Theme Developers, Learn to Steal the Right Way!

I’ve talked about this on WPTavern before, but Leland’s tweet made me feel that we should talk about this more.

Remember when LogoMaid ripped of Dan Cederholm’s logo? Everybody pretty much agreed that that was illegal. And so imagine my surprise knowing that there are WordPress themes that are direct copies of Twitter, of Facebook, of Basecamp, and what have you. Heck, we even have a theme describing itself as “The exact Facebook clone theme for WordPress” in the official Theme Directory. This I believe is a case worse than the LogoMaid issue.

No clone themes, please.

Please stop this. The freedom in GPL does not mean the freedom to steal copyrighted design. Stop making clones of popular websites and turning them into WordPress themes. It doesn’t matter if you release it only for personal use, or under GPL, if you code the CSS yourself, if you painstakingly recreate the graphic elements in Photoshop. It’s still, as Ryan Hellyer puts it, “illegal, immoral, and unethical.”

Instead of doing that, go and read this article by Cameron Moll, “Good Designers Copy, Great Designers Steal“, and learn how to “steal” a design in a much better (and ethical) way. Learn what makes them work, and improve it:

This article wouldn’t be complete without a warning to be careful when copying well-known sources. If I were to summarize this warning in one sentence, this would be my golden verbiage: copy the inspiration, not the outcome.

Or teach us. Write an article on how you do that AJAX load more posts wizardry. Or how to make that rounded corner work on every browser. Show us how to recreate your favorite website’s cool feature in WordPress.

Now that will be awesome.

Update: Another discussion is up at Theme Lab, WordPress Clone Themes – Your Take?

The Sandbox is dead; long live the Sandbox

Sandbox, A piece of WordPress history is no longer being developed. Sandbox was the theme framework before the term “theme framework” is as widespread as it is now.

Weightshift’s WordPress 2.7 Dashboard Concept

This concept by Weightshift is old but still great: the concept is very similar functionality-wise to the one we have today, but I really dig the visual direction. I wonder if it’s okay to take this design and make an admin skin out of it?

When Your WordPress Blog Gets Hacked

There are plenty of security best practice articles out there, but what to do when your WordPress installation is already hacked? Here’s an awesomely comprehensive post.

Redesigning the Undersigned

Simon Collison redesigns his blog and chronicles the process. Forget all those design trend articles and just take a look at his superb creation.

Andreas Viklund’s site is for sale

Known for his famous WordPress themes that undoubtedly give him ton of backlinks, his PageRank 9 site is now for sale with a BIN of $250,000. Worth checking out even if just to see the statistics.

300&65 Ampersands

This is beautiful. Couldn’t resist linking.

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The Week in WordPress: 2nd Week of November, 2012

Ghost, Rethinking WordPress. Also don’t miss the discussion over at Hacker News.

For The Aspiring Professional WordPress Developer is a collection of good advices for those wanting to be a WordPress pro.

Recently I had the task of cloning a WordPress site both to my local server and to another development server that I host. The Duplicator plugin has been a massive help for me, makes cloning really simple and fast. Highly recommended.

Classy Plugins

Eric Mann uses classes in his non object-oriented WordPress code. Here’s why.

Playing Nice with the “the_content” Filter

This great article could be useful if for some reason you have a need to filter the_content in your theme.

Google Goes After Links In WordPress Themes

New post from the Search Engine Roundtable: Someone “…received a response from Google to a reconsideration request that the only way his site will be reincluded in Google is if he removes all or most of the links in those WordPress themes.” The problem is that those links are in the form of sponsored links on footer (a practice I saw a lot in the past, not so much in the present).

I don’t think it will be easy, or even possible, to do what Google requested. If a theme contains an upgrade notification feature it might be possible to do, but even then the users might choose not to upgrade.

Secondly, if this is true, I wonder whether Google differentiates between credit links (“Designed by…”) and sponsored links. I would say they should, but then again I’m not a SEO guy.

Theme Options Gallery

New favorite blog: Theme Options Gallery by Konstantin Kovshenin, discussing “the best (and the worst) theme options screens around”. Loving the in-depth article and discussions already available there.

Dive into Responsive Prototyping with Foundation

Pretty safe to say that if it shows up on A List Apart, it’s going to be the de facto standard. Time to learn some Foundation.

Google HTML/CSS Style Guide

Couple of days ago we got Starbucks’ style guide, and now here’s another by Google. I think the interesting thing is the rule to “\[o\]mit the protocol from embedded resources“. So instead of typing <script src="http://www.google.com/js/gweb/analytics/autotrack.js"></script>, they recommend to type <script src="//www.google.com/js/gweb/analytics/autotrack.js"></script> instead (without the http part). Never heard of that before.

“I Woke Up but My Server Wasn’t There”

Robb Shecter’s WordPress site got popular overnight thanks to Reddit and went down immediately. The interesting aspect is that the site was new and it’s on a relatively high-powered server. The author then found that the theme he used in particular was doing too many (47!) server requests at a time, and the site ran along very well after switching back to Twenty Eleven.

I think it’s an important read for any theme developers out there.

Read the story here

Modern Web Development – Part I: The Webkit Inspector

A superbly detailed article, part one of a series about web development toolchain.

Crayon Syntax Highlighter plugin

I’ve always been on the hunt for that perfect syntax highlighter plugin. Currently I’m using WP-Syntax, which does its job very well. However I’ve just found this plugin called Crayon Syntax Highlighter, which could be a good contender for the best WordPress syntax highlighter plugin out there.

It looks good, and I like the little toolbar on top of the code box, with the small icons. Additionally, it also offers a lot of customization options. Lastly, it seems to support the same pre tags to wrap the code, similar WP-Syntax, so if I do make the switch, my old codes will still be highlighted correctly.

Starbucks Style Guide

The Starbuck website has its own style guide, accessible for public. I think its a neat idea, wouldn’t it be cool if themes have their own style guide? Pretty sure it will be helpful both to users or developers alike, if time consuming to write.

Also, I wonder what they use for the various toggles panel on the top right corner like on this page. It shows background, baseline, boxes, can be used to change windows size as well. Looks like it’s custom coded, imagine how super useful it can be if it’s a jQuery plugin.

NHP Theme Options Framework

I love theme options frameworks. And I want you guys to check this new framework called NHP. It passes my “does its UI look like the rest of WordPress enough?” test (screenshots here), it has tons of field types, and even offer validations, too.

Can’t wait to test and probably use it too in my to-be-released theme hint hint

What Dev4Press thinks WordPress needs…

This post at Dev4Press outlines what MillaN, its author, thinks would be a necessary addition to WordPress.

Based on the comments, it appears that a lot of people agree with this list. Some of the items mentioned can be achieved with plugins (e.g Tax Meta Class to add meta data to taxonomy items, Custom Post Types Relationships for, well, creating custom post type relationships), so expect there to be a bunch of debates about what should and shouldn’t go to the core.

I like his list, but I disagree with his assessment that we don’t need new core themes. We do, especially to bring about the standard for how a theme options should be designed. This is the aspect that desperately needs to be standardized. Different theme companies and individual theme designers have their own idea of how the theme option UI should look, and it’s hurting the users.

Upgrading from WordPress 1.5

I recently spotted this interesting Ask Metafilter thread where user gd779 tries to find a way to upgrade his old, WordPress 1.5 install. One of the answer is pretty detailed:

I think the right approach is going to be:

  1. Do a full backup of your WordPress files
  2. Do a full database backup (mysql dump using phpMyAdmin or similar)

Then, from your 1.5.2 install:

  1. Upgrade to 2.0
  2. Upgrade to 2.5.1
  3. Upgrade to 3.0
  4. Upgrade to 3.3.1

It is quite fascinating thinking about the solution to this. There’s an official Codex page called Updating WordPress, but it doesn’t seem to go that far back in time.

Smashing Special: What’s Going On In The WordPress Economy?

Siobhan McKeown wrote this awesome, birds-eye view of the whole WordPress economy. Make sure to read this two-part article so you know what’s up with WordPress and identify what opportunity lies ahead.

I agree with Matt’s prediction on that article:

I think the next big opportunity is around agencies and consulting—there will be five to six companies as large as Automattic, just providing high-end consulting and services to the large customers who are adopting WordPress en masse.

Start with Part I of the article.

Automatic responsive images for WordPress

The one issue with creating responsive web design is in displaying images, especially getting the most appropriate size in a particular screen size. One solution for it is the Responsive-Enhance jQuery plugin. It works by loading small-sized images by default, then checks the screen size and loads the bigger version if necessary.

According to its creator, Josh Emerson:

This results in a faster perceived page load speed, but a slower actual speed. I’m happy with this solution as I care more about perceived speed than actual speed.

This tutorial by Keir Whitaker takes the whole thing further by teaching us how to apply Responsive-Enhance in WordPress.

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