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New Responsive WooCommerce theme Sooperstore released

Ok it's pretty embarrassing how long it's been since I posted a blog update here. My last update was early July saying that a new theme was on the way "within a week" if I recall correctly. Well fast forward a week or 8 and I'm happy to announce that Sooperstore has finally been released! We actually released another theme in...

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5 Stunning Responsive WordPress themes

While responsive web design is a relatively new phenomenon, the WordPress theme development ecosystem has exploded with a plethora of stunning responsive WordPress themes over the past few months. It's one of the things that I really love about the WordPress community - the speed at which theme developers themselves are so responsive :)...

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High Performance WordPress – Part 4

Alrighty folks, if you’ve been following along with the High Performance WordPress post series you will by now have experienced the awesomeness of a WordPress website running on nginx. If you’ve not been following along what are you waiting for? Go check out the following posts first: Part 1 - VPS Setup Part 2 -...

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High Performance WordPress Part 3

Hey folks I’m back with Part Three of the High Performance WordPress guide. If you’ve not done so already, be sure to check out Parts One and Part Two which will take you from a position of having no server to a fully configured VPS machine running the kickass nginx web server and mysql - or a LEMP environment as those in...

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Well Hello There!

Hey there thanks for stopping by! ThemesForge is all about WordPress Themes. We don’t make ’em - but we pretty much live ’em, breath ’em, review ’em, rant about ’em and hope to keep you the you the discerning reader fully up to date about what is going on in the WordPress themes ecosystem.

Latest ThemesForge News

Announcing 24 Theme Tips – 24 Posts for Advent

30 November 2010 comment icon1 | Categories: tips

So tomorrow is December 1st. If there’s one thing that I’ve looked forward to each December 1st for the past few years it’s been the wonderful 24 Ways. For anyone who doesn’t know what 24 Ways is:

24 ways is the advent calendar for web geeks. Each day throughout December we publish a daily dose of web design and development goodness to bring you all a little Christmas cheer.

This year I’ve decided to join in and run our own little equivalent of 24 Ways here on themesforge – 24 Theme Tips. Each day we’ll post a little nugget about WordPress themes that hopefully someone will find useful.

It’s a little bit daunting and a complete rush of blood to the head. I’m sure the 24 ways guys have been doing lots of prep getting some of the biggest and brightest to contribute their words of wisdom over the month of December.

Fuck it let’s do it.

If anyone is interested in contributing something over the month of December let me know and if you have a preferred date in the month that’s no problem – we’ve got 24 days to fill 🙂

It doesn’t necessarily have to be specifically about themes – I think given the number of posts to be created, the scope can include any interesting tips people want to share.

Roll on December 1st!

Site Showcase: Openview Labs

29 November 2010 comment icon4 | Categories: best of, showcase, theme news

While browsing the WordPress Site Showcase today, I noticed a great new WordPress powered site for OpenView Labs.

What I thought was particularly interesting about this new website is the lovely content dropdown menus.

This design pattern is becoming increasingly popular with big sites like Reuters using these content menu dropdowns.  I’d love to know how they integrated these into WordPress.

They OpenView guys have also done an excellent job on the overall layout, typography and colour palette.

Well done guys and kudos to Kevin Leary for the design.

What makes a WordPress theme great?

29 November 2010 comment icon1 | Categories: opinion, theme news

Ok so this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Why is it that some themes take off like a rocket and others which on paper look great never hit the big time? I’m not just talking about premium WordPress themes here either. I’m just talking about themes in general.

With so many theme designers churning out themes every day I’m sure they would like to know the “secret sauce” that some theme designers seem to have when it comes to hitting a home run every time.

Of the premium theme designers, it’s clear there are a few designers who have exceptional design skills and resources aplenty at their disposal which is certainly a major factor.

But I think it’s more than just that.

I think a big reason for the success of some themes is that they just plain and simple work without minimal fuss when they are installed. We in the theme design community often spend weeks creating really flexible themes with lots of theme options thinking it’s gonna be the best thing since sliced bread only to discover that end users find our themes too complicated and bloated. What’s more, I think theme designers don’t spend enough time actually loading sample content into their themes and stretching them before releasing them to the public.

I’ve often installed premium themes and spent hours trying to get the bloody things to match the look they have when looking at them in a shiny demo store – and I’m a developer! This is simply not good enough for the majority of WordPress users. I think it’s time to return to innocence as the song once said and bring back simple theme options. Complexity can easily be wrapped in optional modules. Let’s ensure that themes look kickass right out of the box without any messing with config files, theme option boxes and photoshop.

That’s my rant for today!

So what do you think? Are WordPress themes getting too complex to easily configure?

Massive list of WordPress theme frameworks

28 November 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: theme news

Ryan of WPCandy has put together a massive list of WordPress theme frameworks. I must this is something we’ve been hoping to look at in more detail.

It’s a bloody good list and one that I can think we’ll definitely be digging into a little deeper in the near future. I’ve been doing a lot of work with Genesis recently and am getting a good feel for it’s strengths and weaknesses. I’d love to see a WordPress Theme Framework matrix comparing frameworks in detail.

Perhaps I’ve just given myself another weekend project 🙂

ThemeWarrior release new WordPress theme Picture Box

05 November 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: theme news

new kid on the block ThemeWarrior today released their new Premium WordPress Theme Picture Box.

Yogi dropped us a line today to tell us about Picture Box and we have been impressed with the features and design of this new WordPress theme.

With Photography exploding online, Picture Box will suit any budding photographer who wants to showcase their photos via their own hosted WordPress site.

What’s interesting about Picture Box is that it showcases the power of the default WordPress media gallery rather than relying on other third party gallery plugins.

The theme is available on Standard Package (USD29) and Developer Package (USD49).

Go check it out on themewarrior.com

10 Massive Sites powered by WordPress in 2010

02 November 2010 comment icon10 | Categories: about, wordpress

It never ceases to amaze me how often people question whether WordPress is powerful enough to power their website. People marvel at it’s feature set but some still think it’s a dainty little blogging tool that is meant for small-fry blogs and could never be used to power some of the world’s biggest websites.

Those closer to WordPress know that’s horse manure. WordPress has been powering some of the world’s largest websites for some time now. I’ve been digging through the WordPress Showcase and extracted some of the really big websites which have switched to WordPress in 2010.

Adobe

Okay so we’re back to Blogs with this first one – but not one blog – try 1,200+

Alexa Rank: 54 – need we say more?

Adobe

Yahoo News India

This is a really really big one. Yahoo News India is in the top 2,000 most visited sites on the planet – Alexa Rank: 1,695

yahoo

Kobe Bryant

Ok I’m going to claim ignorance on this once. As a European with zero interest or knowledge in basketball Mr. Bryant means nothing to me – but he would appear to be someone reasonably well known? (removes tongue from cheek)

kobe

TED

Anyone with an interest in Technology should know what TED is. If not, shame on you – now go find out.

TED

Herman Miler

You haven’t sat until you’ve sat in one of these.

Herman Miler

Katy Perry

One of the biggest female pop stars in the world just got a little sexier with the addition of WordPress powering her website.

katy perry

Web Resource Depot

One of my personal favourites. This may not be a household name outside of the web industry but this site is huuuuge!

So there you have it. 10 of the newest biggest sites that are powered by WordPress in 2010. So what are you waiting for?

The case for an official new WordPress Theme Framework

19 October 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: theme news, wordpress

Ok so I’ve not been posting a lot the past month (slaps self on wrist) due to being snowed under with a LOT of client work at the moment which is both good and bad!

Anyway – I’m taking breather this evening and had to post on something which has kept popping up in my mind over the past month. Is it time for WordPress to develop an official Theme Framework as part of the WordPress core?

Now I know, I know, before you say it – most WordPress frameworks are just essentially very well developed parent themes with extensive option panels, plugins and widgets and lots of nice hooks for child themes. If anything, the concept of a theme framework is a little bit confusing and somewhat unsettling to those new to WordPress. It’s like wha’ eh what’s this about a framework – am I missing something with my normal WordPress theme?

Maybe someone should have called them Power Themes or something similar 🙂

Anyway, there’s a huge amount of innovation going on in this space at the moment which is cool. In fact, I think I’ll be going down the framework road more and more in the next few months – primarily for the purpose of speeding up development – plain and simple. Yes are other nice bells and whistles with each of the frameworks but the real major win for me is development speed and not having to redo the same repetitive tasks for each project I undertake.

One thing does strike me here though – given the plethora of really smart people working on WordPress Theme frameworks right now, would it not make more sense if they pooled their resources and focused their energies in creating a “Super” Theme Framework that could be bigger than the sum of the parts of each individual theme shop/theme developer?

Who knows maybe someday something like this might then become part of the official WordPress core?

I can see resistance to this from some premium theme shops because theme frameworks are becoming extra revenue channels and differentiators from each other. Nothing wrong with that really. Variety is the spice of life and all that. But I do think consolidation and a common framework standard would be much more beneficial to both premium theme providers and the community in general in the long run.

With the news a few weeks back that Envato are going to launch their own framework (see? – yet another one!) fills me with mixed feelings. On one hand this should have a very positive impact on the quality and consistency of themes published to themeforest which can only help WordPress users. On the other hand, it’s yet another framework for theme developers and users to figure out. It just seems like there’s a lot of wasted energy floating around there in theme framework land right now.

Anyway, we’ll be posting reviews of all the major theme frameworks as we play with them over the next few months. It looks like innovation in this space is hotting up and I think 2011 will be a really big year for WordPress theme frameworks.

Featured Theme Maker

11 September 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: best of, theme news, wordpress

This week we kick off a new series on themesforge where each week we’ll be featuring a WordPress Theme Maker.

Fancy being featured on themesforge as our Theme Maker of Week? Well if so, it’s real simple – drop us a line and tell us why we should feature you and we’ll put you into our consideration pot*

All theme makers will need to be fans of the GPL license and release their work under the GPL license. (NOTE: Premium themes are allowed too just as long as they are also GPL.)

We hope to showcase the best and brightest theme makers (not just their themes) over the next weeks.

So, what are you waiting for?

Why WordPress needs a vibrant Premium Themes economy

05 August 2010 comment icon1 | Categories: opinion

While browsing wordpress.org this evening I thought I’d take a dig around the most recent free themes submitted.

I gotta tell you guys – what I saw wasn’t pretty!

I stopped looking after about the 30th theme going back to late May. I can safely say that of the 3o themes I looked at – I could not see myself using 2 of them – and that was me actively wanting myself to use as many as possible.

What I observed was interesting in itself.

  1. Most new WordPress free theme submissions from the past few months are quite simply – crap.  (sorry to anyone reading this if you’re theme is on that list).
  2. Of the ones that are of a decent quality – they do appear to be rips of existing popular free themes – therefore these are not really to be considered part of the innovation curve for free WordPress themes.
  3. The Free WordPress Themes directory does not do a very good job at promoting at presenting new themes. Sure the directory is nice and simple but I think WordPress.org should be much more engaging when it comes to promoting themes that are suitable for business, sport, technology, news sites, magazine sites etc. Sometimes it’s a bit of a needle in a haystack trying to find a certain theme. Sure we have a Most Popular Themes listing but all this really does is show the cream of the crop – it doesn’t show you the themes that YOU need for YOUR requirements. This is something that needs to be thought about and enhanced on wordpress.org.

What this shows us is that the Premium Themes market is playing an increasingly important role in bridging the gap between hobbyists who are producing free but substandard wordpress themes and business/professional WordPress users who need a more professional theme for their website or blog. WordPress needs a vibrant commercial ecosystem that plays nice with it’s core GPL foundations in order to continue to thrive. It’s clear that this can be challenging and alien to some commercial theme/plugin developers as we’ve seen recently. But this is the world we live in folks and we have to find a way for this to work well for the whole community because it’s long term sustained success depends on it.

Carrington Build WordPress Page Layouts – this is big

03 August 2010 comment icon3 | Categories: theme news, wordpress

I spotted a tweet from Andrew Nacin this evening mentioning a new project from Alex King which has just gone live called Carringon Build.

This project is huge news for WordPress developers, website owners and theme designers.

In a nutshell Carrington Build is a full featured drag and drop layout control system that hooks directly into WordPress. But describing it like that is like describing a Porche as being a fast car – it just doesn’t do it justice.

This thing is definitely one of the more exciting WordPress innovations I’ve seen in recent times.

My only concern at the moment is the whopping $499 price tag that it currently comes with.

[UPDATE: Alex has clarified in the comments below that $499 is for the Carrington Build Developer Version for a single site. Potential customers also have the option of getting Carrington Build baked into the Carrington Business Theme all set up and ready to go for $149 which is an excellent deal in my book]

For the moment I think mass adoption of this feature will be limited due to the high price tag but I can see a ready made market for custom theme designers and wordpress developers doing consulting work on behalf of clients to build the cost of this plugin into their development costs.

I’ve not looked to see if Alex is applying a GPL license to this plugin which I would think would be a good idea if Matt and Automattic are to help nurture this plugin. I would love nothing more to see this added to the WordPress core some day!

Well done Alex to you and your team and the best of luck with Carrington Build.