Looking around the Web yesterday in a few minutes of free time between July 4th events, I found two sites that claim to have made a better theme/template system for WordPress:
I’m not the most tech-savvy dude in the world when it comes to php and css and all (witness my recent software crash), so I can’t say anything useful about what makes these theme systems actually work. But on the other hand, not being very able in the world of coding and web design, the potential these things have to do a lot of really slick things for a website — without requiring lots of arcane coding — makes me salivate.
As a sidenote, I think it’s interesting that WordPress’s tagline is “Code is poetry.” The word and the concept of poetry come from the ancient Greek poiein, “to make,” thence poiesis, a making (or a thing made). They’re thinkers, these WordPress folks. Very appropriate.
Also very unfortunate.
As a newcomer to the world of WordPress, I feel a bit like a college freshman might have felt if, fresh from high school honors English and all excited about the chance to talk literature, he were thrust into my favorite graduate seminar on the day I gave my presentation on the sociocultural implications, historical basis, and autobiographical elements of Lord Byron’s orientalist poem The Giaour. (A damn fine poem, by the way; you should read it.)
To put it another way, sometimes the WordPress people remind me of some of those authors whose writing is highly praised, but is either unpleasant or almost impossible to read (Joyce and Kafka come to mind). Fair enough, I suppose — there’s something to be said for poets/makers/writers/coders who refuse to be taken on any terms but their own — but if I’m not mistaken, the point of Web 2.0 (another tech coinage I hate…but that’s another blog post) is that it’s socially driven AND accessible to the masses.
WordPress’s proprietary hosting is fine and easy to use, but their product, despite its vaunted flexibility, leaves a lot to be desired if you’re not already a code-poet. (Speaking of which, am I the only one who has noticed how crappy most of the WordPress themes out there are? It either looks snazzy and is distinctly unfriendly to readers, or just looks clunky…or both. Another way WordPress is analogous to poetry, I guess.)
ANYWAY, to get back to where I started…
What wangenweb.com’s Wordpreciousss (love that name; somebody’s been reading Tolkien) and themeshaper.com’s Thematic products do is provide not just a WordPress theme, but a theme framework. You’ve still got to know a little bit of CSS and be savvy enough to create a new file or two on your server…but the key here is “a little bit.” That’s what has me excited.
If these things work as advertised, they could be the step that FINALLY turns WordPress into Web publishing platform that’s not only flexible and powerful, but accessible enough for nontechnical morons like me to make our own bit of poetry sing on the web. No more being locked into someone else’s bizarre color choice, pointless artiness, or clunky layout. (I might finally be able to invent my own bizarre, clunky look!)
If you haven’t taken a look at these, do it now. (You might be looking at Blog Ing through one of these theme frameworks soon anyway.)
And of course, tell me what you think.