Google Code is Google’s hosting repository for open source projects. Got an open source project? Google Code will host it for free. Want to make a killer WordPress theme that just plain works? Then Google Code is your best friend. Three projects on Google Code will help you get your WordPress theme done right. A trinity of open-source WordPress theme development tools: Sandbox, Blueprint and IE7.js.
The Sandbox theme
Sorry, Kubrick, Sorry, K2: the blog theme you’re looking at right now is based on Sandbox. And that statement is pretty much future proof since I don’t plan on basing any future WordPress themes on anything but. The Sandbox, as we all know by now, has awesome dynamic classes (designed by Automattic’s Andy Skelton) that get added to every post, page and comment and give your CSS fine-tuned granular control over almost every tag in the markup. On top of that, almost every WordPress function and template tag is represented, making it a perfect theme to learn from. Plus, it’s just plain neat and well laid out by a conscientious perfectionist (Scott Wallick) given to revising every little thing in the theme.
Speaking of that perfectionist, how does he feel about any old theme designer and hack messing with his code? Let’s ask. Scott, how do you feel about designers bastardizing your hard work?
The best Sandbox, I’ve always thought, is a bastardized one. That’s what it’s there for, after all.
Not enough convincing? Check out Alister Cameron, The Blogologist, speaking at Wordcamp Melbourne 2007 on Sandbox Theme for WordPress.
There you have it. Start using the Sandbox as the basis of your themes today.
Update: As it turns out, the Sandbox theme is dead. Well then. Might I suggest an alternate theme, also on Google Code? How about my fork of the Sandbox, that has long since transformed itself into what’s been called a theme framework? Interested? Check out the Thematic Theme.
Blueprint CSS Framework
What can I say about Blueprint that hasn’t already been said except that it either enrages web developers or makes them cry with joy? Hmm, I can probably be clearer than that. Blueprint is a CSS framework, a series of stylesheets that take care of all those little things (and big things!) that you find yourself doing over and over again. Things like resetting browser defaults, floating columns, and taming IE6. Does it work with WordPress? Of course. It’s been used to great effect by at least two WordPress themes: The Morning After and Blueprint-WP.
Want to start using it with your next WordPress theme? It couldn’t be easier. In fact, it takes only a minute (literally—I timed myself). Download Blueprint and throw the Blueprint folder into a new theme folder. Open up the template file that contains the body tag (in Sandbox it’s
header.php) and give it the class
container. Now, open up
style.css and add the following right after the theme information
Et Voila. Once you finish wiping away the tears of joy you can read the Blueprint documentation and peruse the main stylesheets and then get to work designing your next masterpiece.
Ie7 is a recent addition to Google Code, and Beta status, after sort of being stuck as an Alpha project on Dean Edwards’ personal project page for a while. As if to make up for it, you can now link to the script right from Google’s servers.
<!--[if lt IE 7]>
I wouldn’t try hotlinking like this on an important project (you can still download the script) but it’s still kinda neat.
Know of any more WordPress friendly Google Code projects? Let us know about them in the comments.