Support » Requests and Feedback » New Default WordPress Theme?

  • Jen

    (@jenmylo)



    Community Organizer

    The post at http://wordpress.org/development/2009/12/2010-a-theme-odyssey/ outlines some of the thinking by the core team about bundling a new default theme with WordPress 3.0 next year. This forum thread is the best place to weigh in on what features you think are important to include in a default theme, if it should have a specific look, etc.

    I’ll kick it off. I would like to see something with generally minimalist design, nice typography, a custom header, and a couple of different page templates, making it easy for the theme to be used for CMS-type sites as well as blogs (a template for a non-blog home page with a featured content area would be fantastic IMO).

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 85 total)
  • I heartily agree with the custom page templates. I think that lots of widget-ready areas would be nice, along with a nice big widgetized footer.
    Another thing I’ve noticed about quite a few themes for WP is that if you’re not going to use the theme for a blog, you really have to hack the code to make it usable for a CMS-type site.

    Jeff Chandler

    (@jeffr0)

    Volunteer Moderator and Voice of WP

    The way I see it, if you attack the root of the problem and replace Kubrick with a base theme that contains everything DD32 mentions in his ticket, this could do nothing but positive things for the WordPress community. First time theme developers would have an excellent base to start from and learn a thing or two in the process with documentation included within the theme.

    I think the default theme in WordPress should find a way to balance a myriad of points. The first, showcasing what WordPress is capable of doing out of the box without being too complex. The second is to be used as a fantastic guide to creating themes with WordPress which of course is going to require lots of documentation, probably inline. Third, I hope the minimalist design is at least stylish enough to use by itself or at least, has great typography and is easy to style or modify. Would be awesome to tap into the typography skills of Darren Hoyt šŸ™‚

    Edit: Should type faster, and stop looking at other pages, looks like Jeff got in with what I’d like to see too! … But glad I’m not the only one!

    I think (And have already said it before on Twitter!) that 2010 should showcase what WordPress can actually do, yes, more people look at it as just blogging software and expect nothing more than a blog look and feel to it! – But fact is, as many of us already know, it’s more than that! šŸ™‚ As Jane has semi-mentioned in her post above!

    So what I’m really saying is, WordPress has loads of features, yet the default theme doesn’t take advantage of at least 50% of them, one being the Post Thumbnails. One minute it was built into the default theme, and next it was removed again!

    I’m sure I could go on and on, but I think (And hope!) you see what I’m on about! šŸ˜‰ It’d finally be good to see a default theme that had all the template pages covered!

    Make some really sexy PHP, but also keep it simple. After all it’s supposed to serve as an example theme. I also think a lot of documentation in the theme file itself in the way of PHP comment blocks would be helpful. Explain what’s going on or at least link to Codex articles about each function. Yes, it’s bloaty, but helpful to the novice trying to figure out what’s going on. PS: I’d be willing to help code this theme — I’ve converted quite a few static pages to themes.

    Keep the HTML as flexible as possible so it’s easy to be reskinned. Think Sandbox style. No fixed width background images for example.

    I think it’d be cool if it had a basic options page to allow for things like controlling left/right sidebar, theme width, etc. Nothing fancy (not a full blown framework), but allow the user to tweak the theme a little without having to know CSS. Allow them to make it their own (background image, header, colors). Again, not a full framework, just a little customization. We can keep this all in functions.php so it doesn’t clutter up the theme itself for example purposes.

    Ian Stewart

    (@iandstewart)

    Theme Wrangler

    I’m kinda partial to the HTML structure in the Shape Theme I came up with. There aren’t a lot of blog or CMS-type site layouts that can’t be created using it.

    The new theme should definitely take beginners into consideration yet set the standard for developing themes.

    Use best practices in the XHTML and CSS code.

    Be well commented in the code and have a table of contents in the style sheet.

    Include example files for every file listed in the template hierarchy at:
    http://codex.wordpress.org/images/1/18/Template_Hierarchy.png
    This will show newbies the great flexibility of WordPress

    Make use of commonly used template tags and the new tags implemented in 2.9

    Documentation with the theme or a link to documentation that is kept current at wordpress.org. Separate from the Codex please so its easy to comprehend.

    Something different to show change, white with square corners perhaps šŸ˜‰

    This is a huge discussion, but I think Dion covers most of the important aspects in the Trac ticket.

    Things that are important in my opinion:

    1.

    A few more action hooks, that maybe could become sort of standard if introduced by the default theme, helping plugins work their way easier into the content/functionality of a typical WP site. E.g.:

    wp_content_before()

    and

    wp_content_after()

    … before and after the_content(), so that plugins can add content without resorting to filtering.

    2.

    An Options page, to tweak very basic things. This page would also help theme authors in general, as a model; now it is not easy building options pages for WordPress.

    3.

    HTML5 doctype. Enough said!

    4.

    Sensible typography! Seriously! No things like text-align:justify without hyphenation, or text-transform:lowercase!

    An application named WordPress should have better typography than that. And good web typography is rather easy to achieve these days, with so many knowledgeable people working on the subject and sharing the result of their work. (See number of CSS frameworks.)

    See, as an example, the typography on op111.net: http://op111.net/

    It is a theme Iā€™m putting together, very plain and simple on the surface. Its typography is almost default Blueprint CSS — http://www.blueprintcss.org/ — (Iā€™m resisting the temptation to mess too much with Blueprint) and Iā€™m surprised by how good it looks by virtue of the sensible typography alone.

    I am going to repeat what others said before me, but this 2010 theme should definitely serve as an example. It should consequently group lots of features that make WordPress great, while staying simple to start with if you are discovering WordPress and know nothing about code.

    I think page templates are a great way to do just that. They can be there, serve as an example, and still stay at the back for the one who downloaded WordPress and who does not want anything but a blog.
    Your idea of a homepage template with featured area is exactly what I would imagine.
    I always say that the weakest point in the WordPress project is its past, and its background: everbody who knows a bit about WordPress will tell you it is a blog platform, but only a few of them know that it can be so much more. In my opinion, the default theme should be built with that “weakness” in mind.

    So I’d see a minimalist great-looking theme, well commented and extremely well documented, without too many images but a nice work on the typography, with a simple options page with only a few theme options, to serve as an example.

    For additional features, if the theme is well documented, lots of child themes will be released in no time anyway.

    What about rewriting it enough so that when updates to the theme are made they aren’t overwritten?

    Or would that add too much code for a default theme?

    I’m torn between one theme that does it all and several small themes that highlight different approaches. Should the default theme be able to switch from 1,2 or 3 columns? Left vs right column? fixed vs dynamic width? etc…

    Far too many people stick with the default theme for it to be static or boring but that is what prompts most people to find a theme that suits them, their personality and their site’s perspective. If we get too creative, people won’t be as motivated to find something different or personal.

    My vote then is to keep it simple with limited flexibility and able to handle the most common features easily.

    Oh! One thing more!

    5.

    A selection of themes that are both well-coded and popular should be studied carefully before any decisions are made. Here are a few that I would start with:

    • Hybrid
    • Tarski
    • Thematic
    • Thesis

      I’d like to see a default theme similar to Thematic:

      • the ability to create child themes
      • the ability to hook into in different places along with filtering
      • if there is a default options the ability to override of disable or extend
      • be an example of best practices in theme option coding
      • ability to implement other css frameworks easy

      The biggest thing for me is extendability. WP is so powerful because of it actions and filters. I think the default theme should also follow in these footsteps.

      Ian Stewart

      (@iandstewart)

      Theme Wrangler

      Picking up on Jane’s suggestion ā€¦

      a template for a non-blog home page with a featured content area would be fantastic

      I think a ‘magazine’-type home-page template would definitely be something to consider. Especially if an example theme settings page was built in.

      I don’t think I’d like to see column switching as an option though. If this is a theme meant, eventually, for simple tweaking and customization, a few sample stylesheets for layouts (like Sandbox, Thematic, Shape, etc.) brought in w/ @import would be simpler.

      HTML 5 doctype, sure. Though I’d be inclined to steer away from HTML elements.

      I’d also be inclined to steer away from styling with CSS3. I’m thinking here of the IE user tweaking his stylesheet and not realizing his new color combinations are making a garish text-shadow-ey mess for people browsing in FF or Safari.

      HTML 5 doctype, sure

      Agreed!

      I propose two really different approaches for a new default theme ā€¦Ā 

      Thematic: really clear, good for SEO and to educate in developing skills
      Carrington blog: a new concept of theme framework – looking to the future, with a great options page, beauty and lots of fun

    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 85 total)
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