Tag Archives: Themes

One of the Better New WordPress Theme Roundups

InstantShift has published a roundup of 60 new free WordPress themes. It’s one of the better roundup posts I’ve seen lately. The themes are split into categories, making it easy to find the type of design you’re looking for. Clean, “Artistic and Fancey,” magazine-style, portfolio, news portal, e-commerce, and domain parking are a few of the theme types covered.

The templates selected are high-quality, and each item has visible links to preview and download the theme, as well as visit the original source.

Mostly people talk about premium themes these days, but I think the commercial theme market has helped improve the quality of the freebie options.

60+ Latest High-Quality Free WordPress Themes [InstantShift]

The GPL Doesn’t Apply to Premium Themes or Plugins

Mike Wasylik of Perpetual Beta has an interesting argument in the legendary GPL debate surrounding premium WordPress themes and plugins. He thinks that themes and plugins shouldn’t be required to be licensed under the GPL for the simple reason that they’re not derivative. U.S. copyright law defines a derivative work as one that physically includes a portion of the copyrighted work, which plugins and themes do not.

…even a theme or plugin that entirely dependens on WordPress to run at all, or simply improves WordPress in some way, would not be a derivative work and the GPL would not apply. For the vast majority of themes I’ve seen, the GPL would not apply because the theme is not, in my opinion, a derivative work. (In fact, if any one thing “incorporates” another, it’s most likely WordPress incorporating the theme, by use of the PHP include() call, rather than the other way around.)

According to the article, the copy of the GPL included in every download of WordPress even states that a derivative work is “a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications.” I’ve been making a similar argument for awhile now. I have yet to see a theme or plugin that actually incorporates WordPress into the plugin code itself, rather than being included by WordPress. It sounds to me like WordPress, if anyone, is the one doing the deriving…

Most WordPress themes and plugins are unique code for the most part, with a few hooks or function calls. I must have missed the memo that utilizing a third-party API makes your application a subset of the other software. (That would mean any desktop application would be a derivative of the operating system.)

A follow-up article from the same author makes the additional case that, whether the GPL applies or not, the Fair Use Doctrine can protect developers from the licensing terms of the original creator. The same laws that ensure you can quote part of an article without having to pay whatever licensing fee the publisher can cook up apply to software. As little, if any, WordPress code is used in a theme, it would likely be considered fair use.

I like some of the ideology behind the GPL, and quite a few software packages licensed under it. However, it seems that in this case one party is misusing (or misinterpreting) it to prevent small developers from earning a living while further enriching the WordPress community. For what reason, good intentioned or no, I cannot guess.

WooThemes Introduces “Canvas,” a Thesis Competitor?

WooThemes has released a new theme called Canvas, a theme that looks like it might be a competitor to the ever-popular Thesis.

Canvas is a “blank slate” theme, with minimal styling, that you customize by either creating a child theme and using hooks, or by  editing colors, background images, etc. through an admin menu. So it’s kind of a blend of Thesis and frameworks like Thematic, Hybrid, and Carrington.

I think it has a good chance at competing with Thesis. The default design is better, and the pricing scheme is much more attractive. $70 and you can use the them on as many sites as you want, and it’s even GPL. Thesis, on the other hand, costs $87 for a single-site license that requires a credit link in the footer. Oh, and when you buy Canvas you get two more free WooThemes with the purchase…

Poll: What Do You Look For in a Premium Theme?

There is no shortage of “premium” WordPress themes nowadays, and their creators are fairly large in number as well. You have the monumental WooThemes, the bargain ThemeForest, and DIYthemes, the people behind the ever-popular Thesis theme, to name just a few.

Companies aside, what criteria do you usually use when looking for a commercial theme? Is price the most important factor? Is support critical? Do you want the PSD files, so you can use the theme as a starting point for your own design?

Take a minute to answer the poll. You can choose as many responses as necessary.

What do you look for in a "premium" theme?

  • The design! (90%, 9 Votes)
  • A backend that allows the theme to be modified with little effort (80%, 8 Votes)
  • A good starting point for a unique design (60%, 6 Votes)
  • Low price (50%, 5 Votes)
  • Good support (50%, 5 Votes)
  • Obscurity, so few others are using the same theme as me (50%, 5 Votes)
  • Original PSD files (50%, 5 Votes)
  • Other (please describe) (10%, 1 Votes)
  • A thriving community of customers (0%, 0 Votes)
  • A "theme club" (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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Using the WordPress Uploader in Your Plugin or Theme

WordPress has a nice media uploader dialog that it uses on the editor pages. Now wouldn’t it be nice if you could use it to handle image uploads for part of a plugin or theme you’re writing? Maybe you want to add an easy way to change the logo in a theme? A simple “Upload Image” button would work quite well for that, wouldn’t it?

It’s fairly simple to implement, providing you already have a bit of experience with the WordPress API.

The first step is to prepare your HTML. Put it wherever the code for your admin page is. You want to have a text input for the image URL, and a button that will launch the uploader dialog.

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WooThemes Increases “Permanent 2-for-1″ Offer

WooThemes has taken their famous “Permanent 2-for-1″ offer and made it even better. A standard theme purchase now includes two extra themes instead of just one (making it a 3-for-1 deal). Developer packages, which include the PSD source files, include three extra themes.

That means you can now grab 3 Standard Package themes for only $70 and a whopping 4 Developer Package themes for $150.

I think that’s a pretty good deal for WordPress themes of the quality WooThemes usually releases.

WordPress Theme of the Month: LiveTwit

This month’s featured WordPress theme is LiveTwit by Templatic.

LiveTwit is a WordPress theme that isn’t for blogging. It’s primary focus is to make it dead-simple to create a “Twitterwall” like Helveti-Tweet or wpTweety. It pulls a live feed of data from the Twitter Search API, for whatever search term you specify, and dumps the Tweets onto the page.

The theme includes several color schemes, and it’s easy to swap out the logo through the backend.

So if you need a quick and easy way to set up a Twitterwall, this theme’s a good choice. It might make a good “coming soon” page for a heavily-anticipated website or product…

WordPress Theme of the Month: Glassical

This month’s featured WordPress theme is Glassical, once again brought to you by Smashing Magazine.

Glassical WordPress Theme

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WordPress Theme of the Month: Visiting Card

Famous designer TimVanDamme designed his mini site and everyone praised it a lot for unique, beautiful concept. Usually it happens when you are really active on social media sites, you blog less. And his design was perfect solution for those who have a domain name but don’t need/want much content on the website.

The concept has caught on of late, and I quite like the idea. If you’re looking to create something similar yourself, but you want a plug-and-play solution, check out the free Visiting Card theme by PremiumThemes.net.


The theme puts your social media links (and links to your websites if you’re so inclined) front-and-center, while having dynamic tabs along the top for content such as an About page for contact details.

Commercial WordPress Theme Directory? What About Plugins?

Joost de Valk thinks WordPress.org should have a section for commercial GPL-compliant plugins, like the new one for the themes. I couldn’t agree more.

Of course, we plugin authors get to host our own plugins on wordpress.org, and we can get links back to our site etc. But where’s the page for commercially supported GPL WordPress PLUGINS Matt? Don’t you think it’s time you started treating the plugin authors the same way as the theme authors? Or do we have to start a theme war for that first?

On the GPL, Themes, Plugins & Free [Yoast]

Theme developers seem to get more attention than plugin developers, and have for a long time. It’s sad. There are a lot of amazing plugins out there (including mine, of course…), but their developers are by and large not as well-off financially as the theme developers. You have giants like WooThemes selling $80 themes, that are now GPL compliant, but the plugin developers are pretty much just collecting a few donations here and there.

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