2 pretty cool new things popped up on the wires today that I just had to share with you guys.
The first is an uber cool post from WordPress lead dev Mark Jaquith about his clever little new site – havebabyneedstuff.com
Mark is no stranger to publishing some fantastic tutorials on bleeding edge WordPress development best practices and this write up is full of awesome innovative approaches to building WordPress websites. If you want to see further evidence of the future of theme development go check out Mark’s blog post immediately and study it carefully – that’s the future right there folks.
Second up today is the launch of the WP App Store. This is big one that has been coming for a while and the potential to be massive – possibly the single biggest development in the commercial WordPress theme business in 2012. No exaggeration. In a nutshell, the WP App Store promises to do for WordPress what the Apple App Store did for iOS devices.
Check out the short video demonstrating how it works.
I think WordPress.org missed the boat on this a long while back and it was only a matter of time before the community stepped in to offer this as a platform. While I think it would have been better coming from within the WordPress.org project, my impression is that the core project is not interested in the concept of an App Store for the .org project at the moment – and that’s a shame. Commercial themes and plugins are a huge aspect of the WordPress community as a whole in 2012. An App Store will make the lives of less technical WordPress users so much easier and removes so many points of friction in the commercial WordPress theme purchase and install process that the sales of the theme shops on board are bound to explode on the back of this. I do however see a number of big challenges for the WP App Store. First, to use the WP App Store users first have to get their hands on the WP App Store plugin. While that’s a pretty simple plugin install process, it’s still a plugin install. If this was part of the core WordPress install this would take off like a rocket right now. It will take time for this to build momentum – but when it does it will spread like wildfire. Second, I can see .org being slightly concerned with the naming of the project. People are very familiar with the Apple App Store – and a lot of people understand that that App Store is curated and managed directly by Apple. It’s one of the few benefits of the closed ecosystem that is iOS development. You play by Apple’s rules and you get instant access to a massive market that trusts your products because Apple curates them. Will people assume that the WP App Store is curated by the WordPress project just like the main plugin and theme directories? Also, is it cool to even call this the WP App Store? Will Apple come knocking? I think WP App Store will need to be really clear communicating who is behind the service to gain the trust of potential customers.
Either way there’s some of the biggest theme shops on the planet who have already signed up to be part of the new WP App Store so it looks like they are off to a strong start. I think theme marketplaces like Themeforest and MoJo Themes will be kicking themselves right now for not doing something like this a long time ago. Kudos to Brad Touesnard & Co for bringing a really exciting innovation to the commercial theme/plugin world.