Meet Blask and Colinear

We’d like to introduce another pair of free themes now available in the directory: Blask and Colinear.

Putting the Jetpack portfolio custom post type to good use, Blask showcases all types of creative work – like photography, graphic design, illustration, or painting – in an elegant, minimalist way. Blask was developed by Automattic’s Ola Laczek, based on a design by Mel Choyce.

Blask screenshot

Colinear is Thomas Guillot’s revamp of the classic Coraline. With six layout options accessible via the Customizer, Colinear offers tremendous flexibility in displaying large amounts of content, perfect for news or magazine-style sites.

Colinear screenshot

Both Colinear and Blask support a Site Logo with Jetpack active, and are fully responsive, looking spiffy at any screen size. We hope you enjoy this handsome theme duo.



JavaScript, jQuery and the Web Landscape Today

This is the first in our five-part series on building WordPress themes with JavaScript. Let’s kick things off with an overview of today’s web landscape and how JavaScript fits in. The vast majority of WordPress themes today use jQuery for at least something, so I’ll look at how we’re building themes today, and how we can think about using JavaScript techniques that may be less familiar.

Check out the video presentation or the written transcript below.


A Brief History of JavaScript

What is JavaScript? In Douglas Crockford’s JavaScript: The Good Parts he describes JavaScript as the language of the browser. It enables developers to manipulate the web browser, and therefore affect users’ interactions with the browser. This is at the core of why we should even be thinking about JavaScript in the context of theming.

I’m not just talking about the DOM (Document Object Model). Of course, without JavaScript we can control what the user sees in the browser. But with JavaScript, we can interact with things beyond the DOM. We can edit the browser’s history, we can store data in the browser’s memory, and now we can even create push notifications. This takes us even further than the browser and into the user’s device.

For a long time, JavaScript also allowed us to do things asynchronously, loading things in the background while the user is doing something else. Google, via Gmail, have been doing this since 2004. At that point, working with JavaScript was prohibitively difficult, and unless you had a lot of developers and money, you didn’t generally use it in the way Google did. That said, developers did start making basic use of the Ajax techniques that Google largely pioneered with Gmail. Ajax stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.

Getting Our Hands Dirty

Let’s look at some simple things we can do with JavaScript in Chrome’s developer console, using the BBC website as an example. (All modern browsers have an equivalent way of doing this.) I’m not going to use jQuery, just so we can get more comfortable with the idea of pure JavaScript.

First, we want to select something in the DOM. The two most common methods for doing this are getElementById and querySelector. They’re similar, except with querySelector we can select elements by their class. As its name suggests getElementById only allows us to select elements by their ID.

With something selected, we could now change pretty much anything about it. This is basically what jQuery does behind the scenes.

jQuery etc.

I’ve mentioned jQuery a few times. Years ago, many felt JavaScript was arcane and hard to understand. There were a lot of browser inconsistencies and compatibility issues. The jQuery project, which kicked off in 2006, tried to abstract the difficult problems with JavaScript, and allow people to more easily make use of it. At its essence, jQuery is a library of abbreviations. A great introduction to jQuery is the website

When this site first went live it was the butt of a lot of jokes, but it’s actually quite a useful resource. On the one hand we can see how jQuery really does shorten how much code we need to write, but sometimes the jQuery version is no shorter than pure JavaScript. Occasionally, the jQuery way is even slightly longer, such as with outerHTML.

I’ve used jQuery a lot in my time as a developer and while it can be useful, I do believe that jQuery can restrict those using it to what it is able to do. I also think that because of jQuery, a lot of developers remain mostly unfamiliar with JavaScript itself.

It’s also worth noting that there are/were some other players in the same field as jQuery, for example MooTools and YUI.

A Whole New Node

In 2009, JavaScript saw the start of a bit of a renaissance, as Node.js landed, which allowed you to run a server with JavaScript. The JavaScript renaissance really hit its stride in 2011 with the arrival of npm, the Node Package Manager. This was huge because it made it trivial to create and distribute JavaScript modules. In a way, npm is like a JavaScript version of the WordPress plugin repository. Since Node’s arrival, lots of new JavaScript libraries and frameworks have come onto the scene including Backbone, Ember, Angular, and React.

These new libraries and frameworks have made it easier for developers to create quite impressive app-like websites with JavaScript. At the same time, many of the browser inconsistencies and compatibility issues with JavaScript have been ironed out. We are now in a position with JavaScript where we can take pretty much complete control of the user’s experience on our websites. The one missing piece of the puzzle in the context of WordPress is data. Yes, we can manipulate the DOM and move things around, but how do we get the data from WordPress? That’s where the REST API comes in, and that’s what I’ll be focusing on in the second part of this tutorial.

The Series

  1. JavaScript, jQuery and the web landscape today
  2. Introducing REST APIs
  3. Challenges faced in applying JavaScript and REST API development to theming
  4. Bringing React into our theme
  5. Et voila, a JavaScript WordPress theme that uses the WordPress REST API

Theme Duet with Afterlight and Libretto

We’re pleased to launch two new themes on

Afterlight is Takashi Irie‘s variation of his earlier Cyanotype. Opt for a full-screen background image or choose a solid background color to make a bold statement.

Afterlight screenshot

Featuring big, bold drop caps and oversized images, Libretto is ideal for showcasing longform writing or stunning imagery. Its classic design and typographic details will give your blog a sophisticated, elegant look. Libretto is a fork of Readly, originally designed by WPShower.


Announcing Apostrophe

A classic magazine-style theme, Apostrophe is now available for self-hosted sites. An update of Konstantin Kovshenin‘s Semicolon, crafted by Automattic’s Sarah Semark, Apostrophe supports a site logo and featured posts once Jetpack is active. With its traditional horizontal menu and right sidebar, Apostrophe also lets you “star” posts on the front end to set them as featured. Check out the demo or give it a go on your site.

Apostrophe screenshot

Let Your Restaurant Shine With Confit

We are proud to bring Confit, an elegant free theme geared to restaurants, cafés, and bars, to

Confit lets you easily add food and drink menus to show off your best dishes and beverages, through Jetpack’s Custom Content Types module. The plugin’s Contact Info widget – available through the Extra Sidebar Widgets module – also complements Confit nicely, by allowing you to map your venue’s location and display phone numbers and opening hours, so customers can easily find you.

Take Confit for a spin and add some flavor to your site!

Confit theme screenshot

Canard screenshot

Meet Argent, Cerauno, and Canard

We’re proud to present a trio of new free themes, now available for your self-hosted site through the theme directory.

Argent is a modern portfolio theme, perfect for creative professionals like designers, artists, and photographers. Designed by Mel Choyce and developed by Ola Laczek, Argent lets you add portfolio projects through Jetpack’s Custom Content Types module.

Argent screenshot

A magazine-style theme designed by Mel Choyce, Cerauno was developed by Caroline Moore. On her inspiration, Mel says,

I designed Cerauno with subject bloggers in mind, like food, fashion, or travel bloggers. I wanted to make a theme for someone who’s been blogging for a little while, but wants to boost their traffic and bring their site into the spotlight with a clean and authoritative design. I’m so excited to see it launch!

Cerauno screenshot

Canard is flexible theme geared to magazines, news sites, and blogs. Created by Thomas Guillot, Canard lets you feature specific articles on the homepage and balances readability with a powerful use of photography.

Canard screenshot

Ellen Bauer and Manuel Esposito of Elmastudio.

Elmastudio on Running Your Own Business, Theming, Selling on and More

Devin Price of WP Theming recently interviewed Ellen Bauer and Manuel Esposito of Elmastudio about running your own theme business, selling on, and much more. You can listen to the interview or read the transcript. It’s a great peek inside a successful theme business. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

Ellen, on the hardest parts of running a theme business:

You have to find a work routine yourself and be consistent. Over the long run, if you want to do your work or job for a couple years, you have to think a little bit ahead. I think this is what we’ve learned over the last years, that consistency is most important. You have to be there for your customers and for your people.

Manuel, on finding inspiration:

All of the stuff that’s happening in your life and around you. It could be food. Print magazines are great inspirations for typography, the detail stuff. But the main designs, the layout, the conception- it comes from weird stuff actually.

Ellen, on focusing a design:

From our experience, we just have the most fun and we can do the best job we can if we do design we just love and we would use. It’s okay, not everyone loves our style of design. I think it’s totally okay because there are so many solutions to doing a WordPress design.

Ellen, on selling themes on

We always try to do very minimal themes and do them, if you can say, the WordPress way – don’t do a very custom development style, so it’s not that hard to get the themes [to] work on

Image courtesy of Elmastudio.

Resonate With Resonar

A recent creation from Automattic’s Takashi Irie, Resonar is an elegant theme perfect for fashion, food, or design blogs. Its layout showcasing full-screen featured images works especially well for longform posts with large images. Combine strong images with Resonar’s beautiful typography to craft posts that make an immediate visual impact.

Explore the demo site or download Resonar and take it for a spin.

Resonar screenshot

Pull Your Blog Together Coherently

A new theme designed by Automattic’s Tammie Lister is now available in the directory. Coherent‘s elegant slide-out panel tucks away navigation, a social menu, and widgets, keeping visitors’ focus on your posts. Optional full-screen featured images let you showcase strong photos or other graphics.

Check out the Coherent demo or activate it on on your site now!

Coherent screenshot

Cyanotype and Satellite Available on

Cyanotype and Satellite, two fresh new themes geared to personal bloggers, are now available for download at

Designed by Automattic Theme Wrangler Takashi Irie – of Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Fifteen fame – Cyanotype is a bold, original blog theme. Its distinctive high-contrast color scheme pays tribute to the classic photographic printing technique, which produced images known as blueprints. Change the background color to give your site a different look.


A child theme of Scrawl, Satellite is a snappy personal-blogging theme brought to you by Automattic’s Caroline Moore. It tucks away the menu and widgets in a slide-out side panel, keeping the focus on your content.