It’s time for the WordPress sidebar to go, and all mention of it to be wiped out from existence. I’m not talking about the visual idea of a sidebar on your blog. No. I’m talking about the WordPress function
get_sidebar() and the use of the term, Sidebar in the WordPress admin. This way of thinking is obscuring the vision of WordPress designers and limiting the potential of your blog theme.
Here’s why: A sidebar doesn’t have to be a sidebar. Continue reading
Continuing work on my next theme, Thematic, one thing I want to get out of the way immediately is the structure, or skeleton, of the thing. The outer structure of any HTML+CSS document is where things usually go bonkers and the last thing I want is for my markup to make things worse when I update versions. So, that said, here’s the basic divisions of markup, which I’ll follow with some of my thinking. I’m hoping we can start a conversation over this—and I’m totally up for a raging debate over my non-transcendent approach to this—so give this post a quick scan and see if you can add your two cents. The more the merrier. Continue reading
I will soon be releasing the hacked-up version of The Sandbox that I’ve been using as a starting point to develop free and custom themes. For free. On Google Code. As an open source project. Since I have different goals than the Sandbox creators (and not as much skill!) I won’t call my changes improvements but they are changes you may appreciate:
- Search Engine Optimization
- A grid-based starting point
- CSS Reset and Typography based on Blueprint
- Markup allowing even more CSS madness than The Sandbox
- Theme Options
- More Page Templates
- More widgetized areas
- More Microformats
- Popular Plugin Integration
The handling of plugins in WordPress 2.5 is perfect. It’s superb. It’s easy. It’s cake. But now that I have cake, you know, I want to eat it too. I’ve got a proposal for how upgrading of themes should be handled in WordPress 2.6 (or whenever) using a .org theme repository. Maybe more like a couple of ideas. But watch out! My first item is going to be somewhat controversial amongst theme authors.
Use WordPress Theme Options to Store Footer Text
What prevents people from upgrading their WordPress theme? Changes they’ve made to the theme file. Ignoring changes made to accommodate plugins, there’s really only one spot a theme user would really want to change and have no apparent control over in the admin area: the text in the footer. Theme authors should hand over that power.
One of the first things many new blog owners do is remove the Meta section from their sidebars. Great idea. The Meta information is almost completely useless. And I’m not the only one that thinks so.
The Meta section includes some admin links like “Login” or “XHTML Valid.” While those links might be useful for the owner of the blog, they offer no value at all for the reader. The next time you set a WordPress blog up, start by removing the Meta section from the sidebar. Daily Blog Tips
Well, kinda easy. If you want to implement this on your blog you’ll have to do some fiddling around with your theme. No guarantees that the following technique won’t make your site explode.
Here’s what we want to do. Only show the login block to logged-in users and while we’re at it take the whole thing out of the sidebar and put it somewhere really useful: in a sliding panel that drops down from the top of the page with a click, wherever you are on the page.
Hey There! If you haven’t yet, make sure you check out The Future of WordPress Themes 2009 after you’re done reading 2008′s predictions. It’s a good read.
When I predicted the downfall of premium WordPress themes I immediately began to think of the future of WordPress theming in general. Where was it headed really? And if I really wanted to know, who should I ask? Well, if you want to know where WordPress themes are headed in the future, these are the kind of people you want to ask—and the people to watch. And wow, am I glad I asked.
Here are 11 people committed to thinking creatively about WordPress themes and what they mean. These are some of the people who will carry and lead WordPress theming into 3.0 and beyond. Some of these people will set the agenda for the future of WordPress themes. And this is what they think it will look like. Continue reading
It’s prediction time: The Premium WordPress Theme phenomenon has approximately one year left before collapsing entirely, leaving a rather large hole between completely free WordPress themes and custom themes $1500 and up. If you’ve got a “Premium” WordPress theme waiting in the wings I advise releasing it sooner rather than later. As in, now.
Before I explain myself let’s get one term straight: Premium. I’d rather use the compound “pay-for-use” because more often than not “Premium”, when it comes to WordPress themes, simply means “it costs money” and not “of superior quality”. This isn’t true for everyone of course. But it is certainly true of some (and will increasingly become true of more as the market becomes saturated).
Oh, and Options has one more feature. It signals the end of the Premium WordPress theme market.
Automattic, the folks behind WordPress.com have a great quote on their company site, “Blogging is too hard.” I totally agree.
Why did you start your personal blog anyway? You wanted a place online to share things you found interesting and occasionally write a longer article, maybe even a rant. Right? Did you want to start a magazine site with 40 categories carefully arranged on a complicated home page? Or did you want a blindingly shiny site that looked like it had been attacked by a pack of floor buffers? Probably not. Did you want something simple and cool looking? Something easy to post to? Something that looked and worked like the tumblelog-style WordPress theme MNML? (What’s a tumblelog?)
Maybe. Let’s take a closer look at it.
View the live Demo or Download MNML.
I’ve been thinking about my next theme (now available), reviewing the themes in progress and looking over my list of plans. I think I’ve come to a conclusion about what the next ThemeShaper theme will be. Oh wait, you’ve already read the title so you know. Yeah, it’ll be a Tumblelog theme.
First things first, what’s a Tumblelog theme? Well in my mind it’s a theme that lets you tumble with the now. A theme that lets you post, post, post—consequences be damned. A Facebook where you’re in control. A tumbling rolling current of links and thoughts that doesn’t try and pass itself off as a community hub, premium news magazine, or anything anti-blog. It’s the bloggiest of all blogs really. Especially in this current phase of WordPress. Continue reading
I love WordPress, let me get that out of the way at the beginning. But Drupal is really powerful. And terribly exciting—you can do so much with it! But I only like Drupal. Bit of a difference.
I’ll let that serve as introduction to letting you know that I have two projects that will require Drupal as a CMS and I don’t think that WordPress will cut it. WordPress, like I’ve said before, makes a great little CMS. But it’s not for everything. One project is a site for a complex and growing organization that will need finely grained user permissions and the other, a hobby site, is something like a Digg-clone for rating and sorting user-generated content. Sort of the standard “you need Drupal” projects. Continue reading