Set Your Blog Free With Libre

Designed by Automattic’s Caroline Moore, Libre brings a stylish, classic look to your personal blog or longform writing site and is now available for download at WordPress.org. Libre’s main menu stays fixed to the top while visitors read your posts, and three footer widget areas let you tuck extra content away at the bottom of the page. Two custom page templates, including a full-width layout, add visual variety. Make Libre your own by adding a header image or — with Jetpack — a site logo. Libre sports a clean, responsive design that lets your site shine on screens of any size.

Libre screenshot

 

Announcing Apostrophe

A classic magazine-style theme, Apostrophe is now available for self-hosted sites. An update of Konstantin Kovshenin‘s Semicolon, crafted by Automattic’s Sarah Semark, Apostrophe supports a site logo and featured posts once Jetpack is active. With its traditional horizontal menu and right sidebar, Apostrophe also lets you “star” posts on the front end to set them as featured. Check out the demo or give it a go on your site.

Apostrophe screenshot

Let Your Restaurant Shine With Confit

We are proud to bring Confit, an elegant free theme geared to restaurants, cafés, and bars, to WordPress.org.

Confit lets you easily add food and drink menus to show off your best dishes and beverages, through Jetpack’s Custom Content Types module. The plugin’s Contact Info widget – available through the Extra Sidebar Widgets module – also complements Confit nicely, by allowing you to map your venue’s location and display phone numbers and opening hours, so customers can easily find you.

Take Confit for a spin and add some flavor to your site!

Confit theme screenshot

Meet Argent, Cerauno, and Canard

We’re proud to present a trio of new free themes, now available for your self-hosted site through the WordPress.org theme directory.

Argent is a modern portfolio theme, perfect for creative professionals like designers, artists, and photographers. Designed by Mel Choyce and developed by Ola Laczek, Argent lets you add portfolio projects through Jetpack’s Custom Content Types module.

Argent screenshot

A magazine-style theme designed by Mel Choyce, Cerauno was developed by Caroline Moore. On her inspiration, Mel says,

I designed Cerauno with subject bloggers in mind, like food, fashion, or travel bloggers. I wanted to make a theme for someone who’s been blogging for a little while, but wants to boost their traffic and bring their site into the spotlight with a clean and authoritative design. I’m so excited to see it launch!

Cerauno screenshot

Canard is flexible theme geared to magazines, news sites, and blogs. Created by Thomas Guillot, Canard lets you feature specific articles on the homepage and balances readability with a powerful use of photography.

Canard screenshot

Elmastudio on Running Your Own Business, Theming, Selling on WordPress.com and More

Devin Price of WP Theming recently interviewed Ellen Bauer and Manuel Esposito of Elmastudio about running your own theme business, selling on WordPress.com, and much more. You can listen to the interview or read the transcript. It’s a great peek inside a successful theme business. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

Ellen, on the hardest parts of running a theme business:

You have to find a work routine yourself and be consistent. Over the long run, if you want to do your work or job for a couple years, you have to think a little bit ahead. I think this is what we’ve learned over the last years, that consistency is most important. You have to be there for your customers and for your people.

Manuel, on finding inspiration:

All of the stuff that’s happening in your life and around you. It could be food. Print magazines are great inspirations for typography, the detail stuff. But the main designs, the layout, the conception- it comes from weird stuff actually.

Ellen, on focusing a design:

From our experience, we just have the most fun and we can do the best job we can if we do design we just love and we would use. It’s okay, not everyone loves our style of design. I think it’s totally okay because there are so many solutions to doing a WordPress design.

Ellen, on selling themes on WordPress.com:

We always try to do very minimal themes and do them, if you can say, the WordPress way – don’t do a very custom development style, so it’s not that hard to get the themes [to] work on WordPress.com.

Image courtesy of Elmastudio.

Resonate With Resonar

A recent creation from Automattic’s Takashi Irie, Resonar is an elegant theme perfect for fashion, food, or design blogs. Its layout showcasing full-screen featured images works especially well for longform posts with large images. Combine strong images with Resonar’s beautiful typography to craft posts that make an immediate visual impact.

Explore the demo site or download Resonar and take it for a spin.

Resonar screenshot

Pull Your Blog Together Coherently

A new theme designed by Automattic’s Tammie Lister is now available in the WordPress.org directory. Coherent‘s elegant slide-out panel tucks away navigation, a social menu, and widgets, keeping visitors’ focus on your posts. Optional full-screen featured images let you showcase strong photos or other graphics.

Check out the Coherent demo or activate it on on your site now!

Coherent screenshot

Cyanotype and Satellite Available on WordPress.org

Cyanotype and Satellite, two fresh new themes geared to personal bloggers, are now available for download at WordPress.org.

Designed by Automattic Theme Wrangler Takashi Irie – of Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Fifteen fame – Cyanotype is a bold, original blog theme. Its distinctive high-contrast color scheme pays tribute to the classic photographic printing technique, which produced images known as blueprints. Change the background color to give your site a different look.

Cyanotype

A child theme of Scrawl, Satellite is a snappy personal-blogging theme brought to you by Automattic’s Caroline Moore. It tucks away the menu and widgets in a slide-out side panel, keeping the focus on your content.

Satellite

Theming with the REST API – Meet Picard

If there’s one thing that has been making waves in the WordPress ecosystem this year, it is the new REST API. Officially known as WP-API, and currently available as a plugin, it is due to be rolled into core at some point this year.

A REST API?

A REST API may not initially seem like a useful feature for theme developers. It is clearly very useful for those looking to use WordPress as an application platform, but how the REST API can be used within a theme is perhaps more opaque.

The Theme Division at Automattic have had an eye on the potential uses of a REST API powering a theme for at least a couple of years now, and in recent months some concepts have started to take shape.

The Future is JavaScript

There are many potential benefits to building themes that rely more than ever before on JavaScript and the REST API, including but not limited to:

  • Design: We can have smooth transitions between the different types of content on our websites.
  • Speed: We can store content from the REST API in localStorage (effectively the browser’s memory). This means that on the initial site load we can store any post that is retrieved. Imagine a user clicking a ‘read more’ link and the full post being displayed without the need of a further server request.
  • Offline: By handling interactions with JavaScript, as developers we gain control of what happens if the user goes offline while browsing our site. We can let them know that the server doesn’t appear to be reachable and we can present content that we know is stored in their browser in a graceful way.

Picard Screenshot

Picard

In February of this year, the team worked together on a prototype REST API theme that has become known as Picard (a geeky nod to “the next generation” of themes). To create Picard, we used React, a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. Coupled with vanilla JavaScript and a number of other libraries sourced through npm, we were quickly able to produce an engaging, working prototype.

Recently, I have been talking about building themes with the REST API and our approach to building Picard at a number of WordCamps so far this year, culminating in a workshop at the inaugural LoopConf.

Today, Picard is now publicly available on GitHub.

Tango

We intend to continue developing Picard and working on some of the harder problems that we have not yet solved. We aren’t stopping at Picard either. Our experiments have led us in various directions. My colleague Kirk Wight has created another experimental theme called Tango. Tango is an extension of the concepts we are exploring with Picard, blended with the bulletproof Underscores starter theme.

Make It So

The future of WordPress theming may dramatically shift with the official adoption of the REST API but you don’t have to wait for the future to take advantage of it now. Clone Picard and Tango. Experiment and see what you can do. These are exciting times for themes!

Further Reading and Resources


 

Photo credit: JD Hancock/flickr