Update #3 on My WordPress Adventure: Miscellaneous Findings

I eliminated Roots from consideration because it feels just a tad on the geeky side to me from a preliminary investigation.

You have to config the thing through a config.php file and you have to edit another PHP file to  setup custom navigation menus and post thumbnail sizes.

That’s two too many PHP files that must be touched for my taste.

I also eliminated Thematic for a similar reason. So I’m down to Bones and Foundation assuming I go the bare-bones starter route.

I wish there were some standards or conventions to define how themes are to be modified and extended. For example, some themes have all their contents in the library folder, others in the standard WP places. Some themes don’t even have a functions.php file but instead have two files: one called source-functions.php and one called custom-functions.php. Without study, it’s not possible as far as I can tell to determine which loads first and thus is overridden by the other, or precisely which one to use for custom functions we want to add. All of this may exist in WP Lore somewhere, but it’s certainly not easily accessible.

If I end up deciding to go with a fully-loaded theme, I have about decided to go with Catalyst. It  has a staggering array of things I can control via a property-sheet style interface and the notion of using a Dynamik as a Theme with dozens of “skins” creates a looser coupling between design and implementation. I’m somehow more comfortable with that notion.

At the moment, however, it seems likely I’ll settle on a minimalist theme over a decent lightweight framework or starter theme because the sense of lock-in I get from heavy-duty themes and tools like Catalyst is a bit too restrictive.

I have ruled out the major drag-and-drop theme approaches. None of them is quite what I’d like to see yet and, as with heavy-duty starter themes and frameworks, I’m just leery of the sense of closed-in restrictiveness that comes along as part of the gestalt.

At the moment, Elegant Builder is leading the pack for the drag-and-drop part of the story and as far as I can tell, I can implement it on just about any theme by anyone, which gives it another big plus.

I’m down to choosing a bare-bones theme to accompany EB. Bones is feeling a little too bare-bones. I feel sort of adrift on it. So I’m spending this evening and tomorrow morning running Foundation through its paces before making this choice. Elegant Themes’ Minimal is still very much in the running as well. I have a feeling this one’s going to come down to personal preference and taste rather than winning feature sets.

Then it will be Truth Time as I’ll have to make a decision between the two remaining combinations:

  • bare-bones starter theme or framework with EB for drag-and-drop layout of the easy stuff;
  • Catalyst (with the open remaining question of whether I can make EB work in Catalyst)


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