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What is the future of Thematic?

(87 posts)
  1. Hi everybody,

    @Helga & Scott - Thank you both.

    Sorry for my absence. It's been the result of being super busy and suffering from life & project fatigue. Moving Thematic to the new site stalled as a result also.

    - I'm trying to hit the ground running and pick up where I left off with the migration to the Thematic's new home.

    - Please keep in mind that introducing new features to Thematic in the short term will make it harder to actually get a new release in the WP theme repo. Anyone serious about contributing to the future of Thematic should familiarize themselves with the official Theme Review process. Those guidelines and requirements are central to this project and they are constantly evolving.

    Hot of the presses: I just made one big commit to the project that hardens security in the theme options code. Anyone who can help should checkout the latest svn (r777 at the time of this post) and test the new theme options for bugs *not* features. Also help testing the filters and overrides for the child-theme customized options would be super-awesome. If the project owners like the direction the options code is headed we'll submit for WP Repo theme review asap.

    Happy New Year!

    Posted 10 years ago #
  2. middlesister

    I have a suggestion to make. While we all seem to be waiting for the doc/wiki to take place, something that could make a difference is adding phpdoc documentation to the code. Something like:

     * Gets the content of the post.
     * Determines whether to use the full length or excerpt of a post and displays it. Post thumbnails are included on
     * excerpt posts.
     * If you want to change this completely, make a function called childtheme_override_content()
     * in your child theme's functions.php. If you only want to change some parts, use filters and hooks.
     * @uses apply_filters Calls thematic_post_thumbs to decide whether or not to show post thumbnails. Default is true.
     * @uses apply_filters Calls thematic_post_thumb_size on the thumbnail size
     * @uses apply_filters Calls thematic_post_thumb_attr on the thumbnail attributes
     * @uses apply_filters Calls thematic_post before displaying the content
    if (function_exists('childtheme_override_content'))  {
    	function thematic_content() {
    } else {
    	function thematic_content() {
    	// function continues here

    I know, it would be a serious undertaking but I think it would help people not used to reading code but not afraid to get their hands dirty. It puts all the filters in one readable place and explains what they do and what the function does. Each file could also in the file phpdoc explain that you don't copy this file, use a child theme etc. Maybe also with a sample filter function or link to the future wiki explanation.

    I am willing to help with this, and I think a good place to start would be content-extensions.php since that is where most people seem to start when they customize things.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  3. Good suggestion. It'd be awesome if you could help docblock. Checkout the latest svn branch and look the theme-options.php. There you'll see my recent additions and docblocks.

    The best way for you to contribute is to submit a svn patch of the content-extensions.php

    Are you familiar with Subversion? If not can you become so? The codex gives a pretty straight forward instructional here:
    Basically all you need you need to do is checkout latest svn to a local directory, edit, and save the diff, then submit to the google code site for the project.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  4. middlesister

    Sure! I use git and git-svn. I already submitted a patch for thematic_tag_query() (fixed in rev755). I managed once so I should be able to do it again. ;)

    I didn't have a look at the latest svn until now. That is exactly what I had in mind. I will follow your lead regarding comment style. I guess we only need

    Function: thematic_opt_init
    Override: childtheme_override_opt_init

    when there is an override function, else not, right?

    I like Filter: thematic_filter_name, it's simpler and easier to read. I copied wordpress' core style above, but there's probably no need to be fabulously strict about all the @keywords. And I don't know how many Uses: thematic_function() will be needed either. Since the thematic functions all are prefixed with thematic_ they are easy to find.
    Should I put in any explanations of the filters, though? It could be useful but maybe there will be information overload.

    Unfortunately I can't put any @since tags because I haven't been around for very long. But I'll do what I can in the spare time I have. A function a day keeps the doctor away. :-)

    Posted 10 years ago #
  5. middlesister, can you give me a quick run down of how to make/upload a patch?

    Posted 10 years ago #
  6. middlesister

    Well I use Textmate as my editor and it's git and diff bundles makes it very easy to commit and make diffs straight from the editor. The diffs I uploaded so far has been made from two windows side by side (lazy me), but I can make a rundown on how to do it from the command line. I assume you are familiar with it.

    So, here goes. Assuming you have cloned thematic using

    git svn clone thematic-svn

    you have the latest svn in a folder called thematic-svn. The very simplest thing to do is just to edit and save your work (not committing) and do a

    thematic-svn$ git diff HEAD > ~/your-patch.diff

    BUT, the diffs produced by git are not the same as expected by SVN, so they need some help to play nice together. Plus if what you want to do is a bit more complicated than changing just a few lines, it might be better to structure things up a bit. I found some good information in and

    So, setup your git-svn-diff script as per the article, make sure it is in your path and executable etc etc. Somehow curl didn't work for me so I went to mark's github and copy-pasted the script.

    Now, the latest svn copy will be in the master branch. For your own work, create a topic branch.

    thematic-svn[master]$ git checkout -b myadditions

    This way, the master always contains a clean copy from svn. And you can create as many topic branches as you like, ideally one for each bug or feature you are working on. Here, do whatever you like on as many files you like. Commit your work as normal. If you want to update to the latest svn do

    thematic-svn[master]$ git svn rebase
    thematic-svn[master]$ git checkout myadditions
    thematic-svn[myadditions]$ git rebase master

    And when you are ready do make a patch, make sure you are up-to-date with the commands above and finish with

    thematic-svn[myadditions]$ git svn-diff > ~/your-fabulous-patch.diff

    Phew! That's it! Your diff is ready to upload.

    I should probably eat my own dogfood and re-upload proper svn patches, hehe. :-P Let me know if you have any troubles and I'll see if I can help.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  7. thanks middlesister! i feel badly though, as i use tortoisesvn and did manage to save a patch. i find command line is too geeky even for me. mostly, i just can't remember commands. now i just don't know what to do with said patch!? i am ready for some face palmage as i don't see any bright pink buttons on the google code site that say 'upload patch here moron'.

    additionally, do you make a different branch for every thing you work on?

    Posted 10 years ago #
  8. middlesister

    Oh don't feel bad. I am the über geek(ess) and sometimes find command line easier than some GUIs. And then tend to forget that most people find it very obscure and/or unnecessary complicated.

    To actually upload a patch, well when you are logged in to google code you need to start an issue or answer one that already exists. Underneath the description textarea there is a small blue link (not a bright pink button I'm afraid) that says Attach a file. Choose your file and upload it.

    Face, meet palm. :-)

    And yes, I more or less do. I sort of follow the git-flow workflow ( The master branch is always in a production ready state, the develop branch is where, eh, development goes and named topic branches comes from and merges back to develop for different features. That way I can try two ways of accomplishing the same thing (or try different layouts, or color schemes) in separate branches without losing any work. If I see something that needs fixing across the board, it goes straight into develop so I can pull the change to the topic branches. Topic branches are killed and merged to develop when the feature is finished. When I am happy with the whole thing, or deem things good enough, I merge develop into master but keep develop going on for future enhancements.

    Sounds more complicated than it is, but it satisfies my anal need for structure. And most of the work is done by the git-flow scripts and from the Textmate editor. I even put wordpress in a git repo that I clone for each local install so I can upgrade once and to a git pull to copy the changes. And themes in submodules so I can test in several wp-installs and pull latest theme edits from the same central repo. But then again I am geek to the bone.

    The next step is to set things up so I can do a "git push servername" and have a commit hook on server to automatically checkout the files to the live site for easy updates. Oooh, that's geeky that is!

    Posted 10 years ago #
  9. bows. and i thought i was a geek.

    i made a patch! i made a patch! it only changes one variable name, but whatever. i'm sure i didn't do the branch thing correctly. i checked out the thematic repo, but then nothing i could do w/ tortoise seemed to let me create a local branch. oh well. Git and SVN is a lot to get my brain around all at once.

    your topic branch explanation was quite helpful actually. next will be to actually DO it.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  10. middlesister

    Yeah, git and svn are two different beasts altogether. Branching the way I described will almost certainly not work with svn. I have concentrated on git so I don't know much else about svn but I do know their branching model is completely different. I guess tortoise is a proper svn client, while what I am doing is pulling the files into a git repo and work as if it never was anything else. Unfortunately I don't know windows but there must be some good git GUIs around. For mac there is GitX.

    Congrats on your first patch! Geek cred to you!

    Posted 10 years ago #
  11. well someone ported tortoise to git, and called it.... tortoisegit. so i have that too. will check out the article on using git for svn. makes me want guacamole.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  12. Helga,

    Thanks for the patch. I'll commit it today. Thanks for catching that.


    The docblock format is still a work in progress. Yep, I was trying to increase readability... but a the expense of the standard. I just installed phpDocumentor locally and making a second pass at them now with a try at marrying standards with inline readability.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  13. middlesister

    Hm, well if we want to make it machine readable as well then I think we need a bit different approach. Put @ignore tags on all the duplicate override functions to remove those documentor errors for example. And then @uses would be handy for the cross references. I don't know if this is the place for that discussion. I will upload a patch with a suggestion to google code and we can take it from there.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  14. Yeah Google code is the place...

    Also look at the latest volley of commits. Focus was mainly on documentation. Page level blocks were added across the whole theme. Works well with documenter as far as I can see. Decent organization.

    Theres plenty of function level blocks left to do. Lets recap on google code.


    Posted 10 years ago #
  15. Ha... I just looked at the errors.html for the first time. I see what you mean.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  16. Anyone interested in code documentation:

    Posted 10 years ago #
  17. kwight

    Hey Thematic people!

    A year ago I secured the domain because, well, it was suddenly available. If you would like me to point it somewhere (or simply turn it over to one of you, paid for another year), just let me know.

    Great to see things moving forward!

    Posted 10 years ago #
  18. Hi Kirk,

    Sorry for not responding to you regarding earlier. Thematic will be moving to a new domain. When it is launched you could point .info over there.

    Also we could use the help if you're able to contribute in other ways.

    If you're still using Thematic or interested in shaping the future of it, your voice is welcome. Thematic will be submitting to theme review soon and an extra set of eyes on the latest svn branch is always welcome. The google code site is there for reporting bugs including ones involving guideline compliance.

    Thanks - Gene

    Posted 10 years ago #
  19. Dominor Novus

    Glad to see the minds at Thematic are pioneering and correctly forecasting the trends for WordPress:


    At the start of 2008, when creating a premium WordPress theme was frowned upon, Ian Stewart wrote this in a post:

    It’s prediction time: The premium WordPress theme phenomenon has approximately one year left before collapsing entirely, leaving a rather large hole between completely free WordPress themes and custom themes $1500 and up. If you’ve got a “premium” WordPress theme waiting in the wings, I advise releasing it sooner rather than later. As in, now.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  20. nimmolo

    I'm glad to read all the recent(-ish) activity here, and I want to say that first of all I appreciate all the unpaid labors of the people who have helped me and others on this forum, as well as the paid labors of Ian Stewart, a very clever fellow. I've learned a lot from Thematic's structure, I've made a few good sites and I've also put a little food on the table with my work in Thematic.

    Having said that I do not ultimately buy the argument that Thematic development is at a standstill because no one is paid to work on it. Ian Stewart afaik is employed by Wordpress to develop themes all day! The fact that this project can barely get a how-do-you-do from him, even with basic issues on a theme used by 10's of thousands, should have been (to me at least!) an obvious indicator of its dead-letter status. I guess I didn't want to see it.

    Of course Chris and Gene became exhausted working on it!

    What I don't understand, other than our very human resistance to changing habits and learning an entirely new framework, is why there hasn't been some sort of a consensus here - or at the very least a few suggestions of good alternatives - about moving to an actively-developed framework where we could all be putting our efforts. It's a full year and 3 months since the latest DEV release of Thematic!!!!!!!!! Not counting subversions.

    And as I just posted elsewhere, that mysteriously-numbered dev release (is it 9.8 or 9.7.8?), after I oh-so-gingerly installed it, broke my childtheme layout.

    I like this framework a lot, and Helga the Viking is the most helpful person I've ever encountered in any forum anywhere, but... what are we all smoking here?

    OTOH, I look forward to at least trying out whatever you guys have been cooking, you're great. But where in all this is the guy who started it, and is paid to do this? How can supporting a very popular theme framework not be a priority for the lead theme developer at Wordpress, when it is after all kinda his claim to fame?

    Posted 10 years ago #
  21. Nimolo, I share your frustration. This is sadly the trade off with community driven open source projects. Sometimes they just die. Being a Linux user I've come to accept that and let it be what it is.

    There are some things progressing with Thematic but I'm not too much on the up-and-up about it. So I'll let the others with better knowledge of it comment.

    Like you, I love Thematic and will use it as long as I possibly can.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  22. Something super wonky is going on with the forums. If I post this, it will send, yet, I have tried top copy and paste out of notepad a response I wrote some time back and every time I have done so, it will not accept the post.

    Let me see if this post accepts....then I will try again.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  23. Right...if I do this sentence for sentence I seem to get it posted...

    What I have not seen in these posts, and maybe I missed it, is some kind of project plan to get from A to B. Do we have open source project plan (Agile) software installed somewhere where everyone can collaborate?

    We then need someone with strong project management skills to identify everyone's strengths and weaknesses so that we can assign them to different tasks in the project management tasks and milestones software.

    Direct Sponsor to me seems to have given this a lot of thought and would be my natural choice if his strength is project management and if he is up to the task?

    I'm looking at the Google Code documentation and from a total beginner's point of view it once again looks messy even though I know this is a work in progress. (Perhaps this should only be open to a select few working on the project, else it may cause even more confusion?)

    My suggestions:

    1. Decide where the new home of Thematic is going to be. (I see talks of becoming the permanent home, is that finalised?)
    2. Install open source project management software on that domain.
    3. Assign someone with strong project management skills to the task of delegation.
    4. Identify all the issues/tasks we currently have in the online project management tool.
    5. Identify contributors strengths and weaknesses.
    6. Assign contributors to these different tasks in order of priority.
    7. Set up milestones for when these tasks will be completed given the amount of resources available.

    Again, if I may have overlooked the plan somewhere in these posts forgive me.


    (seems some of the links I posted were the culprit in the post)

    Posted 10 years ago #
  24. ----------------------------------------

    Hello All -

    I wanted to take a moment to reply to the excellent outline SixFootJames posted -- 2 months ago -- and to which no-one has stepped up for a reply. The short answer, which I will elaborate on, is that no-one is stepping forward, so in the best spirit of open source... it's up to us.

    Now, first I will tell you my background. My company Webdirexion LLC (formerly WebFadds), has built commercial child themes with Thematic for around 3 years. We owe a debt of gratitude to the originators (Thanks again Ian and Chris), and loyal supporters who help people here on this board (Gene, Kathy and others), so we also built the site (back from a hack attack) with references, tutorials, and a gallery of themes created with Thematic. This site aims to support the community via training, news, and recognition of both leaders and great child themes. Below, I will state my commitment to a Thematic upgrade.


    1. Decide where the new home of Thematic is going to be. (I see talks of becoming the permanent home, is that finalised?)
    --> That was an older suggestion, then Gene had a new idea for a home, but Gene has dropped off the radar. I will donate hosting space, if needed. I suggest we post suggested sites, then vote as a community and move, move MOVE.

    2. Install open source project management software on that domain.
    --> Great. I assume you will help with that James? I will also donate a project manager we use for our company projects if you like -- see:

    --> The new site can have three basic links on the homepage to get started: Thematic Learning (wiki, tutorials) | Thematic Help & Discussion | Thematic PROJECT (the project manager, SVN, and Milestone Calendar). I will help build this site, if the community wishes.

    3. Assign someone with strong project management skills to the task of delegation.
    --> James? I can also help with communication of same.

    4. Identify all the issues/tasks we currently have in the online project management tool.
    --> Note that there is an SVN repository for the project now, and Ian, Gene, and I believe Chris hold the keys. Let's set up the team, pick the lead programmer and project manager and get going.

    5. Identify contributors strengths and weaknesses.
    --> We have a number here, and I will also bring at least one PHP programmer that has skills better than my own to the project. We CAN do this.

    6. Assign contributors to these different tasks in order of priority.
    --> The more I read how you think about this, James, I would nominate you for project manager.

    7. Set up milestones for when these tasks will be completed given the amount of resources available
    --> I use a paid Project Management software that is excellent for our company projects... I know you said "open source" for same, James, but I am willing to donate a project in this software to get going, keep it on track, and GET IT DONE (can you tell I am anxious too?)


    I'm committed, and a number of others are. But I am not a scratch PHP programmer. We need a leader who will commit to 3-6 months work for this.

    Here is my commitment to the community:

    * I will help with CSS programming
    * I will help facilitate using a screenshare/conference call app I have
    * I will continue to write tutorials
    * I will publish dates, and help communicate on the boards
    * I will bring experienced programmers to also help
    * I will continue to publish support tutorials, recognize leaders, and show site examples at
    * I will help build and host the new Thematic site

    I look forward to working with you all to make this happen soon.

    CONSIDER THIS A CALL FOR LEAD PHP PROGRAMMER FOR THEMATIC. If more than one replies, we can vote as a community with guidance from Ian, Chris, and Gene (if they are still interested).

    Cheers -

    Posted 10 years ago #
  25. Whoops... for the Project Manager software, that's

    Posted 10 years ago #
  26. Hellooooooooooooooo -

    Is there a Lead Programmer around that can tell us what the upgrade philosophy (ie. "responsive" programming for mobile devices), milestones and calendar dates are? Where is everyone?

    If Gene, Chris, and Ian have abdicated, then I say let's step up as a community and move this project forward.

    - Scott

    Posted 10 years ago #
  27. The future of Thematic is here:

    Please join us over there.

    Posted 10 years ago #

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