The WordPress.com Public Theme Guide

wpcom-theme-guidelines

They say Valentine’s Day is all about love. Well, the thing I love the most about working on the Theme Team at Automattic is the attention to detail that goes into each theme launch. There is an inital build process followed by a series of peer reviews. More times than not a theme will be put under the microscope of 2, 3, or sometimes 4 different team members before launch. The sheer number of things that can potentially go awry in a theme can be overwhelming at times. This review process allows us to catch as many bugs as possible before people start using our themes.

Our peer reviews focus on a mixture of three areas: code quality, usability, and discovery of theme-specific anomalies. Over the years, our review process has grown organically. When we discover a new issue we will generally post about it to an internal P2-powered website for team discussion. While this process works really well, it can be a bit time-consuming to navigate through three years’ worth of posts to find an isolated conversation about a particular issue.

Recently, we thought it was a good idea to collect all of our theme guidelines and create an easy-to-follow resource. Instead of posting this internally, we decided that we would like to share our guidelines with theme developers everywhere. I would like to present to you the first installment of The WordPress.com Public Theme Guide. We hope that you get as much use out of this as we do!

Getting Excited About Edge Code

Last night Adobe’s Create The Web Tour rolled into Portland, Oregon and I attended. The night consisted of two presentations highlighting the new tools that Adobe has developed for creating the web. Of the many tools demonstrated, Edge Code really made an impression. It looks a bit like this:

edge-code

In the past, I’ve used a grip of opensource text editors. My favorite has always been Notepad++. While I am free to modify and redistribute the code under the GPL license, I never have for one very important reason: I have no idea how to. Notepad++, like many other text editors, is written in a language I do not understand. This is where Edge Code is a bit different.

Edge Code is a distribution of Brackets which is available under the MIT license and is written in html, css, and javascript. Three technolgies that I can read and write. This is pretty exciting; I’ve always wanted to be able to edit my editor and now I can!

This is only one of the many neat features of Edge Code. It also syncs with your browser so you can see your changes in real time. It understands the relationships between html and css, allowing you to edit your stylesheet directly from an html document. It’s great to see inovations like these being developed for those of use who build the web.

I’m going to install Edge Code today with the hope that I can introduce it into my daily work flow. Have you tried it yet? If so, please leave a comment and let us know what you think about it.

Introducing the Monster Widget

An important part of the theme development process is testing. As a member of the Theme Team at Automattic I can say that we like to test everything we can! One thing that we have observed is that widget testing can take up a lot of time. WordPress provides 13 widgets, many of which contain a form enabling us to customize each instance. Populating a sidebar with widgets can be rather time consuming especially if you have to tweak each widget’s settings.

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Better WordPress Theme Internationalization with Pig Latin!

During the process of creating my first public WordPress theme one thing was very important to me – I wanted the theme to be useful to as many people as possible. To reach this goal, I knew that I would need to make sure that my theme could be used in any language. Luckily, WordPress core provides a few different functions that makes this pretty easy to do. If this is a new topic for you, please read more about Internationalization for WordPress Developers in the codex.

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