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[Theme: Twenty Twelve] Excellent base for child themes

  • I have to commend the theme developers for creating a default theme that is ideal for building advanced child themes. Twenty Ten was a great start, but Twenty Eleven was far too complex and convoluted to be a good basis for advanced child themes. The more austere and simplified Twenty Twelve is a great baseline. I would go as far as suggesting people using it as the basis for new themes as well.


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 39 total)
  • Fred Larson


    Will we be seeing an updated version of the course Building Child Themes based on the twenty twelve theme anytime soon?

    I was also looking forward to using this theme as a parent theme. But although Twenty Twelve is a very nice baseline design, the navigation menu has serious issues with IE 8 and below. It displays the “mobile” menu at all sizes, which is currently just a button that says “menu,” revealing a full page list.

    Forcing the mobile menu on desktop browsers was a design decision, so even though it is now flagged as a bug, it might not be fixed in the theme itself anytime soon. Which means that for now, any child themes will need to be patched and carefully tested to ensure that 20% of worldwide web users will be able to access the main navigation menu.

    At the moment I’d have to urge caution using Twenty Twelve theme on any public site, especially one that has more than a handful of pages. After running a test on a live website, I quickly found out how many IE8 users are still out there, and how vocal they can be when their main navigation menu disappears.

    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)


    WordPress.org Tech Dude

    @zota: Even Google is dropping IE8 support in November. It’s time to upgrade. I understand wanting to cater to your users, however there are limits too.

    Emil Uzelac


    IE7 is already phased out by many, IE8 is on the end of the line too, adding a note to “your” users about the upgrade to modern browser is definitely way to go.

    See for example, IE6 was one of the worse browsers out there and this is not a secret, even Microsoft says that, however IE8 is not that far from IE6 either (quality-wise).

    I do this for a long time and never seen so many issue with newer browser like IE8, comparing with let’s say IE7.

    It’s definitely time to upgrade and no need to “urge” anyone for something that people really don’t use.

    Global usage of IE8 is about 13%. not 20% and even your link from StatCounter says lower and that’s 18%, however that’s only according to their statistics, not to mention that all numbers are estimates only and that’s Sep of 2011 to Sep of 2012, not really current!

    Remember entire IE share is barely 20% 😉

    P.S. Any developer who’s concern about their clients will overcome the browser compatibility “issues” on their own.




    @emil Uzelac:

    adding a note to “your” users about the upgrade to modern browser is definitely way to go.

    A note to update from IE8 to IE9 is pointless on XP.

    P.S. Any developer who’s concern about their clients will overcome the browser compatibility “issues” on their own.

    Would recommend a look at how the current Twenty Twelve 1.0 is written (“mobile-first layout”), you can’t just add a few css-lines in your childtheme to fix compatibility “issues”. Otherwise an update for 1.0 would have already been published in no time…

    Many big companies are “lightyears” away from migration to Windows 7 and run mostly XP on their desktops, maybe even with IE7. My various real-world stats have over 50% IE7/IE8. This is not a problem with Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven (and the child themes which are based on them). But all these users are basically kicked out with current Twenty Twelve if it would ship like this as default with next WordPress.




    At the moment I’d have to urge caution using Twenty Twelve theme on any public site, especially one that has more than a handful of pages.

    Very true. Besides the IE issues, also in newest devices the mobile “Menu” button leads to a very many “screens high” list of menu-items (with all sub-menu-items included right there) on a site with more pages.

    @otto and @emil I have to disagree with you. Though IE8 is an old and outdated browser, ignoring it and asking its users to upgrade is simply not a valid option. If you look at the statistics of who uses IE8 you’ll see that though the numbers are low in North America and Western Europe, they are quite high in the rest of the world. This is not because people are reluctant to upgrade but rather because of financial or institutional restraints. As someone else mentioned, IE9 and above requires an upgrade from Windows XP, an upgrade many people and many companies cannot afford.

    If WordPress is to be a world wide solution, it has to provide solutions for a world wide audience.

    I am not saying any theme should be dumbed down to work with all browsers. However the menu in Twenty Twelve ignores the principle of graceful degradation leaving those users who for whatever reason are stuck in the past with a more or less unusable solution.

    Building in a simple fallback for IE8 users is not complicated or obstructive and will cause no issues for other users. Leaving it out is more a slap in the face than a nudge to get up to date with the latest technology.

    Shapeshifter 3



    I don’t necessarily agree with your position, but your argument is well thought-out and written. It seems to me that the principal of graceful degradation can end up continuing forever, if not curtailed at some point.

    I was wondering if one solution might be a marketing strategy by WordPress(.org) offering recommended default theme options for new or current users with a short explanation of why they should choose one theme over the other. This could be in the Welcome Screen.

    I was also wondering how many complaints WordPress(.com) has had on Twenty Twelve, and how they have handled it.

    This debate boils down to two simple questions: What is our job as developers, and what is the purpose of the sites we build.

    Our job as web developers is to create websites that are accessible to the target audience and convey the message to those audiences in an easily digestible way. That means we have to make solutions that work for the end user. The purpose of the sites we build is to convey information.

    We have no (nor should we have) control over what tools, devices, or browsers people use to access our websites. Our job is to make sure that the information gets where it’s supposed to go. Because WordPress is a CMS used to build websites for more than just Mac users in North America and Europe, we have to make solutions that work for the end users. That means graceful degradation within reason. IE8 is well within reason.

    For reference, the main reason Twenty Twelve’s menu gets all messed up in IE8 is because the default menu is the mobile one while the ‘regular’ menu is in the media queries. A simple swap of the style code fixes this issue. The way it’s laid out now assumes only HTML5 – ready devices will access the site. This is an unnecessary restriction and as far as I’m concerned it’s non-standard. The best practice is to make the ‘regular’ menu the standard style set and place the mobile small-screen menu in the media queries.

    @shapeshifter With IE8 we’re not talking about graceful degradation going on forever. As the world upgrades to Windows 7 and 8 this problem will disappear, and disappear fast. However, we have to address the current situation, and the current situation demands IE8 support. Google is dropping support for IE8, but they are not making their experience unusable for IE8 users. They just won’t get the latest features. This on the other hand is tantamount to punishing people for not buying new gear.

    @otto and @emil, please don’t call them “my” users. I build sites for paying clients. The users you are talking about are my clients’ customers. On the commercial sites I maintain, my latest stats show IE8 users outnumbering IE9.

    And the thing about graceful degradation is that it’s supposed to continue forever, both into the past and the future. That’s the whole point of a fault-tolerant system. The idea is that you do not have to support ancient tools—or figure out what we might be using in 10 years—if you design in a way is usable when it fails.

    If a user on an old browser can’t see certain features or the alignment is weird, but they can still use that site, that is perfectly fine. If the user can’t access the main navigation menu, and instead gets a pulldown page list that extends far off screen, that is not usable.

    On a personal level, I would like to revoke the internet privileges of everyone who insists on using IE. But that is not what we’re talking about here. And as far as WordPress support, this isn’t a debate. As I understand it, WordPress still officially supports IE7 let alone IE8. If WordPress were dropping IE8 support in 3.5 it would be a really big deal… But it isn’t dropping IE8, this menu issue is a bug, and a patch is in the works.

    as a minor user of wordpress, I appreciate evry one’s concerns about advancing the cause with the new default theme BUT as far as I am concerned, the default theme needs to work in IE8, which it does not at present. half the users on the site I maintain are IE8 users, like it or not and you need to build sites for your users, not for advanced developers of wordpress and Html and CSS.

    so until twentytwelve is fixed and works in IE8, I will ignore it, I will check out how it works but as far as I am concerned, it is not usable. nice effort and result but totally unusable.




    mor10, when you say Twenty Twelve “is ideal for building advanced child themes… but Twenty Eleven was far too complex and convoluted” to make advanced child themes, do you mean it just offers a better basic set of building blocks to customize? As a newb, the only child themes I’ve experimented with so far have been Twenty Eleven. Wouldn’t it still be easier to just override some of that Twenty Eleven complexity where necessary (as opposed to coding from scratch all the stuff a simpler theme is missing); or by “convoluted” do you mean that it’s more time and code-intensive to customize precisely because of that?

    What kinds of templates, features, options, etc have you found so far in Twenty Twelve that make it more appealing to you for child themes than Twenty Ten or Twenty Eleven?

    Emil Uzelac


    @zota well in that case my point was right on target.

    If I as developer want to base Twenty Twelve or any other Theme for my clients, IE8 or any other browser support issue would not be any problem would it?

    Please don’t get me wrong, I used many Themes from WPORG in the past and yes some of them didn’t support the required browsers and in some cases completely broken, however if somebody hires me, all browser issues are my responsibility.

    I was wrong to say “users” it should said “clients”.

    P.S. IE8 issues are going to be fixed, according to the ticket you provided 🙂


    @jeffnar I find Twenty Eleven to be stuffed full of bells and whistles that you have to work around or exclude to get something nice and clean. Most of the features in Twenty Eleven – like the Showcase Page Template with its slider – are features I rarely if ever have seen used, and a lot of the code is unnecessarily convoluted and complex.

    As a stand-alone theme Twenty Eleven is great. And if you’re just making minor configuration or styling changes, its great as well. But if you want to make larger changes with more advanced inclusions it quickly gets heavy handed and clunky.

    Twenty Twelve is a stripped down basic theme that has all the necessary features without any extra bling. That means it’s a great clean slate to start from if you want to experiment and build something more elaborate. It’s also coded in a much cleaner and more understandable way than Twenty Eleven making it an ideal learning tool for those just starting out.



    @mor10 Thanks much for that explanation. I think I’ll let the community ‘kick the tires’ of Twenty Twelve for a month or two and then start using it with child themes when WP3.5 comes out. Sounds like a good one for newbs or those needing a simpler cleaner starting point.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 39 total)
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