So, I’ve wanted to give this site a makeover for a while. It’s in pretty poor shape currently. The code sucks, it’s not responsive, the design is somewhat bland, and I’ve simply learned a lot since I did any sort of major overhaul. I have wanted to release a WordPress theme for a long time too, and I may as well release what I create for myself. I build themes for clients every day, and now I want to build one for me (and maybe you).
In this project, I’m going to design (as well as I can), code, and submit a WordPress theme to the official theme repository, and blog as many of the steps as I can. I didn’t get kickstarted for $90,000 to do this (not that I’d even back myself), so it’s
likely definitely not going to have all the fantastical magic I’m sure Chris Coyier’s CSS-Tricks redesign will (which I’m excited to back!), but I do have some goals in mind:
- Create a good-looking design fit for a blogger, but also have a place to showcase work
- Design and develop a custom home page
- Design and develop blog archive and singular post templates
- Design and develop portfolio archive (via CPT) and single templates
- Integrate post formats for (at least) links, images, galleries, video, and audio
I’m looking for some feedback on what you’d like me to share the most. I’m primarily interested from a code and workflow perspective, because I’m probably going to do most of the design in the browser, hopefully with some periodic input from some designer friends of mine (shhh, I haven’t told them yet).
I’m considering covering the following:
- Concepting the site via sketches and/or wireframe
- Font and color selection? Design considerations from a non-designer (exciting I know!)
- Setting up the template hierarchy, and the general philosophy for what code goes in what templates
- The post format integration
- The custom post type integration (hint: this part will be a plugin)
- How to organize custom functions
- Integrating with the Hybrid Core framework (don’t less this part let you down if you aren’t a Hybrid user, it won’t be totally reliant on the framework, I’m just going to let it save me some time)
- Making the theme responsive, and considerations for WordPress
- Theme settings / customizer? (hopefully there won’t be many/any!)
- Browser testing
- Active plugin rundown for the site?
- Post “launch” tweaks / review?
Would you like to see anything else? Does the coding environment matter to you? Do you want to see more writing on the topics, or mostly code progress? I’m considering adding audio with extra information about each post – would that be valuable? Would you like me to blog about the theme submission process (I probably will).
Some of the things I list above have been tutorialized really well elsewhere, and I fully intend to use resources available to me. However, I think it would be beneficial to blog what resources I’m using to build a certain feature, and maybe add some notes on my implementation (for instance, post formats and the theme customizer).
Maybe I can even get a few people in the community to review this with me as I go (I’m sure I’ll make mistakes, please call me out when I do). It may even be fun to record those conversations and post them as I go along. If you’re interested in that, hit me up.
I’m also thinking I’m going to do most of this live. As in, I’ll have a live URL as soon as the index.php and stylesheet are up and you can track the progress on that URL. I figure it will be best if I mirror the theme to a public Github repository so you always have a place to reference, and I’ll have a handy way to permalink progress. Sound like fun?
I’d love to get your thoughts and advice. This has pretty much been a brain dump.
I’m by no means the best developer in the world. I don’t want to do this because I think I’ll be able to fill anyone that reads it full of knowledge. I’m doing it because I need a redesign, and I think maybe we can learn together if I do it openly so anyone can watch and join in the party.
This isn’t going to take a week and a half. I fully expect to work on it a couple of times a week for the next couple of months. So, don’t expect it all at once, but definitely keep me accountable!
View all posts in this series
- Let’s create a WordPress theme - July 25, 2012
- New theme sketches - July 26, 2012
- Working copy of Happy theme on Github - August 3, 2012
- Mac and web based tools for WordPress theme development - September 13, 2012
- New design! - December 11, 2012