I just came up with a great idea. It seems that alot of WordPress users are very good CSS designers. Wouldnt it be great if something like css Zen Garden existed on the wp site? It would allow us to showcase our wp CSS templates, for all to see and for all to use.
What do you guys think?
I like the idea and would love to participate. Maybe you can bend an arm in #wordpress next time you are hanging out on IRC.
That would be totally awesome. I’d love to see some great CSS templates done by folks (simply because a lot of the ones I’ve seen thus far have been really messy).
Sure NM. Ill pop into IRC soon.
Here are my ideas… basically, a WordPress blog would be setup, this blog will be updated with information on the latest added templates (so there is actually some content in the blog). A simple php cookie script will enable guests to easily switch between templates, just as in css Zen Garden. The index.php page will need to be changed to include an extra div element, this will contain template links and links to their download locations, so that other wp users can use the templates.
Like css Zen Garden, this project will aim to show what can be acheived using css, but more importantly, what can be acheived using WordPress.
I’m in no way a ‘very good CSS designer’, but I’d like to give this a try. I’d be willing to offer what help I can to get this going.
We would need some guidelines for designers. All stylesheets to be valid CSS, obviously. But we would also have to consider issues such as browser compatibility, viewability in both major screen resolutions, and whether or not designs should include images. I would prefer for people to be able to download the stylesheets locally rather than be sent off to other sites for them, though of course we would still want to link the contributors.
Even if the developers aren’t prepared to incorporate this into the main site it could make for a good independent project.
notthatugly, I agree with you. I think that the design SHOULD allow images for sure. This would be a really great thing to get going, anymore ideas, suggestions?
To me, the basic premise should be that the site should exist for a few reasons:
1. To promote WordPress
2. To give people a chance to showcase their talents
3. To give others the opportunity to learn from other
4. To push the limits of style and design
It would be cool to have some categories – say something like “Right Outta the Box” where you fool with the only the code and tags that exist in the default INDEX.PHP. Bend it, shake it, fold it, whatever, but you can’t add anything. The wp-layout.css file would be your playground. This would be a great way to generate a bunch of basic WP templates, and give newer people access to CSS that is more relevant to their skills.
You could have a “Stock Car” category where the basic chassis and engine is WP, but you rip out the guts and put chrome onto everything, add some slick tires, and slap some funky paint on the exterior to have a one-of-a-kind race car. However, the basic idea is that it should still resemble WordPress by, say, using only “official hacks” (if they ever exist) or even a set of pre-selected hacks of which any or all could be used.
Then, you could have an “Unlimited” category where anything goes. The engine must be WP, but that’s about it. Turn it into a racing car, a fighter jet, or a rowboat. No holds barred.
I think a broad range like this is appealing to a wider audience, gives new CSSers something to shoot for, and can be a gallery for those with real design talent.
On reflection, I have to agree with NTU. The focus should be on WordPress…if one wants to do something bigger, then CSS Zen Garden is there for that.
Good point, NTU. I’m retracting some of what I said and limiting it to the focussed, “out of the box” scheme.
Sounds like fun!
I’m going to disagree with NTU and NM on this one (although agree with NM’s earlier post) – while the “out of the box” idea is great as a tool to show what can be done just by changing the CSS, in the end, it’s just a blog-specific knockoff of the CSS Zen Garden, and while it’s cool to say “I did this with one file,” to me it just feels constraining. At a minimum, I think we need the “stock car” category. My site http://www.ben-johnson.org/blog falls neatly into that category. Three-column layout (which at the minimum required defining one more menu DIV), broken out the links into categories (using all the usual tags, but it different ways), my google-ized refererLib, graphic as the header of the page, etc…and I’m still XHTML 1.0 Transitional.
Next up, I’m planning to do this cool rounded-box thing I saw over on A List Apart. I think it can mosly be done with minimal modifications, but again, I can’t make it work in a three-column setup with the stock index.php.
Just my $0.02…I find the stock two-column layout (and the structure of the pre-selected content in the menu DIV) to be a bit too “plain vanilla” for my taste. We need to show what can be done not only with the presentation of the default material, but what you can do to re-vamp things with a little work. Even with all the stuff I’ve thrown in, the 0.72 to 1.0 upgrade was accomplished in about 20 minutes for me with some quick copy-paste work.
I can see one big benefit of using the default template for something like this: it brings us one step closer to including multiple skins with the WordPress distribution (assuming some of these people would be willing to allow their skins to be distributed w/ attribution). I’m quite sure that is something people would like.
I’m not disputing the value of using the default template. I just think we should include designs which touch index.php as well. Showing an example of a plug-in/hack is nice, but showing how a collection of them can come together in a different (not to say better or worse) type of layout not possible with the content blocks available in the stock index is IMO a great demonstration of what WP can do.
Could that not be achieved just as well through links to innovatively-designed blogs and sites offering templates for download? I agree that index.php is quite limited (this has been extensively discussed on other threads) and I’d never use it for my own blog, but if you allow modifications to the html that massively increases the scale of the project and moves the focus onto design rather than the tool itself.
Hrmm… I disagree with you NTU: the basic index.php doesn’t really put much focus on the tool at all, it shows some BASIC stuff that you can do with it but it really doesn’t showcase a lot of the features and functionality of WP. I’d be willing to help out with this if people want to get it off the ground… and if anyone is considering it – don’t forget that 1and1.com has their free webhosting deal available for another week (if you haven’t already taken advantage of it for your own site).
I continue to think that WP is better ‘showcased’ through people’s own blogs than anywhere else. It’s our own sites that we’re constantly pushing to the limits, trying to make them the best they (and WordPress) can be. I find it hard to imagine putting the same amount of time and effort into a template as I do into my personal sites; though other people obviously feel differently.
Really, all that needs to be explained to people about ‘what WordPress can do’ should be in the feature list. If they can’t get it from that and seeing blogs in action, it’s a failure of imagination on their part.
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