would have to make. I think I’ve only switched themes five times or less for both my personal site and WPTavern.com. Quite frankly, switching themes is a giant pain in the ass. Widgets become messed up, the layout is screwed up and although I like themes with options, I have to read the manual to figure out how to get the layout I like or at least, witnessed on the demo theme. Once I have a theme configured both functionally and aesthetically, I try not to do anything to disturb it. I get sick of the layout sometimes but the thought of switching themes and how much work that entails always settles me down into sticking with the current implementation.
Definitely read the comments at the end of the article as Mike Schinkel carries on an interesting conversation on ways or methods on which this entire situation could be improved.