WordPress Dream Theme

James Pearson has always been an inspiration to me. Recently we had a chance to talk about chasing dreams and how the pursuit of dreams has had such a drastic impact on history. As we discussed dreams I spoke of big picture dreams. The life changing stuff. It was inspiring, but that’s for another post. This post is actually about my smaller dreams that I realized later.

I want a WordPress theme that is built and maintained like WordPress. I want it to be licensed under the GPL, completely free, maintained by a group of lead developers, worked on by a larger group of contributors, lightweight, fast, flexible, and extremely extensible. I’m not talking about a new default theme. Twentyten and Twentyeleven are awesome for new users to be able to start a great looking site quickly and easily. Instead I want something that is more like WordPress in that it’s basic and powerful, but mostly extensible. I call it Essence.

My dream in a nutshell:

  • The development would be guided by a small group of trusted developers
  • Anyone would be welcome to contribute code based on a meritocracy much like WordPress.org (and probably closely tied to it)
  • It would use the same 80/20 and “decisions over options” approach to development
  • More advanced functionality would come from plugins that the theme is designed to work with. For example, I’d love to see the theme fully support Joost’s WordPress SEO plugin, giving it the hooks it needs to be as effective as possible.
  • I’d like to see it support BuddyPress, forums (like BBPress), even E-Commerce (like Shopp)
  • People that work in a niche (like publishing) would be able to make plugins that make developing a theme for their niche easier.
  • It needs to be well coded, secure, and fast
  • The most important thing is that someone should be able to easily create a child theme that inherits all this amazing functionality. It should not only make it easier to make a theme, it should make it easier to make a powerful theme that supports nearly everything WordPress supports.

There are some great theme frameworks out there (like Genesis), but as far as I know none of them are community ran and completely free like I envision.

I’ve started on the theme and submitted it to the themes repository. I call it Essence because I want it to be “the most significant element, quality, or aspect of” other themes. However, I need help. It can’t be community developed without the community. If you’re interested in helping out, contact me.

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About Aaron D. Campbell

Owner and lead developer at BlueDog, Aaron has 10+ years of web development experience, it a regular core contributor to the WordPress project, and has released many WordPress plugins.
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4 thoughts on “WordPress Dream Theme

  1. Amanda says:

    This is an awesome idea and I hope you can make it happen for those of us who aren’t so savvy. :)

  2. I like the idea. I love some theme frameworks (I mostly use Carrington when starting something from scratch with existing HTML), but the major problem with most of the frameworks is that they are usually just maintained by a very small group of people, even if there might often be a huge community of users who then tweak the code to their own needs… but have no way to contribute back to the community.

    I’m certainly going to give Essence a try!

  3. It seems that a new version is out :) One problem I had with the previous version was that it broke the CSS for ShareDaddy (well, ShareDaddy works so seldom on most templates anyway…) and some “eaten-up” CSS for a few sliders which I’ve demo’ed. Hopefully the new version handles this better.

    Thanks for the update!

  4. avatar says:

    This is great idea. I hope you can do this

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