WPThemerKit.com is a new way to create WordPress themes. The system works similarly to the way cssZenGarden works in that, you have an HTML file and a CSS file. Once you are finished with the design, you copy the CSS file along with the images folder to the corresponding WordPress blank theme and all of a sudden, you have a full blown WordPress Theme. I managed to get a hold of the creator behind WPThemerKit and asked him a few questions regarding his project.
Jeff - First off Cal, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Cal - I am a web developer and entrepreneur. I don’t really specialize in any one area, but would consider CSS one of my stronger areas. I’ve been developing websites since around 2003 and really enjoy using content management systems like WordPress. Most of my time is spent playing with PHP scripts or content management systems and trying to come up with ideas for websites that sound like fun.
Jeff - What inspired you to create the WP Theme Kit?
Cal - In a word, frustration. I’ve tried making themes for Joomla, e107, MODx and WordPress. WordPress was by far the easiest but there was still a learning curve. In the beginning I was going to create the kit only for myself. I had just started making WordPress themes and wanted to speed up the process. After a few realizations I concluded that one long HTML file with all the components of a WordPress theme could be substituted for the actual theme. At first I thought I could just use FireFox and “View Source” the HTML and copy/paste into Dreamweaver. It turned out to be a little more difficult than that but I got it worked out eventually.
Jeff - Can you explain in the simplest form possible on how the themer kit works?
Cal - The HTML file (which I call the HTML blank) is like the entire WordPress theme. It has the comment form, comments, tags, a header menu, the whole 9 yards. So all you have to do is edit the CSS stylesheet in your favorite editor. The HTML file is just there so you can preview it in your browser and see the changes. Once you’re finished modifying the CSS file, you simply copy it and the images folder to the corresponding WordPress blank. The WordPress blank is basically just a WordPress theme without any CSS stylesheet, it has all the necessary PHP files, but no style.
Jeff - What sort of ways are you looking to expand upon the original Theme Kit?
Cal - In the beginning I’m just looking for feedback and ways to improve the kit. Eventually though I’d like to see kits available for software like BBPress. The neat part is that you can use the same CSS framework across different software. This will allow you to create a WordPress theme with the themer kit, then move the CSS file to a blank BBPress theme (prepped like the WP blanks) and be 80% done, only left to style a few areas. What all this does is speed up creation time and allows theme developers more time for those extras that everybody likes.
Jeff – Does your theme kit implement widgetized sidebars?
Cal - Yep, the themer kit makes themes for WordPress 2.2.x and 2.3.x and implements tags and widgetized sidebars.
Jeff – I noticed you wrote these primarily as templates in Dreamweaver. Can other editors be used to edit these files without breaking them?
Cal - All the kit requires is a CSS editor and a browser.
Jeff - Can you explain in a little more detail as to what you mean by Flavors? Also, can you elaborate on the various licensing structure for the various aspects of the themer kit.
Cal – Flavors are something we’re planning on creating and they’re basically just modified themer kits. So for example you could create a flavor that would utilize advertisements in different areas of the theme or a flavor that had a submenu for child pages in the header, the sky is the limit.
The licensing is meant to be as open as possible for theme creators. If you make a theme with the themer kit you can release it under any license you want, just like making a theme normally. We also have exceptions to our HTML blank licensing so you can release the HTML file with your theme and not worry about licensing issues. Releasing your HTML file with your theme will give theme users an easy way to modify the theme to suit their needs. If you want the specifics on licensing it’s best to visit the website and view the license page.
Jeff - What are your future plans with themer kit?
Cal - My plans are to make the theme creation process as easy as possible. Users should be able to have a blog and a forum that utilize the same basic theme and web designers should be able to create those themes as easily as a static page.
I want to extend a thank you to Cal for taking the time to answer my questions in regards to his project. Be sure to check out his website and give his theme kit a try. I’d especially be interested to see what you guys come up with in regards to using his kit as a framework for your themes.