Guidelines Shouldn’t Fail a Theme

Chip’s great post on Points of Emphasis and a recent discussion about a specific Theme Unit Test guideline (failing themes with long titles that overflow) point to a need to change our attitudes to the theme review guidelines.

If you step away from that specific Trac ticket and look at the bigger picture you’ll see a change is needed to make all WP theme reviews less dogmatic and more pragmatic; not only directory but also for, ThemeForest, MOJO, any other marketplace that accepts some submissions and rejects others.

The items in the Theme Unit Test are guidelines not hard and fast rules. Highly recommended and encouraged and we should feature and love and promote the themes that nail them all. Shout from the mountaintops if a themer manages to achieve the full list! Themes that don’t nail them all can sink to the bottom of the list organically because people might end up not liking them as much.

Guidelines shouldn’t cause a theme to fail or be prevented from being in the directory. That should be limited to blockers like licensing, security, and spam/malware. What Chip said.

By letting theme designers choose to implement guidelines in full—or not—you give the power to end users to vote for the best ones by activating them. Instead of keeping out hundreds or thousands of potentially amazing themes that fail the too-strict rules we have now. The themes—and the people behind them—that we lose out on might never come back; and there’s evidence this has happened many times already.

Changing a strict philosophy of enforcing guidelines as rules to encouraging more experimentation and variety will go a long way to remove negative friction from reviews and make the themes in the collection better in the long run.

In summary: let’s enforce the “Points of Emphasis” (security, license, no spam) and leave the rest as recommended guidelines. We absolutely love if you follow them all, but none are blockers to your theme being included in the directory.

#community, #guidelines, #reviews

Twenty Thirteen Draft Now in Core

Hi theme reviewers,

Twenty Thirteen is ready for feedback and testing in core:

Our goal is to have it ready along with the rest of 3.6 for an April launch. Would love your eyes on it for testing, performance, tying in with core features, all that good stuff.

Also noting several theme-related core tickets, if anyone wants to jump in with comments, patches, and testing:

  • HTML5 for wp_list_comments() and various other comment markup: #20088, #15080, and #15081
  • Standard theme hooks: #21506

We’ll have open office hours Tue/Thu throughout the cycle (see sidebar for times), so hope to talk with you soon.

#core, #default-theme, #twentythirteen

Chip brought up a good point on the…

Chip brought up a good point on the named XML file — it always looks out of date because of the naming.

I renamed it to theme-unit-test-data.xml to avoid that confusion.

It gets updated fairly frequently, probably once a month to fix 404s and add new test data, so when that happens I’ll update the text on the Codex page to the current date and time to reflect that.

It’s fresh today from the latest export of — including a quick cleanup to remove unneeded wp:postmeta nodes for values of (_edit_last|superawesome|geo_public|jabber_published|email_notification)

#data, #theme-unit-test, #xml

Why Default Themes Change Each Year

Since Twenty Twelve is coming very soon to the Extend directory, I wanted to share a bit of background on default themes and why they change from year to year.

In 2005 Kubrick launched as the new default theme, then didn’t change for five years. It became a punchline for the project. With Twenty Ten a new pattern started, with every single year having a new theme, naming it by the year. Twenty ___. This gives the theme an expiration date and it doesn’t have the pressure to be the end-all theme for the ages, because it’ll be replaced in the next year rather than in five years.

In the time between Kubrick and Twenty Ten the default theme efforts didn’t work too well as there were too many conflicting things. The efforts tried to please everyone: show off everything that’s possible in core, fully educational in every aspect, super nice-looking, and try to solve all the problems a theme can solve.

Big shoes to fill, as it turns out. Even if one theme can’t do it all, though, the default theme can still strive to be as simple as possible while still sticking to important principles. For example, default themes are coded to be fully internationalized and ready for translation. Even though this effort makes the code more complicated, it’s an important principle in an increasingly globalized world where many people don’t interact with WordPress in English.

The default theme should show off the latest and greatest features, be flexible enough to gracefully support child themes and encourage customization, work well for a blog or a website, and sport a design that is aesthetically pleasing and a bit different from the last design. Under the hood it should represent the best in coding practices and technical excellence. That said, the default theme isn’t trying to be an end-all-be-all theme. It won’t please everyone.

To get an idea of how Twenty Twelve is intended to differ from its predecessors, here’s the the core team’s post on which key features they want to see implemented: Core Team Meetup Recap: Default Theme “Twenty Twelve”. Note things like the header image off by default, promoting a static front page, and no featured image in the header. A new look by a different theme designer.

I think a lot of people are going to really like Twenty Twelve. And Twenty Thirteen. And Fourteen. And … you get the idea.

#default-theme, #history, #kubrick, #twentytwelve

Hi everyone Are you ready for a new…

Hi everyone. Are you ready for a new default theme? I am. And, now it’s almost ready.

I submitted a .9 release of Twenty Twelve today—see Theme Check had a few warnings, I noted the reasoning for those in the Trac ticket notes.

If you have some time this weekend could you go through it? We’ve been cranking on it in core a ton and now it’s time for spit and polish, tightening up documentation, and making sure we covered all the bases.

Note for themes Trac moderators: This theme should not be pushed live after it’s approved, per instructions from the core development team.

#review-queue, #twentytwelve