Now that Hybrid 0.6 has been out a while, I wanted to get more of you involved in the process of the theme’s future. I’ve gotten the theme to the point where it’s relatively stable and on the track I’d like to see it going down, but I wanted to open the floor to you all.
This survey is mostly about version 0.7, but some of the questions apply to things beyond that point. You can go ahead and take the survey, but I encourage you to read this post before doing so.
It’s come to my attention that not everyone fully understands what I’m talking about when I say Hybrid and what it means, so I’ll try to explain that concept here.
I also wrote a detailed post on why I created a theme framework, which will give you a better look into the philosophy behind the theme.
Hybrid is not
- Theme Hybrid. That’s the name of this website. The two are not one and the same.
- Hybrid News. This is a child theme of Hybrid.
- An all-in-one theme that’s supposed to do everything.
- A car.
Hybrid should be
- A lightweight framework (imagine the frame of a house).
- A development tool to create child themes and plugins.
- An extension of WordPress on the frontend.
- Very cool.
Hybrid’s user base
I like to break users down into three groups:
- Developers that need something to build from.
- Intermediate-level DIYers with some knowledge of PHP, HTML, and CSS.
- People with little or no PHP, HTML, and CSS skills.
Hybrid is first and foremost, without any doubt, a framework for developers. I first created it with the intention of using it for my personal projects, then later released it for other developers to build from. It was created to be extended.
The unexpected thing was when users from group 2 got involved and started making their own customizations, so I’d like to continue making things easier for this crowd.
People without mad development skillz should not worry though. Theme-specific plugins and pre-made child themes should be built specifically with this group of users in mind.
Goals for Hybrid
I have three main goals for Hybrid that should be the priority with any new version:
- Make the code more efficient.
- Make the theme lighter in whatever ways possible.
- More flexibility (action hooks, filter hooks, stylesheets, etc.).
Now that I’ve explained a bit about Hybrid, I want to point out some of the things you’ll encounter in the survey.
There seems to be a lot of debate and discussion over whether Hybrid’s SEO features would be better as a plugin. You can read more about this debate in The Hybrid theme and SEO.
The best course of action here is to put it up for a vote and make the decision based on the results. If the decision is to separate the features into a plugin, I will create and release a much more in-depth plugin before the release of Hybrid 0.7.
Separation of comments and pings
In Hybrid 0.6, I introduced a feature that allows you to separate comments from pings (pingbacks and trackbacks). However, the current implementation does not allow you to put the ping list wherever you want. If reworked, you or child theme developers could add the ping list anywhere in the comments area.
Category and tag templates
WordPress allows taxonomies to have templates specifically for custom taxonomies (i.e.,
taxonomy-tax_name-slug.php). But, two of the default WordPress taxonomies (categories and post tags) are not handled this way. It would only take a few lines of code to make categories and post tags behave the same as other taxonomies.
Starter child themes
Starter child themes are themes that have been given a specific layout and functionality but are stylistically blank. These are sort of starting-points for further development. An example of this is the recent Critical theme.
Take the survey
I hope I’ve explained everything well enough in the post to give you an idea of what the survey is about. Please take a moment and give me your ideas and suggestions.
Most of the questions are open-ended. You are welcome to only answer the questions that you have an opinion on and skip those that you don’t care much about. Or, feel free to answer everything.
As always, I encourage participation in the community forums. There’s quite a bit of discussion and information on Hybrid 0.7 already.