WordPress Wizards Week: Day 5

After the astounding success of the Why WordPress series which ran last year, this week I’ll be asking five WordPress Wizards about what’s next for themes, WordPress and frameworks in what is a slightly more focused discussion than last time!


Today it’s Ian Stewart who has very recently joined Automattic as “Theme Wrangler”.

Recently commercial ‘frameworks’ have been increasing in number. Is the way forward a single all powerful theme that has pretty child themes?

Maybe. Probably not. All powerful Themes with pretty Child Themes are
a solution to a lot of Theme development problems (specifically, rapid
site development in a particular mode) but they can’t solve every

Often there will be a single feature that over a couple of months everyone adopts; what do you think it’ll be this year?

My wild guess is that this year we’ll see simplicity become a feature
in WordPress themes with the disappearance of ridiculously massive
options pages altogether. We’ll see the best WordPress Themes become
simpler and more focused.

“We’ll see simplicity become a feature in WordPress themes”

My easy, for sure guess? Integration with the super-cool new menu
management introduced in WordPress 3.0.

The commercial and free theme markets are filled with brilliant developers and designers. They’ve all got their own little corner and are turning out progressively better themes. Surely the WordPress community as a whole would benefit more from everyone joining forces? Can you ever see this happening?

But they already are! This is happening right now every time a cool
free Theme is released. No one has to literally join forces when they
free up the code behind their WordPress themes. And everyone that uses
WordPress really does benefit. It’s completely awesome.

The theme market is getting increasingly filled with new themes. What makes individual themes stand out?

I think most users look less for flashy designs and more for Themes
they can make their own. Themes they can see themselves in. It’s the
Themes that “disappear” that truly stand out.

What in 3.0 are you looking forward to working with?

Without a question, the new menu management. It solves a whole mess of
WordPress site development problems for Themers looking to create
robust, sustainable designs. There are also a few new Theme functions
coming that will make the rapid creation of solid Themes that much
easier. Oh, and the integration of WPMU. And the 2010 Default Theme,
of course! Lots of stuff, really.