WordPress Adventure: Final Update and Wrap-Up

required+themeslogoWell, my one-week adventure to discover the best methodology and workflow for WordPress site development to suit my tastes, skills and needs, has ended after a minuscule time overrun of 200%. Tonight, I made the last decision I had left when I picked required+ Foundation for my starter theme / mini-framework. I had the hardest time with this last step, in part because I wanted to get it right and in part because the damn ground kept shifting under my feet.

First, I eliminated Reverie because the docs looked pretty sparse compared to roots and required+, the other two candidates.

Then I discovered that roots had dropped support for Foundation, which I’d spent a lot of time selecting over Twitter Bootstrap as the core platform for my work, and gone with…you guessed it!…Bootstrap instead.

Then I very nearly made a classic mistake and took the word of some Web folks that required+ Foundation — which I really liked a lot — was stuck at Foundation 3 and had no plans to upgrade to Foundation 4. But before I eliminated it on that basis, I read their support forum and found they were already at work on a new release that will in fact be built on Foundation 4.

The required+ codebase is readable, well documented, support seems sharp and responsive and I like the way they’ve integrated Foundation. As added bonuses, it is fully responsive out the gate and ships with a nicely crafted and documented blank child theme. I’ve spent about two hours rummaging through source code and I’m comfortable with their coding style and the amount of commenting they include.

Meanwhile, I made two additional minor changes to my workflow methodology based partly on a video I watched of CSS guru Chris Coyier describing his personal methodology.

I had indicated earlier that I would wait to adopt LESS or SCSS for CSS development but Chris convinced me I should incorporate that in my workflow immediately. He’s a SASS guy and I’m probably going to be using LESS but the principles are the same.

And I decided that where I need JavaScript, I’m going to write my code in a pre-compiler and use CoffeeScript rather than raw JS.

keynote-logoThe one place I differ from Chris is in his use of Photoshop. I prefer to do my graphics work (such as it is; I’m not good at it at all!) using tools that are more comfortable. So I use some combination of Apple’s Keynote (a vastly under-appreciated tool), Graphic Converter, and my friend and business partner Chipp Walters’ ButtonGadget to create my simple graphics. I hire professionals when it gets beyond the basics.

So to summarize my final workflow decisions:

  • required+ Foundation as starter theme
  • always work on a child theme
  • Dreamweaver as primary code editor, layout tool, CSS creator/editor
  • Local development stack
  • LESS for CSS
  • CoffeeScript for JavaScript

So, end of road. Now I get to go back to work and start mastering this toolset.

I want to express again my great thanks to the folks on LinkedIn’s WordPress Experts group. A more knowledgeable, kind, courteous and helpful bunch of people it would be difficult to imagine finding.


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