Recently, I released Further — Automattic’s first premium magazine theme. I’ve been given a chance to write about my thoughts behind its inspiration, design, and development. I hope this gives you something to think about as you design your next WordPress theme or website.
Our friends at Creative Market announced last week that all themes sold on their marketplace are now 100% GPL. We couldn’t be more thrilled about this and send hearty kudos to the gang at CM for doing the right thing.
To show our support, we’ve jumped into the fray by offering for the first time ever a WordPress.com premium theme for self-hosted WordPress blogs. Further was designed and developed by our very own Takashi Irie. He put his heart and soul into the work, and oh boy does it ever show.
For everyone who’s been asking when Further, which really shines with Jetpack, will be available for self-hosted blogs, you now have your answer. We hope you’ll love Further as much as our beloved users on WordPress.com do and can’t wait to see the amazing blogs that you build with it.
Today’s Jetpack 1.8 release makes the WordPress.com default mobile theme available for WordPress.org sites. If your site has not been optimized for mobile devices, you can provide a clean, readable interface for your mobile visitors with the WordPress.com mobile theme.
Next Saturday — a bold and playful theme that adds a touch of childlike innocence to your blog – is now available in the official WordPress Themes Directory. It was originally designed by Ian Mintz and brought to WordPress by the Automattic Theme Team.
We are obviously theme junkies here and everyday we check the official free theme directory. It’s only March now but many free themes have already became available since the new year. To highlight the great themes there I picked up ten themes added in 2012 that are not only coded well but look beautiful.
Like last year, 2012 has been and is going to be another great year for WordPress themes. Huzzah!
Sundance — a brand new free video theme brought to you by the team here at Automattic is now available in the official WordPress Themes Directory.
If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re a WordPress theme aficionado, a true connoisseur. I’d like to know: how does a devourer of WordPress themes, like you, fulfill your massive appetite for awesome new themes?
For my cravings, I generally partake in the following (most common at the top):
- I find out by word of mouth, from my colleagues at work.
- Via Twitter, from the theme designers and theme shops I follow closely.
- By way of the Extend free themes directory RSS feed (I then go preview each one immediately).
- Reading reviews on sites like WPCandy, WPTavern, Smashing Magazine, or Weblog Tools Collection.
- By checking the Commercial listing on Extend often, to discover theme shops, from time to time.
- Rarely, I will use visual theme sorting services like the Theme Finder or ThemeSorter.
And in case your answers are different, where would you send someone to look for great WordPress themes who is not a theme junkie? Your family, friends, clients, a non-WordPress expert who asks your advice.
My coworkers at Automattic and I frequently discuss the speed with which we’re able to onboard new themes into the WordPress.com theme directory.
Our top priority as the Theme Team is to make sure that all of our users feel like they have a theme that fits them perfectly; in order to meet that goal we’re focused on bringing a variety of themes into WordPress.com through a few primary channels: the WordPress.org theme directory; premium theme shops; and Automattic (in-house) themes.
It’s often the case that each conversion—that is, making a theme’s code WordPress.com-safe and ready—will take us anywhere between one week and one month, depending on the complexity and quality of the code. In a perfect world, though, we’d be able to snap our fingers and have every single awesome-looking theme available on WP.com right now.
Have you checked out the Toolbox theme? Up until recently it was the starter theme we used to build free and premium themes on WordPress.com. Toolbox was (and is!) a great theme, but it could be better. Unfortunately, we wound up in a situation with Toolbox where we wanted to make some more drastic improvements to it as a starter theme but got a little stuck. We had people using it as a Parent Theme and that meant that the simplest id or class change could become a problem. Simply changing an id of
#masthead in the template is enough to break most CSS.
And there were other more beneficial but potentially more disruptive changes we thought would be great to add to it. Changes like better starter styles, including a generic framework for adding your own responsive CSS; a script for elegantly handling menus on small screens; and easy-to-rework sample theme options. And whole lot more. The sort of things we found ourselves adding to 80% of the themes we were building. You know, the sort of things that you really need in a starter theme.
So, we forked Toolbox — don’t worry it’s still being updated — and made a better, faster, stronger, starter theme. A developer-only theme that gives us the freedom — us being the WordPress.com Theme Team — to iterate with abandon on the idea of WordPress starter themes. Since that theme underscores the new themes we build we call it the Underscores Theme, or
_s for short.
And it’s pretty darn awesome.