On the 12 May 2013, I sent the most important email of my—agreeably still very young—professional career: my job application for the position of Theme Wrangler at Automattic.
The repository containing the source code of the WordPress Core recently switched to using Subversion 1.7. As a consequence when you try to update your local repository, you get the following error message:
svn: The path '.' appears to be part of a Subversion 1.7 or greater working copy. Please upgrade your Subversion client to use this
Unfortunately MacOS X Lion ships with Subversion 1.6, so you need to upgrade Subversion yourself. Luckily Jason McCreary has a great tutorial on his website giving you step by step instructions on how to update SVN on Mac OS X.
My first open source theme, Aldus, is now available on WordPress.org.
Yesterday Envato, the company behind the ThemeForest marketplace, announced their new WordPress Theme Submission Requirements.
In my opinion, this is an important move in the right direction and I applaud Envato for taking this step that is already causing some turmoil among ThemeForest authors.
I’m curious to see how these new guidelines will affect the marketplace and the quality of its themes, especially because some of the bestsellers are actually the biggest offenders when it comes WordPress theme coding standards.
As of lately, I’ve been dealing with repetitive strain injuries in my hands and wrists due to coding a lot.
One of the preventive measures I’ve taken against these injuries is to remove the left Command and the Escape keys on my keyboard.
Instead I now use Caps Lock as the Escape key. If you use VIM, you should do the same. Your wrists and hands will thank you.
Apparently theme authors are now bundling commercial plugins with their themes and Coen Jacobs from WooThemes has called out this bad practice.
In the comments of Coen’s post, one of the developers of such a theme defends this practice:
We were offering plugin as “additional value” to the theme but you can’t doubt of the quality of our themes, and tell people that the plugins are the only valid selling points.
According to the developer, the theme sold really well before the plugin code was added. This addition was–of course–only to make users’ lives easier. Too bad the theme shop in question doesn’t provide any license keys, which means that their customers can’t get any support from the plugin’s authors.
Bundling the code was of course done “in good faith”, because the theme shop apparently “believe[s] in providing the best value for our users”. This is complete crap, since one of the plugins that was bundled requires a license key for any updates, so that the theme buyers would have been stuck with outdated code.
Envato reacted and suspended the items from the store temporarily, waiting for the plugin code to be removed from the themes. But how can such a “shopping theme” be accepted by Envato in the first place?
When I started out with Theme development, I remember looking through the functions.php file of Twenty Eleven, wondering why some functions were wrapped in a conditional statement with
Why check if the function already exists? Why do this for certain functions and not for others?
$100,000 per month, two months in a row. That is the pile of money that a partnership of Theme authors has been making by selling one Theme on Themeforest.
I pretty much agree with Brian Krogsgard’s statement that “[the Theme] represents everything I hate about the theme landscape today” and I appreciate his thoughts on the Theme market in general.
So we have two WordPress developers in agreement that the Theme is doing it wrong. However its authors have pocketed a million bucks since August, so why is this Theme so popular?
Despite the efforts of the WordPress community, numerous books and countless articles, there are still a lot of crappy Themes out there.
While there are a handful of reputable commercial shops as well as the WordPress.org Themes Directory that feature high quality Themes, there are so many more great things to discover.
There are a lot of very small shops and independent Theme developers out there, and we shouldn’t punish them because of few bad apples. Yes, even ThemeForest has very good Themes available.
But if you can’t rely on the reputation of the vendor, how can you know if a Theme is safe to install on your website? Here are a few easy checks that help to determine the quality of a Theme.
If you don’t follow Make/Core, you might have missed Jen Mylo’s recent update Post Formats, Schedules, and Philosophy.
In her post Jen criticizes the current implementation of the user interface as too confusing and in need of improvement. After this she goes on talking about the planned release schedule and WordPress.org’s philosophy concerning deadlines.
She closes by asking the question if it might not be better to punt the whole Post Formats feature to the next release and focus on the remaining new features.
Of course, this has resulted in quite a lot of interesting discussion via the comments, including contributions by a lot of WordPress Core developers.
But WordPress is more than just the Core Team, so I encourage everybody to participate in the discussion!