[wp-hackers] Themes not all they should be?

David Chait davebytes at comcast.net
Tue Apr 12 06:01:40 GMT 2005

Heh.  I've been talking about that for a year.  I usually refer to it as a 
'nuke model', as the CMS systems out there are more likely to implement 
theming in a system where 'modules' plug in and display things in selected 
areas.  I've thought of doing a really-simple version of this with a custom 
theme + plugin, but...

I'd guess some would say that the 'module' approach leads to more 
cookie-cutter 'themes'.  With CSS and an eye for design (and some javascript 
here or there), you can make truly different looking sites, all with WP 
under the covers, but with an option to use a 'modular' approach to 
displayed content.  In a sense, themes right now encapsulate the basic 
main-content block plus the sidebar block(s).  Plugins can already 
manipulate post content to insert extra stuff into the 'main block' (though, 
actions for pre-/post-post content would help for simple prepend/append of 
related information).  Sidebars at the moment are the realm of html/php...

Now, the OTHER way to approach this topic is one of 'ease of use'.  I can't 
currently switch themes of a certain 'style' (let's say 2-col vs 3-col just 
as a starting point...), and instantly 'keep' the same base content and 
sidebar elements.  That's where the 'module' approach would help.  It'd also 
help as adding elements to a sidebar means editing php, and an 
"add/remove/move-up-down" interface would be oodles easier for the novice. 

The other benefit of the modules approach is in multi-user/hosted 
environments, where users don't need to know PHP at all (like blogger, LJ), 
or hosted versions of those or MT, et al.  Certainly, with many hosts 
installing WP for users, and the 'competition' generally being the no-code 
sites, every further step to remove needing to edit PHP makes it a much 
larger potential platform.

This is all, of course, IMHO. ;)  And it at some level goes back to the same 
old questions: what do the DEVS want to build, what do CURRENT users need, 
and what kind of FUTURE users/growth is desired.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Elliott Bäck" <ecb29 at cornell.edu>
To: <wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com>
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 10:12 PM
Subject: [wp-hackers] Themes not all they should be?

> Forgive me if this has come up before.  I just started my transition to WP 
> 1.5, and I was all excited about themes, until I realized that they were 
> just packaged, pluggable versions of the old wordpress layout ideology. 
> Snap in a layout, switch to another one, etc.  Instead, I was hoping that 
> what "themes" meant was an extendable set of data-regions stored centrally 
> that then filtered through the "view" of different themes.  For example, 
> say I want a sidebar, links, categories, posts, asides, and a custom 
> region called "my-picture-of-the-day."  Then, I had imagined that all 
> themes would then render my data regions as appropriate.
> Obviously this is not the behavior of 1.5, but is this model worth looking 
> into?
> -- 
> Thanks,
> Elliott C. Bäck
> 607-229-0623
> http://elliottback.com
> _______________________________________________
> wp-hackers mailing list
> wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
> http://lists.automattic.com/mailman/listinfo/wp-hackers

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