Just a little over a year ago, I released version 2.0 of Hybrid Core. That was only the framework’s second major release since I started building it in 2008. I assumed it’d be at least 2 years before I tackled another major release. I’d planned on doing minor and patch releases for a while, all along building themes.
However, a lot has changed in the theming world in just the past year. WordPress has added a lot of cool features for theme authors that were previously handled by Hybrid Core. The WordPress.org theme directory only allows themes to utilize the customizer for theme options. And, several other major changes happened since 2.0 was shipped.
Minor releases and patches were not going to cut it. With such a large shift in the landscape, Hybrid Core needed another overhaul.
And, that’s exactly what I gave it.
Out with the old
I pretty much gutted every legacy feature and everything that I didn’t think was all that important for a WordPress theme framework in the year 2015.
I won’t rehash the entire change log, but here are some notable features that were removed:
- Atomic hooks functionality.
- Random Custom Background extension.
- Featured Header extension.
- Cleaner Caption extension (handled in WP).
- Loop title/description (replaced by WP).
- Pagination (replaced by WP).
I wanted the framework to feel fresh. Getting rid of old stuff was a major step toward that goal.
In with the customizer
The customizer is the future of WordPress. This has been made pretty clear by the direction WordPress has been moving, particularly in the past year.
While Hybrid Core has utilized the customizer and 2.0 made it clear that the customizer is our preferred way of handling theme options, there wasn’t much for theme authors to work with. Therefore, I built some cool customizer controls for you all:
- Color Palette.
- Multiple Checkbox.
- Dropdown Terms.
- Radio Image.
- Select Group.
- Multiple Select.
And, a couple of customizer setting classes:
- Array Map.
- Image Data.
I’m kind of unofficially dubbing this the customizer release.
New features and changes
This announcement post would get fairly long if I detailed every new feature and change. There were 269 commits (some were fairly large). Here’s a short list of the changes I think are the most noteworthy:
- Layouts API, which is an overhaul of the previous layout system.
- Media Meta API that allows you to easily output metadata for media files (audio, video, images).
- Continued accessibility fixes and improvements.
- Language-specific function files for both parent and child themes.
- Fewer text strings so that it’s even easier for translators.
- Schema.org microdata updates and corrections.
- Complete overhaul of URLs and translatable text strings to harden security.
- Gallery stylesheet is completely adaptive to screen sizes.
Plus, loads of other changes were made. There were tons of tiny improvements and a few bug fixes that aren’t necessarily noteworthy but make Hybrid Core one of the best frameworks for building themes.
Hybrid Core’s docs are out of date at the moment. Honestly, its users make only a tiny fraction of Theme Hybrid’s user base but account for the largest investment from me. It’s fairly unbalanced.
Given that and the pace of change in development, I’ve decided to try out something new for a change: community-driven documentation. I’ve opened the Hybrid Core wiki on GitHub so that anyone can contribute. I’ll be adding some stuff, but I hope that anyone using the framework will chip in as well.
I also believe freeing this up will drive adoption of the framework by more theme authors. The more developers we have using and contributing to the project, the better.
If the community responds well to this, it will open up more time for me to focus on some longer-form tutorials for members, which is something I’m better at doing than just pure reference-style docs.
It was suggested that new Hybrid Core versions get code/release names like WordPress. Jazz isn’t really my thing, so I’m sticking with references to some of my favorite TV shows.
“Mr. Reynolds” is a bit vague, but if you’ve read enough of my tutorials and docs over the years, you might be able to work it out.
So, I’m going to do a little something fun. I’m offering up a free lifetime membership (no matter what changes in the membership system come in the future) to the first person to post the TV series name here in the comments.
I hope you enjoy this release and build all kinds of cool themes with it. Go ahead, hop over to the framework page, and grab the latest copy.