[closed] New Default WordPress Theme? (86 posts)

  1. Aaron D. Campbell
    Posted 6 years ago #

    My main concern would be setting good examples for people to learn from. The theme needs to use more of the functionality that's available. It needs to have multiple sidebars so that it can use code like get_sidebar('left'); to include sidebar-left.php (and similarly for footer and header). It should also show how to use all the normal template files; page.php, home.php, category.php, tag.php, (probably even category-slug.php and/or tag-slug.php), date.php, attachment.php, and DEFINITELY author.php.

    As for looks, I really don't care (I doubt I'll ever use it), but it would be really nice to show new theme developer's what a theme's capable of as well as best-practices on how to accomplish all the basic tasks (similar to what looking at the code for a canonical plugin would do).

  2. ChrisCree
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Since WPMU is merging with regular WordPress in 3.0 there should probably be one or two other themes included alongside the default theme. Some possibilities include a basic magazine type theme that can pull site wide WPMU data to the front page and a basic BuddyPress theme.

    I'm with those who say the default theme should be well documented and demonstrate some of the newer WordPress features. There should examples for all the files listed in the template hierarchy.

    The default post should demonstrate more of the styling (lists, blockquotes, images, etc.). Maybe there should be more than one default post at this point. And the default theme should definitely include some home page layout options that are much more CMS oriented and look less blog-like.

    I would like to see a basic options page for the default theme on the admin side so that new developers can see how they work in an MU environment with each blog setting their own options.

    There should also be a clearer explanation of how child themes work (perhaps in the readme file?) Child themes have been around for over a year now (since 2.7) and I'm still seeing lots of folks who don't understand how they work and how much they simplify theme customization.

    Good in line documentation of the new default theme combined with a clear explanation of child themes would help folks new to WordPress dig into customizing their themes right away.

  3. Tommie Hansen
    Posted 6 years ago #

    All of the people pumping eighteen sidebars, 9 on each side, you are out to lunch. One sidebar. Read, one sidebar.

    +1 Lockheed


    The default theme should be something that anyone can start writing stuff with (this completely excludes complex magazine layouts). Not something overly complex that try to satisfy everyone and suits every possible site.

    Furthermore it would be quite stupid to have it showcase EVERYTHING WordPress can do as some people here suggest. A single theme can never showcase everything and be scalable enough to allow exactly everything yet be slim enough to not be over bloated with crap people actually won't need. Or maybe the new theme should be created with the use of magic?

    People that want something complex won't use the default theme anyway.

    To summarize. An updated version of Kubrick would be just fine. People that have a demand for more will surely find more themes anyway.

  4. Cris
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I think the most important feature of an example theme should be relative font sizes. When I was making my own theme based on Kubrik I was seriously disappointed in the 10px font size. If somebody sets up his/her browser to use 50px fonts, it's because that person wants or needs big fonts; there's no reason to override this setting.

    When kingjeffrey says "Georgia, when sized at 15-16px is just beautiful (and ubiquitously available)", he means that it looks beautiful on his monitor (or maybe on the standard Windows monitor). 15px is certainly smallish on my monitor, and there's no Georgia on my computer.

    All I'm saying is, a good example theme needs to have a fallback to "serif" and use the default font size for the body text.

    All typesetting should be based on em or ex units, not on px. 1px is very, very small on my monitor, and quite big on some other monitors. How did that ever become a unit for size?

  5. Jami Gibbs
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I think changing the packaged theme is well overdue but I don't think too much time should be spent on the debate about what the new theme will be.

    Honestly, 99% of WordPress users will immediately upload a custom theme of their liking and won't ever activate Kubrick. The same will happen with whichever new theme is packaged with WP simply because people want to choose the theme themselves.

    Cracking our heads over what to include in the new package theme is a waste because it'll be replaced by the user anyway.

  6. lauro.faria
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Difficult to suggest something without thinking about a theme framework. I use the "Options Theme" so remember the Hybrid, both of Justin Tadlock.
    But I think the theme for 2010 could be one that shows the usefulness of each page of the possible structure of WordPress and including the various possible options, without exaggeration.
    A theme with default format, but it is well documented in your code for easy modification and use by beginners.

    [signature moderated Please read the Forum Rules]

    PS: sorry my bad English (by Google) :-)

  7. klkirk
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I didn't know exactly where I should post this comment, but I just wanted to thank everyone who contributes to the development and improvement of WordPress. I just finished creating my new website in WordPress, something I said I would absolutely never, ever do; and well, there you have it, the Never Angels made me do it. I don't know when I've felt such a great sense of achievement and success. Of course I have to thank Christina Hills for her Website Creation Workshop, but the bigger sense is that the web has become somewhat demystified for me and more accessible, understandable and friendlier.
    So thank you all very much. Kathy Kirk

    ps any comments or suggestions you might have for my site are welcome!

  8. trusktr
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Hey! Add the"elastic" theme to wordpress default themes!!!! YES!!! That would be the ultimate way to start your own themes!

    It's Amazing!!!! WordPress needs this amazing functionality!

    Who else agrees to have elastic as a default wordpress theme? Make sure you watch the video on what it can do!

  9. I think filosofo has a great point.

    First, you need to figure out what the purpose of the default theme is. Then we can talk about what features best further that purpose.

    Seems like we are jumping the ship a little bit in determining what to put into a theme when we don't know what the purpose of the theme will be. For instance, if the purpose of the theme is to teach, then load it up with tons of documentation. If the theme is meant to show off WordPress, not so much documentation is needed but it needs to be polished with a good design and show off many of the features built into the software.

    I'm of the opinion that since themes can be installed from the backend of WordPress and the default theme will most likely be replaced with something else, I think the default theme should focus on teaching up and comers.

    Of course, we could argue how successful this technique has been with regards to including Hello Dolly with WordPress to learn plugin development :P

  10. Ryan Hellyer
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I've seen a few mentions of HTML5 above. That seems like a moot point since the specs are not even out yet. However it wouldn't hurt to switch to a standard doctype like that anyway since it's a valid doctype already. That is more of a question of the wysiwyg development though as it currently spits out some code which is invalid with strict doctypes.

    I think filosofo has a great point.

    I agree.

    Of course, we could argue how successful this technique has been with regards to including Hello Dolly with WordPress to learn plugin development :P


  11. demetris
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I think filosofo has a great point.

    I disagree.

    Whatever else it is decided the new theme should be, it should be first of all this: A theme that teaches.

    That’s for two simple factual reasons:

    First, the default theme is the de facto reference implementation of WordPress core functionality.

    Second, the default theme is where most people start from to make something of their own.

    (Even now, Kubrick, with all its shortcomings—it doesn’t even support child themes—, servers that role because it is available everywhere and because the third-party good themes one might be tempted to look at for guidance are sometimes too complex for a beginner; even their file structures can be intimidating to a beginner.)

  12. demetris
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Regarding the doctype...

    As I was the first to bring it up in this thread, I would like to make clear that I did not mean introducing HTML5-only elements in the default theme. (Far too early for that.) I meant just the doctype.

    I think there is no reason to insist on XHTML any more and also no reason not to swith to the HTML5 doctype. And, for what is worth, I find the simplicity of the HTML5 doctype, and the brevity it allows, irresistible:

    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html dir="ltr" lang="en-US">
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <title>Blah blah blah</title>

    I use the above exactly like that (without the Blahs of course! :-D ) and it validates already. The W3 validator throws a warning because it does not recognize the short charset declaration, but see about that: http://oli-studio.com/bugs/validator/html5-charset/

    By the way, the Tarski theme made the switch already — as far as I know, the first prominent WordPress theme to do so.

  13. drivencompassion
    Posted 6 years ago #

    +1 elastic

  14. lokrin2000
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Seems like we are jumping the ship a little bit in determining what to put into a theme when we don't know what the purpose of the theme will be. For instance, if the purpose of the theme is to teach, then load it up with tons of documentation. If the theme is meant to show off WordPress, not so much documentation is needed but it needs to be polished with a good design and show off many of the features built into the software.

    Another reason for having more than one default theme. One theme for learning(full of documentation. One theme for showing off typography. One theme for showing how plugins hook in. And One Theme To Rule Them All ...


  15. trusktr
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Elastic anyone? c'mon! This is the sort of thing newbs need. A way to make themes without actually making a theme. :P

  16. efikim
    Posted 6 years ago #

    -1 for Elastic unless someone can point me to some useful documentation.

  17. mrmist
    Forum Janitor
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I think that to please more people, you actually need two (or possibly more) themes to be bundled.

    The first theme, should be very simple. It should contain the basics information that a newbie needs to get started. It should be heavily commented to make modification easier for novices. It should not try to be clever, or to introduce too many concepts. This would be the actual "default" theme.

    The second theme, would be more complex. It would be used to show people how to do slightly more fancy stuff with their layouts, introduce further advanced concepts, perhaps require or suggest a higher level of coding knowledge, but still be relatively heavy on comments. This is to satisfy those who want a learning point, or a basis for other themes.

  18. Tim Nicholson
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I enjoyed reading everyone's ideas. There are a lot of good suggestions here. Here are my thoughts:

    The default WP theme first and foremost should serve as a great starting point for new themes as Kubrik is today. The css tags and layout/structure should remain similar in the new version. I don't think the default theme should be a complex theme framework. I do think that it should demonstrate what is possible to do with WP, such as displaying horizontal lists of both categories and pages, thumbnail images, and several sidebars.

    The default theme should define the sidebars that most themes will support. Just because there are lots of sidebars does NOT mean they all need to be used. Rather they serve as a way for WP to be used more like a CMS for those that want to. If nothing is added to a sidebar, it wouldn't display. Eg if Left Nav and Right Nav 1 was left blank, you'd have a traditional single right-nav layout.

    * Header (add social networking icons, ad block, etc.)
    * Page Top
    * Main Content Top
    * Left Nav 1 (doesn't show if empty)
    * Left Nav 2
    * Right Nav 1
    * Right Nav 2
    * Main Content Bottom
    * Page Bottom
    * Footer (add nav, popular posts, recent comments, etc.)

    I'd like the theme to be fast and if adding options for fonts, colors, etc. will slow it down too much, then I'd suggest just putting DEFINE's all in a single location in the theme so that people can easily change them there. Note that options for number of columns that people have suggested wouldn't be needed if you use the multiple "sidebars" approach above.

    I'd like to see the default theme include a layout for every layout that exists (home, author, etc.). People have suggested including multiple themes, but I think we just need multiple home and page templates. For example:

    * Home - Magazine Style (thumbnails, large format for sticky or featured posts, smaller format or just small thumbnail and title/date/comment count for articles by category)
    * Home - Blog Style with Excerpts
    * Home - Blog Style with Full Posts
    * Page - Standard Width
    * Page - Full Width
    * Page - Contact Form

    Let's also reflect that the web is *social* in 2010 and by default display comments inline and display a small comment box that grows as you type when you hit reply instead of loading the single post page. This doesn't necessarily need ajax, but at least simple javascript to hide/display the comment box.

    I also think that the default theme should be impressive looking and easy to read. Why NOT have it good enough that people actually use it? I'd model the look and feel after the excellent themes at ElegantThemes or StudioPress. You don't need to (and shouldn't) include all the plugins that they do, but something like the look and feel of those themes would be awesome for showing how good WP can look and how its way more than just a simple blogging system.

    Oh, and some basic SEO features should be built in as well. I'm not saying to have a bunch of options, but simply implement best-practice for things like building the meta description... use category and tag descriptions and/or post excerpts, etc. where appropriate.

  19. Leoj
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Happy holidays everyone!

    I'd love to see something like Carrington or Elastic in 2010.

    The CMS/Blog/Magazine and standard functions issue may be solved with an advanced download selector on the wordpress.org website. I'd imagine that the "download selector" would let you choose what theme, plugins, etc. you want included with your download package. This way you could build your wordpress install to be a a blog, CMS, or anywhere in-between. It could go as far as letting you select versions with or without documentation or compressed code (:

  20. inverter
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Happy New Year!

  21. Edified
    Posted 6 years ago #

    For me the most important thing is a clear flow of code. Keep it simple with as few ids and classes as you can use. The theme should come with several css files to demonstrate styling without changing the DOM.

    The default theme should use the basics, ajax comments at least but the code it generates should be fantastic.

  22. Ian Stewart
    Theme Wrangler
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I've created a working example of the kind of Theme I might like to see for a WordPress Default Theme—just for fun. I've written up my thoughts in a blog post titled An Idea for a New Default Theme for WordPress—Introducing Kirby.

  23. conorp
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I think the default theme should support BuddyPress, since it will eventually be available on single WP installs.

  24. Shelby DeNike
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I personally would love to see the default theme staying simple and using all the default settings that WordPress can use (eg widget sidebar etc). Also keeping all the code quick, clean, simple and commented very well. I know in my begging days with WordPress the Kubrick theme offered lots of help on learning how a theme was designed so that I could work on making my own.
    I dont think the default theme needs to be bloated, but rather streamlined and commented well so once installed it will perform well no matter if the person is on a shared server or a dedicated server for their blog alone. And the comments would assist the people new to WordPress with creating their own theme once they get comfortable enough.
    Really all the bloat is not needed, all the extra features are not either. Chances are the experienced people that are saying to include all this already have a custom theme, with a handful of plugins doing what they need. So why not keep it simple and clean?

  25. Lou Sparx
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I'm all for moving forward but can you imagine if we ended up like Joomla were you have to have a degree in php and computer physics just to use the default theme?

  26. Jen
    Community Organizer
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Thanks to everyone who weighed in. Matt Thomas and Matt Mullenweg are now working on the new default theme, which I think will be awesome!

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