Twitter Bootstrap and WordPress Theme Frameworks

If you haven’t yet you should make some time to read Building Twitter Bootstrap at A List Apart. Especially if you’re interested in building a WordPress Theme Framework or WordPress Starter Theme.

Twitter Bootstrap is essentially a collection of HTML-CSS templates and some Javascript put together to “help designers and developers quickly and efficiently build awesome stuff online.” It sounds an awful lot like a lot of WordPress Theme Frameworks and Starter Themes, right? It looks like one too.

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What Do You Really Need in a WordPress Starter Theme?

I think it’s safe to say that I’m somewhat obsessed with themes that help you get your WordPress projects started quickly. Most likely because I’ve been there, staring at an empty project folder wondering where I should begin. Well, you shouldn’t have to stare at that empty folder for any project. Even when you’re starting from scratch you’re probably not really starting from scratch, right? You’re taking an existing WordPress theme, either your own or someone elses, and hacking at it until it’s something new. That theme is your Starter Theme.

But not all Starter Themes are created equal. If you’re using the same theme again and again and always adding the same code to it, well, shouldn’t that code always be in there in the first place? Or how about the reverse? If you’re always cleaning out the same code from your theme is that really a great starter theme? Should it have sample theme options? Or a CSS reset? Basic styles? How much style? A grid system? … The questions could go on for a while.

So, what are you using for your Starter Theme? And what do you think you really need in a WordPress Starter Theme?

The WordPress Theme Lock-In Effect

Konstantin Kovshenin has a great post on one of my pet peeves. The lock-in effect. The rub? When you go to switch themes you find that your content is tied into the theme (or plugin) you’ve been using. Not good.

WordPress has been known for its backwards compatibility for ages. In fact, you’ll not loose your content when you downgrade (provided that you’re using the core features only,) plus WordPress provides several export options that can easily be read by other software and services. WordPress gives you control over your data so you’re never locked in to using WordPress itself. WordPress does not lock you in.

Plugins and themes are somewhat different though, mainly because developers are overlooking the WordPress API and a bunch of features which already ship with WordPress, and tend to reinvent the wheel. Another situation is where plugins or themes introduce some brand new features unavailable in WordPress so they store your data in a unique way which is not what other themes and plugins can understand. If not treated well, the lock in effect can cause loss or corruption of your data …

Via WPCandy.

My WordPress and Web Design Feed Short List

I recently started subscribing to RSS feeds again after having given them up totally for several months. I was relying on the cream to rise to the top in Twitter and a handful of sites that I would visit every day or week. And now, after declaring feed bankruptcy, I’m back at it again (switching to Reeder as my feed reader was a big part of that decision). I have pared things down though. Here’s my must-follow short list of WordPress and Web Design sources that I’m following right now. These sources let me keep on top of what’s going on in WordPress and Web Design.

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Powering Your Design With WordPress on WordPress.tv

If you enjoyed the Powering Your Design With WordPress article in spring you can now see the presentation that inspired it on WordPress.tv courtesy of the fine folks at the Future of Web Design. Go Check it out!

And speaking of FOWD, it’ll be rolling back into London May 14th – 16th, 2012. I heard some great presentations, met some awesome people, and had a great time there in 2011. I’m sure 2012’s FOWD London will be even better.

Let Your WordPress Smilies Smile

I love smilies. I mean, just take a look at these two happy fellows.

They look pretty happy, right? I think they’d look a lot happier if they didn’t have the same background color and padding as the rest of the images in my theme though. Don’t you? Make sure you’re adding something like the following to your theme stylesheet somewhere after your main image styles. This is a good start for resetting the existing image styles you might have.

img.wp-smiley {
	background: transparent;
	border: none;
	margin: 0;
	padding: 0;
}

Do that in your WordPress themes and you’re all set. 🙂

Awesome Up Your WordPress Theme With Post Formats

This August I had the pleasure of speaking at WordCamp San Francisco on awesome-ing up WordPress themes with Post Formats. If you wanted to check out my presentation but weren’t there, or missed the livestream, have no fear! You too can check it out, right now, right here, thanks to the magic of WordPress.tv.

If you want to follow the along with the slides, you can do that too by downloading them right here.

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