Theme Tip 24 – Our WordPress Theme 2010 Review

Well looky here we’ve hit our 24th Theme Tip of December just in time for Christmas!

(UPDATE: Ok yes, it’s now the 6th of January 2011 and for some bloody reason this post never made it live on Christmas but we’re gonna still pretend it’s Christmas ok!)

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster year for WordPress in 2010. Lots of things happened in the WordPress community in general. We got WordPress 3.0 which has been a sensation for me. We got a boatload of theme frameworks maturing to a point where I see this as being the real future of WordPress theme development. We had our very own mexican standoff between Matt and Chris about the ever controversial GPL debate. Actually it was less of a mexican standoff and more of a storm in a teacup which Chris finally seeing the light and going GPL with Thesis – kinda. Hopefully this puts the GPL debate firmly behind us although I don’t think it will.

As the year draws to a close I think we only now starting to see some of the more powerful features of late 2.X and 3.X releases of WordPress to be fully exploited by theme developers. Earlier in the year we had Justin Tadlock once again leading the way with this wonderful demonstration of the power of custom post types by developing a full frickin forum using them. Justin hasn’t released the code publicly yet – I think he’s waiting to see how bbPress progresses – I’d love to dig into it someday if/when it does see the light of day.

Another wonderful example of the power of custom post types and taxonomies is the brilliant Quality Control theme which you can demo over at and which you can also checkout with the WordPress Theme repository here if you have some basic SVN skills:

NOTE: I’m unsure of the status of Quality Control at this point as it seems it might be going commercial at some point in the near future and I’m unsure if 0.2 is ready for production use. Nevertheless, it’s another example of just how powerful WordPress has become but for which we’ve not seen a huge amount of innovation with yet. (Commercial Exception – WooThemes Listing theme)

I predict big things for this space in 2011.

Other highlights for this year included:

  • The launch and growth of the Genesis Framework
  • The launch of Carrington Build
  • Automattic getting into the themes game in a big way with the hiring of Ian Stewart and several others since (and a few more coming soon).
  • The quality of some free WordPress themes improved dramatically in 2010, particularly those that were released by Smashing Mag.
  • The sheer volume of both free and commercial WordPress themes out there exploded – so while the bar has been set higher by some free themes, there are lots more crap and more worryingly more dangerous ones out there now.

So there you have it – a quick and by no means comprehensive review of 2010 in WordPress theme land.

This also concludes our 24 Theme Tips series. It’s been a joy to produce this series this year and I look forward to running it again next December!

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