Theme Lab Will Live On
It’s been a long time since I last updated Theme Lab – over five months, so where do I start? First of all, yes, I am still alive. I apologize for just disappearing without a trace like that. That was unacceptable, although I’m not using this post to shower you with excuses. Let’s just say that I had some more important offline endeavors that needed to be focused on for a while.
Second of all, I’d like to thank those of you who stuck around. Strangely, my subscriber numbers steadily increased, eventually breaking the 1k barrier, after I stopped posting. Anyway…
The first part of this post will be a roundup of sorts. I’ll be reviewing some of the recent happenings in the WordPress and theming community while I was gone. The second part will discuss my future plans for this site.
What I Missed
A lot happened in the past five or so months, so I’ll be breaking this down into a few categories so it’s easier to digest.
WordPress Releases – The next release after 2.6.3 was a 2.6.5 version. So what happened to 2.6.4? Apparently WordPress never released a version 2.6.4 to avoid confusion with a “fake” WordPress making the rounds.
On December 11, 2008, the long-awaited WordPress 2.7 was released. Just a couple months later, the first maintenance release, 2.7.1, was released to fix a few bugs. As always, you can pick up the latest version of WordPress from the download page.
Theme Releases – The release of WordPress 2.7 was accompanied by a flurry of awesome theme releases and updates. Obviously I can’t cover all of those, so I’ll just mention a few of the more notable ones.
One of my favorite themes, Thematic, recently updated to version 0.9. It’s sporting a brand new, more minimalistic look with a bunch of new features, such as drop-down menus. There have been a bunch of new Thematic child themes released recently as well, one of my favorites being A Simple Love by Hafiz of WPLover.
WooThemes, mostly known for their high-quality “premium” WordPress themes, have also released some very nice free ones in the recent months. Irresistible is an absolutely amazing theme. It’s great for a personal website, and comes with 9 different color schemes to choose from. This one reminds me of the Agregado theme I reviewed a while back.
WordPress Plugins – The plugin releases over the past few months have been, in my opinion, pretty ordinary. One not-so-ordinary plugin, however, really caught my eye. It’s called Template Tag Shortcodes by Justin Tadlock. Basically, this lets you use template tags in a “shortcode” form in your posts and pages. I’d imagine it would come in handy for a number of things you wouldn’t normally be able to do.
WordPress Community – The WordPress Community seems to be as strong as ever. While I was gone, two brand new (unofficial) WordPress community forums have been launched. The first, WP Forums, was announced by my good friend Kyle Eslick last November 2008. Might I add, wpforums.com is probably the single best domain name one could possibly use to launch an unofficial forum for WordPress. The second can be found over at WordPress Tavern, created by WordPress community rockstar – Jeff Chandler. WP Tavern also seems to be the new home for the WordPress weekly podcast. My username will be “Leland” over at those two sites if you want to look me up.
In official WordPress community news, the WordPress team have released WordPress.tv, your visual resource for all things WordPress. At the moment it seems to have a ton of how-to video tutorials for both WordPress.com blogs and self-hosted WP blogs. There is also a lot of WordCamp footage as well, in case you’re interested in watching the various interviews, presentations, and other WordCamp-related stuff.
Future Plans for Theme Lab
So what should you expect from Theme Lab in the future? You can expect more themes, more tutorials, more reviews, more videos, and more tips.
Theme Updates – The main problem with having released so many themes up until now, almost 100, is it makes it tough to do major updates. Even though all the themes should still work with WordPress 2.7, as of now, they don’t have features such as threaded commenting. I’ll be updating the themes to work with 2.7 one at a time, prioritizing the most popular themes first. If anyone knows of any links to good tutorials on updating themes for 2.7, feel free to let me know in the comments.
Future Themes – As of right now, the plan is to have all future themes compatible with WordPress 2.7+ only. That means, no backwards compatibility to previous versions. There will be a mix of “unique” themes, as well as ported themes from various free templates from across the web. Here are a few I have my eye on:
If anyone has any suggestions for template ports, I’d be happy to hear them. Also if you have designs of your own you’d like me to possibly port, I’d consider that as well.
Again, I’m sorry for vanishing into thin air like that. If I missed any super-important WordPress-related news that wasn’t covered above, I would greatly appreciate it if you would let me know in the comments. Now, please excuse me while a moderate about 800 comments.