The obsession started towards the beginning of the year, I believe? I have been working with WordPress for quite some time now, years to be somewhat exact. I started by tearing apart Kubrick, then moved on to Sandbox, somewhere in there I used Starkers quite a bit. Just as anyone in the field would do I constantly tried to improve my work process, question how things can be done easier and in less time. That meant developing a system. For awhile Starkers was a perfect starting point for me. It was a blank slate that allowed me to develop a framework of sorts which rapidly sped up my development time. It was tailored to the way I worked and the type of project I was most likely to take on at the time.
Some time later and during the midst of freelancing I was presented with several opportunities to work with the themes of others. Themes that I would and still do consider some of the best out there. Clients would have a particular theme in place, wanted to use what they had started with and did not necessarily want a completely custom theme. They came to me to customize it to their liking. I learned a lot and experimented quite a bit during this time.
All the while I of course continued to build custom themes as well, again experimenting and refining my process.
As time went on this for developing custom themes seemed to becoming so much easier. I had a good base to work from.
Then along came my introduction to themes like Hybrid, Thematic and more importantly the child themes that could be built off of theme. This child theme concept was something I was really starting to dig. While it is not something that is widely talked about outside of the groups that really dig into WordPress if offers some pretty unique capabilities.
So I started to study these two frameworks, I really wanted to see what it was about them that made it so simple to customize, upgrade and maintain. That’s when my own framework started to morph. Sure I could have stopped here rather than reinvent the wheel and started developing everything off either of these two more than qualified theme frameworks, but that’s not really me. I like to dig in and making a mess. Besides being involved from the ground up really helps me to understand the inner workings of code as well as tailor it to my own working style.
So there it was a framework that allowed me to customize and build through Child Themes. Now I can’t seem to find many reasons not to. Like I mentioned in an earlier post this site is built on a child theme, jeremyjaymes.com is built on a child theme and there are a few more floating around out there.
So that brings me to my question. If you are planning to develop a theme intended for “public” use and set it up with the intention that customization can easily be accomplished via Child Theme, are people going to welcome that idea. Will they follow your direction or will they more than likely dive into the base code anyway? Will the introduction of the child themes concept discourage them?
It’s important to note that I am not speaking of a theme intentionally released as a child theme for use with a framework, I am speakin of creating themes that are made to accept customization via child theme.