2010: A Theme Odyssey

After the video from the core team meetup was posted, the topic that seemed to get the most attention on Twitter and various community sites was Matt’s announcement that there would be a new default theme in 2010, so I thought I’d start with that as the first of the meetup summaries.

When Kubrick was bundled with core back in 2005, it was a cutting edge theme. Custom header, rounded corners, clean design… if you were using WordPress back then, let’s face it, you were impressed. Time moves on, though, fashions change, new styles become old standards, and what was once cutting edge suddenly seems old-fashioned and out of date.

So, a new bundled theme in 2010? We think it’s a good idea. Something nice and light that can serve as a good example theme, include newer theme-based features, and look nice (and current) on a public site. We’d like to introduce a new default theme with version 3.0, which is anticipated to come out in mid-2010 (hence the name), and think it would be good for it to blend well aesthetically with WordPress itself.

I’d been advocating moving toward Elastic, the theme framework/WYSIWYG theme editor that was one of our Google Summer of Code student projects, but after some discussion I agreed with the guys that while Elastic is awesome and should be promoted as a community development project, it’s heavier than a default theme needs to be. The default theme doesn’t need to be a full-featured framework, it just needs to work well, look awesome, have good code and be a good starting point for beginning themers. We were thinking of a fairly minimalist design that would make it easy to customize.

As for the code, there’s a question of if it will really be a new theme, or if it will be a re-styled and updated version of Kubrick.  We don’t know the final answer to that yet, because the ultimate decision will be made with the community’s input, but we believe all new markup is the way to go. What do you think? Without venturing into theme framework territory, are there features you think a new default theme should have? Some people have been talking about it on Trac over the past year, if you wonder what’s been tossed around so far. I thought about posting a poll here (you know how I love posting polls to gauge opinion), but in this case I think a discussion thread might be better, so that each vote can explain the reason behind it. So, have an opinion on what a new default theme should include? Weigh in at the forums.

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