Aug 7, 2013 by Matt | Posted in Blogging
I’ve recently started using Jekyll for one of my blogs recently, and while it’s a solid blog engine, there’s one thing its small community lacks. Themes. While I like to roll my own themes, some people want a drop-in option so they can start blogging without diving into design. Well, I set out to help rectify that issue.
First, I released my own (GPL licensed) theme to augment the small number of available themes. The theme, which goes by the name of “Solar” for its use of the Solarized color palette, can be downloaded and demoed on GitHub.
That was a start, but what few publicly available themes exist are still spread thinly across GitHub and who-knows-where. Jekyll lacks a central repository like WordPress has had for years. So my next project was to attempt to bring as many of them as possible into one easily browsable place. I picked up the
JekyllThemes.org domain, made a simple responsive showcase design for it and published the site. As of this writing, there are eight themes featured in the gallery, with links to their home pages and demo links if available.
Jekyll Themes is on GitHub, so if you have a theme to add, you can fork the site and add it yourself.
Jun 19, 2013 by Matt | Posted in Design, Featured
I’ve been having fun playing around with Jekyll and Ruby lately, which has lead to a sudden increase in the number of repositories on my GitHub profile. After converting my personal blog and porting its theme over, I thought it would be fun to build a fresh theme and release it to the public.
Without further ado, I would like to introduce Solar, a theme I based upon the Solarized color palette. It includes stylesheets for both Solarized Dark and Solarized Light, since the colors are defined separately from the page structure. It’s responsive, all the way down to mobile size, and it’s built with link-blogging in mind.
You can view a demo of Solar here, and download it on GitHub. It’s licensed under the GPL, so feel free to fork it and go crazy.
Feb 6, 2013 by Matt | Posted in Featured, WordPress
Back in 2010, I wrote a post on Using the WordPress Uploader in Your Plugin or Theme that went on to be one of my most popular tutorials of all time. Then the WordPress team went and added a much cooler media uploader in version 3.5 and make that post outdated. Since most of you probably want to add the new uploader in a theme or plugin you’re working on right now, I figured it was time for an updated post.
The process required to add the new uploader is a bit different, but not too much more difficult. I was able to adapt the old tutorial a little, so it shouldn’t be too hard to replace some code in an existing project and get the new uploader instead of the old.
Continue reading →
Jan 30, 2013 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
Frank is built atop the responsive Foundation grid framework, and features a layout customization tool that lets you adjust how the homepage is displayed.
Frank: A Free WordPress Theme Designed For Speed [Smashing Magazine]
Oct 3, 2012 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
WooThemes launched a new redesign of their site this month, bringing some interesting changes along with the more modern style. The navigation has been restructured to highlight their non-theme offerings, making it clear that WooThemes is very serious about their plugin offerings (especially WooCommerce). Their “notorious” user management system has also been replaced with their own free WooCommerce plugin.
I like the new look, with its flat colors and additional negative space. It seems more current, as excessive gradients seem to be falling out of style in web design lately—just as browser support for them is starting to catch up. It’s definitely easier to find what you’re looking for on the new site, so the new navigational structure is a success.
The design looks great, but I find the switch to WooCommerce to be the most interesting. Not only is WooThemes “eating their own dog food,” but the fact that the largest and most known supplier of commercial WordPress themes is using it is good to know for anyone looking into e-commerce solutions.
We’ve re-designed. Everything. [WooThemes]
May 16, 2012 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
Looking for a stylish microblogging theme for WordPress, so you can mix in some Tumblr-style posts with your longer writings? Themezilla’s “Launch” theme is a fresh choice. It supports the post formats API, and even includes the PSD source files if you want to customize it beyond what the theme options allow.
I might have used Launch for my personal blog if it had been released before I made my new custom theme.
Feb 6, 2012 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
Back in WordPress 3.1, a new feature called Post Formats was added to enable theme developers to more easily denote different types of posts in order to make “tumblog” themes. But the feature is lacking as it stands today. The UI is simply not as nice as services like Tumblr, and there isn’t really a set of prescribed standards for how to use Post Formats. So some themes store link URLs in Custom Fields, while others grab the first URL out of the post body. That sort of inconsistency makes portability between themes a nightmare.
Alex King and his company Crowd Favorite have a proposed solution. Their plugin adds a really nice UI to the New Post screen, with tabs that appear depending on which Post Formats your theme enables and different input fields that change depending on which tab is selected.
In addition to the way cool plugin, they have a sensible naming convention for custom fields to go along with it. I think it would great if the Core team adopted that as a recommendation for theme developers, and incorporated the UI plugin into WordPress proper.
Alex King did say, back in November, that he planned to suggest it to the Core developers once WordPress 3.3 shipped, so keep your fingers crossed.
WordPress Post Formats Admin UI [Alex King]
Aug 25, 2010 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
Some of Smashing Magazine’s most popular posts have been their roundups of free WordPress themes. It has been about a year since the last one, and most of the themes featured are looking kind of dated. I was surprised to see a new roundup appear in my feed reader recently, full of modern themes that are more up to today’s standards.
It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since our last WordPress theme collection, but there you have it — the time has come again. Once a year we feature the most useful and interesting WordPress-themes that we are collecting over months and present them in a nice quick overview. The collections from 2007, 2008 and last year are still useful, but some of the themes are outdated or updated now.
100 Free High Quality WordPress Themes: 2010 Edition [Smashing Magazine]
May 6, 2010 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
On May 10th, Michael Martin, the blogger and designer behind Pro Blog Design, will launch his latest business venture: PliablePress.
PliablePress is going to be a purveyor of quality WordPress themes, particularly ones that “aren’t simple little themes that you can turn out in a weekend.”
The themes will all be based upon the custom “Chameleon” framework. It offers some functionality along the lines of Thesis or the WooFramework, letting the end user make customizations without digging into the template files.
Even though all of our other themes use Chameleon as a groundwork, you can use it on its own as well.
On its own, Chameleon is an ultra-clean, professional looking site. You might find that it’s already everything you want in a web design
I’m looking forward to seeing what the PliablePress themes, and the framework itself, will be like. It should be interesting.
Mar 19, 2010 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
Styling comments isn’t exactly the most fun part of building a new WordPress theme for your blog. That’s the reason for CommentBits. For $7 you can get a pre-made comment template, complete with PSD files. Or you can get a lifetime membership, with access to all of the templates, for a one-time fee of $50.
It’s not for everyone, but it’s a nice niche business. They only need to roll-out a new template once in awhile, which is considerably easier than a whole WordPress theme, and process sales. The price point is low enough to be an impulse buy, too.
I wonder if we might start seeing more sellers of small theme components in the future?