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The Best of Theme Lab in 2009

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Happy New YearIt’s been a great year for Theme Lab, the community, and WordPress in general. We’ve seen a number of innovations, such as the Builder theme by iThemes. We’ve seen some cool new WordPress-related sites like WP Questions and WP Chat.

Being the end of the year, I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight some of the best content here at Theme Lab this past year. Without further ado…

Add a Widgetized Footer to Your WordPress Theme – A step-by-step tutorial on how to add a widgetized footer to (almost) any theme. Includes HTML, CSS, and WordPress code examples.

Gallery WordPress Theme Review – Gallery is a free Thematic child theme designed by Chris Wallace. It was no doubt one of the most stunning free theme releases of the year. In my theme review I went over the features and how to use them.

Are Free WordPress Themes Dead? – This post of mine was a response to a post at WPShout entitled Free WordPress Themes? Forget it. It’s Over. Basically, I disagreed that all free WordPress themes were dead, but rather lame, boring themes were (as they should be).

Jungleland – Free WordPress Theme – Speaking of lame and boring themes, Jungleland certainly is not one of those. Designed by Styleshout, I took the template and ported it to WordPress with custom thumbnail support and a whole lot of widgetized areas. It was featured on one of Smashing Magazine’s recent free theme roundups.

Newsworthy – Free WordPress Theme – This is a free news/magazine theme designed by DemusDesign. I took the template and ported it to WordPress, again with custom thumbnail support and even more widgetized areas than Jungleland.

Interview with the Owner of Premium Mod – Of course, how could I not mention this now “infamous” interview with the owner of Premium Mod? What started out as a relatively straightforward interview with someone who re-released modified commercial themes for free, erupted into a gigantic GPL fight in the comments.

Stop Downloading WordPress Themes from Shady Sites – In this enlightening post, I go over the issue with encrypted/malicious code in distributed WordPress themes. There’s also a video which shows how the sites with top rankings in Google for keywords like “free wordpress themes” tend to have encrypted code in their themes.


Although this isn’t really “content” per se, I thought the new Theme Lab design was also worth mentioning, which was introduced earlier this December.

Hope you all had a good 2009. For the upcoming year, I’d like to hear what you’d like to see on Theme Lab in 2010. More free theme releases, WordPress tips/tutorials, theme reviews, videos/screencasts?

Sound off in the comments. And of course, happy new year!

  • Calítoe.:.

    Wasn’t Themelets open in 2009 too? I find it to be a great idea, but I would say I miss some more content more often there. Just a thought.

    I like your ports into WordPress a lot, so more of those would be great. :) If more of them were elastic (using min/max-width) I would get very happy, because I usually have to adapt designs to work in several screen widths.

    I also think that some BuddyPress themes would be more than interesting, but I guess those are far more complicated. I haven’t even tried myself.

    Anyway, I’m very happy of what I’ve been seen here so far (except the fact that you disappeared for a while without any warning ^^)). Thanks a lot for your efforts and for your generosity!

    • Leland

      Ah you’re right, I did launch Themelets this year. Forgot to mention that. :P

      I definitely have some more WordPress ports in store. As for BuddyPress themes, I think I’ll wait a bit until the theming system is a bit simpler.

      Hopefully I won’t be disappearing any time soon without any warning again. :D

  • Keith

    More free themes!

    I myself don’t really like reading tutorials and stuff, I’m not really a reading person.

    I’d love some really NEW ideas for WordPress themes. Revolutionize the theme. Lots of unique stuff :D

    Here’s to another year!

    • Leland

      Yeah I understand some are just interested for the free themes and not much else. In fact 90% of the traffic here probably comes for the free themes.

      Regardless I’d still like to mix it up a little bit for the remaining 10% with tutorials, theme reviews, etc.

      Not to worry though, there will be some cool free themes coming out of Theme Lab this year. :)

  • Pete

    Great effort Leland… we all thought you were kidnapped by terrorists there for a while (I know… you escaped like Ironman did in the movie). So well done on defeating the baddies and letting good prevail… oh and cheers for all the WordPress stuff too.

    • Leland

      Thanks Pete. Not quite sure how accurate that story is though, lol. :P

  • RamblingSoul

    Quiet an eventful year for saw some of the greatest WP themes, articles etc. best wishes for a great new year :)

    • Leland

      Thanks a lot Roshan, appreciate it! Hope you have a great year over at RamblingSoul as well.

  • Texoom

    Thanks a lot for your themes
    I use your theme called Basic
    and I find it very nice
    Thanks :)