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.
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!
Our very own Lance Willett spoke recently at WordCamp Phoenix about the art of finding the perfect theme:
I’m happy to announce that _s 1.3 is ready for download on both Underscores.me and GitHub. The most notable changes introduced during the last two versions are basic support for Infinite Scroll, theme customizer integration, and additional Post Formats.
There was no blog post published for _s 1.2, so consider the following notes to be a brief overview of fixes and enhancements performed on _s since version 1.1:
The following files changed from Version 1.2 to Version 1.3:
404.php README.md comments.php functions.php image.php inc/jetpack.php inc/template-tags.php style.css
You can also run the following command in Terminal to see a log of file changes between Version 1.2 and Version 1.3:
git diff --name-only 7b7489 f1e9b4
For a full log, visit the commit history page on GitHub.
The following files changed from Version 1.1 to Version 1.2:
404.php README.md archive.php comments.php content-single.php content.php footer.php functions.php header.php image.php inc/custom-header.php inc/customizer.php inc/extras.php inc/jetpack.php inc/template-tags.php inc/theme-options/theme-options.php inc/tweaks.php index.php js/customizer.js js/html5.js languages/readme.txt layouts/content-sidebar-sidebar.css layouts/content-sidebar.css layouts/sidebar-content-sidebar.css layouts/sidebar-content.css layouts/sidebar-sidebar-content.css no-results.php page.php readme.txt search.php searchform.php single.php style.css
You can also run the following command in Terminal to see a log of file changes between Version 1.1 and Version 1.2:
git diff --name-only f1e9b4 175ef5
For a full _s commit log, visit the commit history page on GitHub.
Please jump into the ongoing discussions on GitHub and if there’s an issue with _s that has not been raised yet, feel free to open it up.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Discover Intergalactic, a new free theme designed by Mel Choyce and developed by Caroline Moore. With prominent featured images, high-contrast typography, and a slide-out side panel for menu and widgets, Intergalactic makes a bold statement while keeping the focus on your images and text. Download it from the WordPress.org directory or explore the demo.
“Penscratch was inspired by a similar portfolio theme, Sketch, which I designed for visual art. I wanted a clean, minimalist theme with a similar look and feel, but tailored to writers.”