Thematic Version 0.9—The Best Version Yet

Thematic version 0.9 represents a major change in Thematic. Actually, this release represents everything I’ve learned from the Thematic user community and my continual efforts in studying how most WordPress themes are actually used.

Thematic is all about you: what you want to do with it, how you’re using WordPress, and how you’re going to use it to meet your online goals.

Head to the Thematic download page and get it now or keep reading and find out what the story is with the best version yet of your favorite WordPress Theme Framework.

The New Default Thematic Style


As you can see, there have been some changes. Thankfully, they’ve all been for the better.

First of all, I’ve done away with building to a consistent baseline. That is, having everything line up to the same baseline across content and sidebar. In theory, or on a static site, that’s a great idea. In practice, I’ve found that it ends up being a detriment when you’re customizing using the default style as a guideline or starting point. Basically, things stop lining up and it makes me koo-koo bananas when I go to visit your blog.

What I’ve replaced it with is a complete rethink of the Thematic typographic scale that adds up to a more harmonious overall appearance. Something beautiful on it’s own but easy to fit into almost any design. You can think of it as a damn elegant theme that’s ready for you to build a successful website with. Beautiful, pleasant, damn elegant typography, and simple design, are a must for engaging your website visitors and keeping them coming back. Now Thematic takes care of all that for you.

And the default Thematic style is easier to customize. No more multiple shades of blue (but keep reading to find out how Thematic Classic can bring it all back) that look kinda weird with your custom image header. In it’s stead, a simple and consistent scale of gray ready for you to take advantage of and color up yourself. (And super easy to edit with a find and replace in your favorite text editor!)

The real icing on the cake for people ready to take their Thematic theme to the next level, Hooks and Filters, are now everywhere in Thematic. Making your Child Theme a potential super-plugin for WordPress. You can see the complete list on the new (in development) Guide To Customizing The Thematic Theme Framework along with code snippets that you can just cut and paste into your Thematic Child Theme.

Drop-Down Menus Built Into Thematic

Drop Down Menu

Thematic now has jQuery-powered drop-down menus built in to the core. This is one of the most common feature requests I’ve received—but I resisted doing this for a long while. Finally, I came to the conclusion that Thematic’s refusal to gracefully handle sub pages was a deficiency. Especially since it’s so easy to modify the code that’s creating the drop down menus with your Child Theme.

First of all, if you don’t like drop-down menus, outright killing the drop downs in your Child Theme is actually pretty easy.

// Filter away the default scripts loaded with Thematic
function childtheme_head_scripts() {
    // Abscence makes the heart grow fonder

Overriding and adding to the default options with your Child Theme is pretty easy too—once you know how to do it.

// Filter the default drop-down options
function childtheme_dropdown_options($dropdown_options) {
    return <<<EOD
    <script type="text/javascript">
            minWidth:    12,                                // minimum width of sub-menus in em units 
            maxWidth:    27,                                // maximum width of sub-menus in em units 
            extraWidth:  1                                  // extra width can ensure lines don't sometimes turn over 
                                                            // due to slight rounding differences and font-family 
            delay:       800,                               // delay on mouseout 
            animation:   {opacity:'show',height:'show'},    // fade-in and slide-down animation 

Simpler footer text options with shortcodes

Thematic has always stood out amongst premium and free themes by letting you edit the text that appears in the footer of your blog. Even going so far as letting you remove the link back to the Thematic Theme release page without having to edit the actual theme files or purchasing special “unlock” codes.

And now, we’ve made it even easier to edit your footer text by using shortcodes for some common footer items.


This Is Great News for Theme Developers

If you’re a theme developer looking to publicly release your Thematic Child Theme you can add a link to your Child Theme release page in the [theme-link] shortcode. Here’s the code snippet you’ll need in your Child Theme functions.php:

// Add a link back to your Child Theme release page in the [theme-link] shortcode
function childtheme_theme_link($themelink) {
    return $themelink . ' &amp;amp; <a class="child-theme-link" href="" title="Awesome Theme" rel="designer">Awesome Theme</a>';
add_filter('thematic_theme_link', 'childtheme_theme_link');

That example will return both the Thematic link and your link. Of course, you can always just return a link to your Child Theme release page alone:

// Add a link back to your Child Theme release page in the [theme-link] shortcode
function childtheme_theme_link($themelink) {
    return '<a class="child-theme-link" href="" title="Awesome Theme" rel="designer">Awesome Theme</a>';
add_filter('thematic_theme_link', 'childtheme_theme_link');

Thematic Gives You a Head Start on Custom Theme Development

You probably already know that Thematic let’s you easily, and rapidly, build bullet-proof websites with it’s modular CSS. You can use @import to load up a CSS reset, basic typography, 2 or 3 column grids, basic styles, and more. Now Thematic gives you a head start on Child Theme development. This is the real secret to taking advantage of everything Thematic has to offer.

As of now, there are 2 basic Child Themes officially part of the Thematic project, Thematic Classic and A Sample Thematic Theme.

A Sample Thematic Theme resides in the main thematic directory. Simply move a copy into your wp-content/themes directory, rename it and activate it and you’re on your way to customizing your theme the smart way—without touching the original theme files.

Want to add a search form to the header, remove the menu, add more options to the menu, register new sidebars, or custom widgets? You can do all that and more from within your Child Theme functions using the hooks and filters built into Thematic.

The Thematic Classic Child Theme (download it here) approximates the look of the original Thematic, pre version 0.9. It’s also a good example of how to make a custom Child Theme by mixing and matching the modular CSS files. Perfect for those of you who have been reluctant to customize your theme using a Child Theme.

Thank You—To Everyone

Thematic has a ton of contributors and hawk-eyed supporters on a hunt to make it better but I’d like to give a special thank you and shout out to Chris Gossmann who helped make this release a killer one. Chris, you’re awesome. Thank you.

And an extra big thank you goes out to all the people working on translations that have helped make Thematic a truly international project. _e(‘Thank you’, ‘thematic’).

And to everyone using Thematic, talking about it, and promoting it, thank you. Thematic could have been just a fun project for me but it’s all of you, spurring me on to make it better, that’s making it a great one.

Download Thematic and build your blog the smart way.

25 thoughts on “Thematic Version 0.9—The Best Version Yet”

  1. This is a great framework to build something special, especially for those of us who need a little extra help with the coding. Thanks, Ian! And, I look forward to seeing what the Thematic community does with this powerful tool.

    I love the core drop down menus & the new hooks are just what I’ve been looking for. Can’t wait to start playing with it.

    Thanks a ton!

  3. Wow – lots of changes to absorb. One of my most common “hacks” is to add a span element around the ‘bloginfo’ item in the blog-title string (so it reads: div span a span bloginfo /span /a /span /div). This allows me to put a background logo on the a tag, keeping the home link, while turning off the visibility of the blog title text (via the new span element). This worked when the code was in header.php, but now that this is in the hooks-filters extension, I’m getting the following error when I add the span:

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_IF, expecting T_STRING or T_VARIABLE or ‘$’ in xxx/hooks-filters.php on line 385

    Note that I’m just trying to modify the default hooks-filters file and haven’t tried to create a child functions.php file yet. Any suggestions?

  4. Suggestion: don’t edit the thematic file. 😉 You can add your own custom blog description using functions.php in your child theme.

    Make a topic in the forums and I (or someone else) will post the code there and show you how—and then we’ll add it to the guide! 🙂

  5. I’ve just used this latest version of thematic 0.9 to build a custom website. I must say it was such a pleasure! The typography is incredibly elegant. That is a hard balance to find, but you’ve found it.

    It’s pretty amazing that I can make a whole new site with just a few lines of code in a child theme to customize the things I need.

    While it does take a big of thinking to grok the concept of adding and removing actions, it is worth it in the end, allowing you to add whatever elements you need anywhere in the theme using the myriad action hooks.

    ps. I’ve made an outline of the thematic structure that might be useful when customizing your child theme. Check it out:

    Thanks Ian, Chris and others for such a great wordpress theme framework!

  6. Beautiful got a sneak when you sent it to me last week. No doubt the best yet.

    Working on creating a child theme that looks like the WP 2.7 Admin. I know there is a theme already like it.

    But not powered by thematic:) If it works out I’ll post a linky. Calling it WPMatic at the moment.

    Thanks man for making WP fun…

  7. Thanks for the update!

    I just found a little bug in your hooks-filters.php. There is a blank missing between “entry-date” and the actual date, line 518.

    And as a proposition for the next version: How about integrating “co-authors”, i.e. displaying more than one author for a post/page?

    Keep up the good work,

  8. WOW! Amazing theme. This blows me away.

    Very very very very helpful and downright…awesome.

    Why buy Thesis when you can get Thematic?

    Need I say more.

  9. Hmmm… It seem truly interesting. I have download it, and also subscribe to your mailing list in order to keep in touch. Thanks for sharing your work! I’ll take a serious look at this. Since i am new to WP and i want to learn to make my own themes. Thanks again.

  10. I only really discovered thematic last night, and can’t try out the new version just yet (I’m at work, see), but from what I’ve read this morning, it seems to be as much of a revolution as WordPress itself. I cannot recall the amount of time I’ve downloaded a theme, hacked it to death and then thought ‘surely this isn’t the best way’.

    Now, it seems, I can start with a truly great foundation that’s extensible and dependable!

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