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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

Great new wordpress theme – Portfolio

03 August 2010 comment icon1 | Categories: theme news

portfoliotheme

So I was having a few brews over in the WordPress Tavern earlier today when I stumbled across a new wordpress theme called Portfolio.

The full details of the theme can be found on the main Portfolio Theme details page.

After taking Portfolio Theme for a quick spin in the themesforge labs I must say I’m impressed.

Devin from wptheming.com has put together a really solid WordPress theme that utilises the new WordPress 3.0+ custom post types functionality to create a slick Portfolio manager that incorporates a featured image feature.

I could see many different uses for this WordPress theme but I think it will particularly suit any freelance designer or web agency who wishes to create a simple but effective portfolio based website.

Well done Devin and looking forward to seeing more of your work!

Thesis and WordPress kiss and make up – Thesis now has a Split GPL license

25 July 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: opinion, theme news, thesis

One of the most controversial and hotly debated public arguments in the WordPress community ended this week when Chris Pearson of DiyThemes.com changed the license for his very popular Thesis theme to a split GPL license which has the backing of Matt Mullenweg of WordPress.

In a nutshell, the decision by Chris to switch to a split GPL license ends a potentially nasty and expensive legal battle between Matt and Chris – which in the long run would only damage the entire WordPress community as whole. For this alone, Chris’s decision must be praised.

We had covered the recent war of words between Matt and Chris which extended out to a Mixergy.com video cast and things had gotten pretty nasty. But it would appear it is now safe to say the issue is closed. I purposely didn’t post on this announcement for a few days to observe how the community would react.

It would appear that the community as a whole is relieved that the issue did not go to a legal battle and the general impression is that Chris has done the right thing in switching to a split GPL license. I would also suspect that the additional revelations that Thesis has taken entire core snippets from the WordPress core would strengthen the WordPress legal case and at a minimum lead to a copyright infringement case was enough for Chris to make a prudent business decision – even if his ideological stance has not changed – which I’ve no evidence to the contrary that it has. I would suspect that Chris still strongly believes in the views he expressed on the Mixergy videocast and has only made this decision to save his business from a costly legal case.

For now, the issue is closed. I fear we’ve not heard the last of the WordPress Theme/Plugin GPL debate. For now, I’ve decided to not reinstate my affiliate links to the Thesis theme as the whole affair has left me with a bad impression of what the Thesis guys are about and frankly I don’t want to do business with them at this point. Sorry guys you’ve lost me as an affiliate. I shall keep close attention to how Thesis evolves in this new reality though.

5 Must Read Tutorials on WordPress Custom Post Types

25 July 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: development, tutorials, wordpress

So I’m doing some Sunday driving today and taking a closer look at WordPress Custom Post Types and how they can be implemented into WordPress themes in WordPress 3.0.

I must admit, this is pretty powerful stuff and the lines between theme development and plugin development are blurring a lot more now in 3.0 than ever before.

Anyway, those for interested here’s a quick list of 5 Must Read tutorials on WordPress Custom Post Types that will get you up to speed on what you can do with it:

Breaking: Matt Cutts is considering dropping Thesis

20 July 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: thesis, wordpress

As WordPress and Thesis continue to wage war over the past week, I’ve just been tuned into the WordPress Podcast where Matt Cutts is online with Yoast and Frederick having a broad discussion about Matt’s experience with WordPress and as usual Matt is full of interesting stories and facts about not only SEO but also his and Google’s experiences with WordPress.

As I type, the show is still going – tune in on Webmaster Radio and I’m sure it will pop up in their main iTunes feed in the next few days.

The conversation inevitable turned to the GPL war of words and Matt did hint that he is considering switching away from Thesis and perhaps back to a WordPress 3.0 compliant theme.

His reasons weren’t directly related to the GPL battle itself and more about how the WordPress core now supports many things he would have used a more advanced theme like Thesis for before 3.0.

Nevertheless, to see another high profile blog switch away from Thesis would no doubt be another blow for Thesis support across the WordPress community.

Thesis gets hacked and the coming Thesis Vs. Automattic battle

14 July 2010 comment icon6 | Categories: Legals, theme news, wordpress

So diythemes.com – producers of the infamous Thesis WordPress theme got hacked today. Apart from the fact that it’s nasty for anyone to get hacked at any stage, this event inadvertently reignited the WordPress/Automattic vs. Thesis war of words after some follow up tweeting from what I can make out.

The war of words is still very much in progress and you can follow the exchanges over on Twitter.

In a nutshell it would seem that Matt has had enough and is going after Thesis in a big way and even offering to buy alternative GPL compliant premium themes for Thesis users.

It now also looks like this may end up going down the legal route.

In response to this tweet, Matt responded:

@flashingcursor Working on it, even though it breaks my heart. If the GPL is invalid, vast swathes of Open Source die #thesiswp

Looks like this is going to get a lot messier before it is all sorted out. For those living under a rock this entire debacle has been covered to death across the WordPress community but it essentially boils down to two opposing views that incite as much emotion as a religious or political debate:

  • Pro GPL Community – Strongly held belief that all themes, plugins that are distributed publicly (whether they are sold or not) must inherit the GPL license. Why is this important? Essentially this means that the community can extend and re-distribute ANY theme, plugin etc. that is created – whether the author supports that position or not. Most premium theme sellers don’t have an issue with this and have largely prospered on this basis and have built sustainable business models on it.
  • Pro Commercial Distribution License – A select and vocal few vehemently oppose this position. They strongly believe that anything plugin or theme that they produce does not fall under the GPL license and therefore they can restrict what their customers can use their products for.

Up to now, things have been heated but it now looks like things are escalating and we may see a court battle to settle this once and for all.

Personally I’ve watched this with great interest and strongly advocate and support Matt’s position on all of this. WordPress after all has primarily thrived because of the very fact that the core software is distributed under the GPL. The more I listen and read on the subject the more I see that if WordPress is to continue to thrive into the future, the more critical it becomes that this fundamental spirit of openness, collaboration and community is protected and nurtured. I followed many other open source GPL projects in the past only to see the community ripped apart because of ideological differences between prominent members of the community. I think and hope that this time it’s different. This time I think the community are very much on side with Matt’s stance on this and that ultimately Thesis must change it’s licensing policy or else it will ultimately decline and die.

For now, I’ve removed any affiliate links I previously had pointing to DIYthemes. I think Thesis is a fine theme framework but I can’t support it as long as it doesn’t share the same core values of the WordPress project.

UPDATE: There’s a nice post by Mitch Canter here taking this a little bit further.

Making WordPress better

05 July 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: opinion, wordpress

wpv4

Probably the last thing that the WordPress dev team want to think about now is new feature requests for future versions of WordPress. In fact, the team have already stated that they’ll be taking a break from feature development for a few months which is cool and gives us all time to get to grips with 3.0 and stretch it, bend it and break it (hopefully not breaking it too much!)

Well in the meantime, I’m throwing down my 2 cents about things I think can be further improved in future wordpress branches and releases. I’ve been using wordpress for many years but recently I’ve been really stretching it for a number of clients who would have traditionally been used to enterprise CMS products (shudder!). WordPress knocks the socks of these so called enterprise CMS products on just about every front.

Just about.

Hopefully I can highlight some key areas for improvement that will effectively make wordpress a serious option for just about ANY site possible – without sacrificing it’s pure ease of use that already makes it a real winner.

  • Fix deployment – Ok this is a big one. So I’ve spent weeks and months building a site on a local development machine and then come to move it to a live server. Joomla does this with one or two code line changes. WordPress – not so much. At least not that I’ve seen. It’s quite common to see users struggle with image path problems, permalink id’s being hardcoded in the db and not easily changed. Yes, there are nice little plugins like Search and Replace which do go some way to fixing this already but deployment is such a core part of wordpress development that it really should be managed better within the product itself.
  • Fix permissions -A lot of shared hosts these days run php with fast-cgi or some flavour which allows wordpress to run under the user’s own server user account. This is fine and dandy until you put wordpress under some serious load and need to switch to php_mod. Once you do this you’re left with little option but to start setting world writeable permissions on lots of individual directories that while there’s no other way around it – should be simplified and maybe centralised. This would at least take some of the guesswork out of the process. While this isn’t something that is specific to WordPress, I think this does need to be looked at – especially establishing a standard convention for plugin developers to follow to make life easier for sysadmins to know what needs writeable permissions.
  • Better widget management – Ever tried setting up a site to have context specific widgets displayed on specific pages, in a specific order? Yip it’s not so easy. Again yes there are some plugins which go some way to helping with this but this is something I feel strongly should be part of the core and wouldn’t over complicate WordPress. Take a leaf out of how Joomla handle module display. It’s quite simple but powerful.
  • Admin GUI still needs work – Ok so you’ve found that plugin that will solve all your woes and make your life all that much better. You go ahead and install it. Now where the hell is it? Did it get it’s own tab or is it buried within Settings or Tools? Anyone? A more elegant and usable scenario would be to centralise where all plugins get installed. I often find the WordPress UI can VERY cluttered by the time you’ve installed the full remit of plugins you could be using on a production site. Time to think about scalability guys.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ve a thousand other ideas swirling around in my head but those are the new that keep coming to the surface. So what do you think needs to be the focus for future wordpress releases?

So once again, bravo to the WordPress team and all those who contribute to the community for getting 3.0 out the door. Enjoy your well earned break from core development. Also be safe in the knowledge that the community for feature suggestion is alive and kicking :)

A new free HTML5 WordPress Starter Theme

03 July 2010 comment icon3 | Categories: theme news

Something interesting popped up today in the twittersphere with the release by Ian Stewart of a new free HTML5 WordPress theme called Toolbox.

Ian is one of the smart guys in the wordpress community and it must be said that having taken a quick peek under the hood of Toolbox, it really is an excellent start theme for anyone looking to get their hands dirty with HTML5 wordpress themes.

So what’s a starter theme?

A starter theme is not an all singing all dancing full featured wordpress theme with widgets, theme options etc. It’s a stripped down bare bones starting point which is more suited for a developer or designer looking for a rock solid starting point for building their own wordpress themes.

As Ian says:

Alright. Toolbox is a blank, HTML5, WordPress starter theme. Out of the box, it features:

  • The latest in plain, old, semantic HTML5 markup.
  • Ultra-minimal (it looks like there’s no CSS at all), fluid, em-based CSS that won’t get in your way when you’re starting a design.
  • It’s free to use for commercial and public projects.

I’ll certainly be playing around with Toolbox a bit more over the next few weeks to see what how I can put it to good use.

Go get it now.

WordPress 3.0 Officially released, hurrah!

17 June 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: wordpress

Great to see that WordPress 3.0 has been officially released. Anyone paying attention to the wordpress dev blog will have seen the rapid RC releases appearing over the past few weeks so it’s great to see 3.0 is now official. We’re planning to release a brand spanking new theme in the next few weeks which will be 3.0 compatible so stay tuned for more information on that.

In the meantime there’s a nice tutorial here about how to make use of the shiny new Custom Post Types in your wordpress themes.

Here’s the skinny in video from WordPress.

The state of Premium WordPress Themes

23 May 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: theme news, wordpress

Just spotted a great post by Alex Denning over at WPShout about the state of premium wordpress themes.

Alex makes some great points about why premium themes are here to stay.

I agree wholeheartedly with Alex’s view on the premium themes market.

Well worth 5 minutes of your time to read.

Alex also runs a Premium WordPress Themes site – WPShift

New WooThemes WooCodex Launches

12 April 2010 comment icon0 | Categories: theme news, wordpress

Some great news for the WordPress Themes community to start off this week.

WooThemes have launched a new WooCodex resource for all WooThemes customers.

Essentially the WooCodex provides WooThemes customers with an excellent resource for extending their own custom functionality within their chosen WooThemes wordpress theme.

One good example would be the addition of new additional Theme Options which you may have thought about but are not sure how to go about implementing.

This one is hot off the presses so expect more news from WooThemes as they extend the codex in the coming weeks and months.

I guess the guys in WooThemes have given up on sleeping in 2010 and will just keep on churning out the good stuff :)