Many of you know that I’ve been hinting at some different things here for Theme Hybrid. I’ve been carefully planning some new goals I’d like to achieve with the site in the past few months. While nothing is set in stone yet and it’ll be a while before all things are implemented, I wanted to share some thoughts with you all.
One of the goals of this site has always been to offer free and open source WordPress themes, plugins, and other nifty things. Those of you that know me know that I’m a big supporter of open-source projects. This is something that won’t be changing.
New philosophy on building parent themes
First, I wanted to start by saying that this isn’t really a “new” philosophy for me. It’s something I’ve had in mind for a long time. It just took a while to get to the point I wanted to be at.
Months before Theme Hybrid ever opened its doors, I started the initial work on Hybrid Core. It’s always been buried in the site’s flagship theme, Hybrid, so the core framework has gotten plenty of use. Yep, we’ved dragged it through the mud a time or two. It’s a veteran in many ways, but it’s still in its infancy as a viable framework solution for other developers.
New themes released on this site will be parent themes. Many of you are used to seeing child themes for a single parent theme.
I know some of you have been frustrated when trying to mold a single theme into something it’s not or when putting together 20kb+ function files. I know I have. More than anything, it’s been a energy-draining process trying to come up with creative ways to do things that could be done in an easier way.
Many of you have even asked the question, “How do I update my child theme?” The new goal is for you to never have to ask that question. Since new themes will be parent themes, your child theme will never have to be updated, providing you with the most future-proof way of running your site as possible.
New philosophy on building child themes
Just because new themes will most likely be parent themes, it doesn’t mean there’ll never be a child theme released here. Actually, that couldn’t be further from what I’d like to do.
Essentially, any child themes released will be nothing more than a design, a
style.css file. Stylesheets rarely need an update, so you likely won’t see child themes being updated on the site.
I’d like to stay away from advanced child themes. These are the child themes with extra templates and lots of functions (things that can’t be updated). A prime example of this is the Hybrid News theme. If I built that theme today, it would be a parent theme. Then, I might build child themes with different designs. For example, you might have child themes with red, green, yellow, and purple designs. Each child theme would offer a unique design for the given markup of its parent theme.
This has always been the intended use of child themes in WordPress, so it’s the direction we’ll be going in.
Changes on the site
For the past few weeks, there’s been a good discussion on the future direction of the site in the support forums. I’ve gotten some invaluable feedback from many members, and I still encourage more discussion on that topic.
The biggest changes I’d like to make happen in 2011 are the following:
- Put more focus on the many plugins I’ve written. Right now, they don’t get much attention here.
- A dedicated documentation portal to make theme/plugin docs easier to find.
- A code snippet database for finding quick snippets of code, especially for commonly-asked functionality in the support forums.
- Allow user submissions to the showcase.
- Add WordPress e-books to the selection of tools for the members here (more on this later).
- Allow theme developers to host their parent themes (built of Hybrid Core) and child themes on the site.
All of these things won’t happen overnight. It’ll take some time and ideas may change as I get deeper into the process of putting all of these pieces together. Feel free to leave your feedback on things you’d like to see in 2011 for Theme Hybrid.
I hope all of you have a great New Year’s Eve and look forward to seeing what we accomplish in the coming year.