Anders Norén is one of the most prolific theme developers I know of. In 2014 he released a total of 8 themes into the WordPress.org repository- all of which are excellent. A total of 4 made the Tavern’s top 15 free themes of 2014.
If that wasn’t enough, Anders announced a brand new one this morning:
As with any great theme, I really like the attention to small design details. For instance, look at all the subtle icons and design that went into a simple author comment:
I recently listened to an interview with Tom Dale, one of the developers who helped create Ember. He was comparing Angular, which is maintained primarily by developers at Google, and Ember, which has a smaller and more diverse group of contributors behind it.
I thought this remark was interesting and also applies to the WordPress world:
“I think of open source project as an organism. An organism has an immune system and the best thing you can do for the immune system of your project is to diversify as fast as your can.
This includes valuing contributors who are not just code writers. It includes valuing people who write documentation, valuing people who work on infrastructure, valuing people who run events and organize meet-ups in the real world.”
From TalkShopShow Episode #147.
Fast load times are incredibly important for website users. Unfortunately, it’s an overlooked feature on most WordPress sites.
Themes and plugins aren’t necessarily optimized for performance, and it can be difficult to determine how plugin and design choices affect the overall page speed.
But, if we start to measure it, we can start to optimize for it. When I do site performance audits for clients I primarily use two tools to evaluate page speed. The browser developer tools (Chrome) and the “Site Speed” report in Google Analytics.
Pingdom also offers a nice visual waterfall of page speed timings (similar to the “Network” tab in most browser developer tools), and Google Insights can give good general suggestions. Continue reading
Although I do my best to ensure compatibility between versions of the Options Framework theme (GitHub), upgrading to this latest version will require some minor updates on the part of theme developers.
I am also planning to write some tutorial soon about how to migrate from the Options Framework to the native WordPress Customizer if you’d prefer to take that route. Continue reading
Most developers use a custom page template if they need to display a custom post types on the front/home page. This is fairly easy to do using a new WP_QUERY:
$args = array(
'post_type' => 'download',
$downloads = new WP_Query( $args );
However, WordPress still treats this as a page rather than archive, which can be problematic if you have specific styles or scripts that only load on archives or rely on certain body classes. So I started to experiment with a pre_get_posts function. I found this actually works quite well, even with pagination and infinite scrolling scripts. Continue reading
WordPress 4.0 introduced a few new features for the customizer, including panels and input field types. This post on the Core Make blog explains the updates well- but since I was experimenting with it today I thought I’d post a few more examples.
I put together a code snippet that registers a custom panel, section, and then displays a few of the new field types: url, e-mail, password, textarea, date, and range. Arguably the only real useful ones are textarea and range as you’ll see in the notes below. Continue reading
Last year I published a list of independent WordPress theme shops ordered by Alexa rank. Since then a number of new ones have opened up, a few have closed doors, and a couple have rebranded or changed hands.
I thought it would be interesting to look at these numbers again to see how the independent theme market has changed over the year. I updated the ranking table and posted the new information at the bottom of this post.
Alexa data isn’t necessarily correct as it is based on traffic estimates. It also doesn’t indicate anything about actual revenue numbers. So the “data” here should definitely be looked at with skepticism. It is, however, one of the few independent measures we have to rank websites.
The biggest takeaway for me is that the Alexa ranking for all the top theme shops improved significantly. Every single shop in the top 25 is doing better than last year. I think this shows a continued interest in commercial themes and that well established shops are likely benefiting the most. Continue reading
All WordPress themes check for updates on WordPress.org, regardless of whether it was developed custom for a client or built by a commercial theme shop. This can be a problem if a new theme gets added to WordPress.org that has the same name as your custom or commercial theme.
There’s a couple ways to get around this issue. Continue reading