I think I may go for a run today. Eat some kimchi and rice. Maybe even spend a few minutes tossing breadcrumbs to my chickens.
Over the past few months, I’ve been working toward completing my biggest project yet. I haven’t neglected my personal life and health as much since the dawn of Theme Hybrid, just over five years ago. That’s the kind of guy I am though. I’m all in. It’s everything or nothing. So, when I’m working on a project that I truly care about, I tend to spend every waking moment dedicated to that project.
Yeah, I need more balance in my life and to drop the grilled cheeses. But, that’s how it goes when you love what you do.
Today, I’m introducing to you the Stargazer WordPress theme, but it’s so much more than a theme. It’s a product of a theme plus several plugins I’ve been building throughout the year. It just took me a while to wrap them all together.
What’s with the name?
I’m a huge science fiction fan, particularly the space opera. In one sense, the name is dedicated to all my fellow Trekkies out there. But, I actually came up with the name based off another popular television series, Stargate SG-1. There’s even an easy-to-find Easter egg for Stargate fans.
Outside of science or science fiction, a stargazer is also a daydreamer. I think of a stargazer as someone who is constantly dreaming of bigger and better things in this universe. And, that kind of sums up this project for me. This theme has pushed me to explore new concepts and see what I can do with them. It represents a new direction for Theme Hybrid.
So, hop aboard the Stargazer. Let me tell you what’s in store.
Stargazer WordPress theme
The Stargazer theme is running on the latest, greatest, and not-yet-released version 2.0 of the Hybrid Core framework. I needed to do major code rewrites to really bring the framework up to par with the ideas I had for this theme.
As many of you know, Hybrid Core powers millions of Web sites around the globe. That number should, hopefully, grow even more with this theme release.
I also wanted to do some of those “premium” features you often see in commercial WordPress themes. However, I didn’t like the idea of those things locking you into using just my theme forever. If you decide to change themes, that’s your decision. Therefore, I made several plugins throughout the year that Stargazer supports but also work with almost any WordPress theme:
- Custom Background Extended: Per-post/page custom backgrounds.
- Custom Header Extended: Per-post/page custom headers.
- Grid Columns: Allows you to create columnized content.
- Whistles: Easy-to-manage tabs, toggles, and accordions.
It also supports my Clean My Archives plugin if you’re interested in having a nice-looking archives page.
Who was this theme created for?
Well, anyone is more than welcome to use it. However, I had several distinct groups in mind when creating it:
- Regular Users: If you don’t know the first thing about code, then this theme is for you. You’ll have some limited but easy-to-use and powerful features for customizing the look of your site.
- Non-English Users: If you blog in a non-English language, including right-to-left languages such as Arabic, this theme is right up your alley. Features such as per-language stylesheets and functions files are even available.
- DIY Users: If you’re interested in tinkering around with HTML and template tags, this theme should make that much easier. You won’t have to dig through tons of confusing PHP just to make changes. Don’t know about hooks? No problem.
- Designers: If you got the skillz and can make some truly unique designs within a defined canvas, this theme should interest you.
WordPress theme features
Unless I overlooked something, this theme utilizes every WordPress theme feature available such as custom headers, backgrounds, the theme customizer, and more. Instead of introducing new ideas that users are unfamiliar with, I tried my best to stick with just the features that WordPress offers to theme authors out of the box.
Sure, there are some theme-specific options in the theme customizer and such, but everything should look and feel as natural as any other WordPress feature. There’s no need to worry about figuring out some crazy theme options system that you’ve never seen before.
This also means that the theme is plug-n-play. You can start using it without any setup if you want (though you might want to at least configure things like widgets and menus, of course).
I even went as far as creating 5 different and unique custom space-themed headers and 2 custom backgrounds that you can use (maybe more on the way). Plus, child themes can add their own.
Like all themes here at Theme Hybrid, this theme fully supports child themes. This site began on the idea of child themes, so this theme isn’t any different.
There are a number of child themes in the works and some that are currently available. We even have some Christmas and holiday designs coming up.
Throughout this week, depending on how child theme authors are doing, I should be announcing a number of child themes on the blog. But, you can always find all of Stargazer’s child themes on the Stargazer theme page.
I said in the original announcement post about this theme, that it was possible to build a child theme in under half an hour. While I had not actually put that theory to the test when I said it, I still believed it. So, I created a custom child theme in about 22 minutes (though I later added more details).
Get the theme
I could continue writing for another 2,000 or 3,000 words about how awesome I think this theme is. I could tell you about this theme’s unique handling of all post formats. It’s multiple layout choices. The complete integration with Schema.org microdata. But, I’m going to stop now and let you find out all these things on your own by actually using the theme.
Like all themes here, Stargazer is made available for $free and is 100% open source. It should soon be available via the WordPress.org theme repository. Please ask any support questions on the support forums. I hope you enjoy this theme as much as I enjoyed making it.
Also, be sure to stay tuned into the blog for announcement posts about the upcoming child themes for Stargazer.