Theme Standards

There was some confusion on WP Daily the other day about Obox, ThemeForest, GPL, and WordPress.com. It was disappointing to read since we’ve always been very open about our standards for WordPress theme licensing; 100% GPL for every thing, every time. It’s pretty easy to understand and it’s the only way to really have an open source theme that protects user freedoms. As I posted about recently, what’s been difficult to understand has been Envato’s license. Unfortunately, and just as disappointing, Obox has been caught up in this. Obox sells their themes on ThemeForest and have been trying to sell their themes in the only really correct way — with a GPL compatible license for everything. Since it looks like this won’t be corrected right away, as of yesterday we’ve removed Obox themes from our WordPress.com Premium Theme Marketplace.

Obox is a terrific company and I hope this is temporary. We’ve had a great relationship that should continue. That relationship — and the one we have with all of our Premium Theme partners — is a good example of our team goals. If you’ve never read our Theme Team goals I’d like to point out a couple of them.

We will teach WordPress developers to become the best theme developers in the world. If you’re a WordPress theme developer—commercial or 100% free—we want to help you be the best.

We will ensure all our improvements make it back to the open source community.

We’re very serious about these goals and very proud of how these work out with our Premium Theme partners. The reviews we’ve done of the themes in our marketplace have been referred to as “Epic” more than once and I understand that they’ve become somewhat legendary. We love hearing that. A considerable investment of time is put into every theme review and every premium theme launch on WordPress.com. Our hope is not just that our partners benefit from this investment but that the whole WordPress community benefits.

So, as I’ve said this is disappointing. One day — hopefully soon if Envato can correct their licensing problem right away — we’ll have Obox back. That won’t be just a benefit for us, Obox, or Envato. It’ll be a boon to the whole WordPress community.

Envato’s License Changes For The Worse

envato-license

There’s been a lot of talk lately about ThemeForest, Envato, WordCamps, and the GPL. I’ve been paying close attention because, you know, themes. I love them. I think they’re a huge part of the WordPress mission to democratize publishing and I think the good ones are making the world a more beautiful and better place. I also think they should be free, open source software — the whole deal, CSS, images and all — just like WordPress. Try deleting all the CSS and images from your favorite theme and from WordPress. It’ll help you understand why, while technically theme authors don’t have to let you fully own those things, they really shouldn’t be taking that freedom away from you and locking them down. This is one of the core values of WordPress and fundamental to the market in which people develop and sell themes.

Anyway, other people have made this point more eloquently than me. What I really want to talk about is a change in the Envato license that no one is really talking about. That is, the recent Marketplace License Updates and how it affects WordPress theme licensing on ThemeForest.

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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.

Custom Background & Custom Header

With the templates and CSS in place, let’s round off our theme building by adding a way for visitors to add a personal touch with their own Custom Backgrounds and Custom Headers.

I recommend adding support for these features after you’ve completed the CSS for your theme. It’s faster this way, because you can make the preview of the Custom Header and match your theme’s design. Plus, it’s easier to test the implementation of both backgrounds and headers when your design is complete. Think of them as the final flourish for your theme!

Please Note: The examples in this lesson are based on the design of the Shape Sample Stylesheet from the CSS lesson. If you want your header styles to look like those in the screenshots in this lesson, you’ll need to replace the styles in your current style.css with those from download.

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The WordPress Theme Comments Template

I hate the Comments Template. There, I said it. It can be a confusing mess.

Luckily for you, I’ve sorted it out. Confusing still, yes. But sorted out. For this tutorial on the Comments Template, I’m basically going to walk you through what’s going to happen, show you some custom code snippets you’ll need to add to your inc/template-tags.php file, and then drop the whole thing on you. Hopefully, it’ll start to make sense. But at the very least you’ll have a wicked comments template.

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