It’s hard to beat fourteen files and an image folder

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Sometimes I think theme frameworks just aren’t a good thing for the end user.

When it comes to the experience with the least friction, the most welcoming to a new user, and the least technically complex, I just don’t see anything beating a simple theme folder with a handful of template files and an image folder. Whether you’re adding something to the theme or just poking around a bit to see what your site’s theme is doing in there, it’s awesome to be able to open up a file called header.php that is, you know, actually representative of your theme’s header.

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My experience looking for an RSS service to replace Google Reader

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rss-all-logos

This morning I spent some time investigating feed readers and services to replace Google Reader. A lot of internet users have been since Google announced Reader is going away this summer. It’s easy to pull up a list of possible alternatives, but ultimately I found it necessary to just dig in and try them out to see which works best.

I dug in, and here’s what I found out.

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An update on The WPCandy Quarterly #2!

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Moleskine with WPCandy Quarterly stickers, button, and pencil

I’m happy to announce that we’re finalizing the second issue of The WPCandy Quarterly, in the last stage before sending it off to the printers. It’s an exciting — but busy! — time, and we’re most psyched to be so close to getting another issue into everyone’s hands.

We have an amazing roundup of contributors for this issue. We have David Bisset, co-organizer of the upcoming WordCamp Miami, WooThemes’ own Ryan Ray, total pro developer John Bloch and the creator behind Builder, Chris Jean, all on board. And that’s honestly just — to abuse a cliché — the tip of the iceberg.

We’ll be teasing the issue further over the next couple of weeks, and you can expect a final release date soon as well.

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The true value of a WordPress theme: Hermes Themes and a $200 price tag

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dumitru-brinzan-photo

Photo courtesy of Dumitru BrinzanDumitru Brinzan, founder of Hermes Themes, rowing during a vacation in Romania.

$35, $75, $40, and $200. One of these doesn’t sound like the others.

Dumitru Brinzan, who has a long history in WordPress themes at WPZOOM, has started a new theme project called Hermes Themes. The shop offers strictly hotel themes, in contrast to WPZOOM’s more varied selection.

Interestingly, Brinzan is pricing his hotel themes at $200, well above the average cost of themes at the moment. It’s a bold decision, and not one that you see many theme shops making at the moment. I sat down with him to talk a bit about what motivated him to start Hermes Themes, and in particular to price his themes that high.

The pricing is very deliberate on Brinzan’s part. “To be honest, I thought about pricing for a very long time,” he told WPCandy. “I considered making it cheaper, or even more expensive.” His decision to sell themes for $200 wasn’t a simple one, and took his entire history selling WordPress themes into account.

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Theme Show #12: “The Compliment Sandwich”

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Theme Show #12

In our second Theme Show episode of the new year, “The Compliment Sandwich”, we stick to our new format and dish over four new themes and pick one to rule them all. Well, for another seven days that is.

As a reminder, each episode of The Theme Show we tear apart four different themes — one for each of us to spend time with and properly review — and at the end of the show decide which one deserves the highest regard. Some weeks that might mean the best of the worst, and others it might be a really, really tough decision.

This week we review and discuss the Bloggit theme by WPExplorer, BlueBird by Just Good Themes, Identify by ThemeBros, and Soundstage by Mint Themes. Of course only one theme could be the supreme winner this time around — and you’ll just have to listen in to find out which one did it.

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Review: Professional WordPress Design and Development, 2nd Edition

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Professional WordPress Design and Development 2nd Edition

Let’s start this review with an honest admission.

While in the 90s I collected (and read, mostly) tech books like they were going out of style. These days I barely get my hands around a book, let alone consume it.

Frankly, I don’t have the time. I have three kids (two are twins) and a wife. I have a mortgage. I co-organize WordPress meetups, and head up a WordCamp committee. That’s not including the remaining bits of time i form together to approximate a “life”.

But what’s the point of this admission? To prove to you that I only have time to devote to reading books that meet a certain level of quality and useful content – not to mention only those that age well. And I am confident in saying that Professional WordPress Design And Development is one of those books.

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Reader theme review: Minimal, but not in a lazy way

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Reader theme post graphic

Reader is a theme by new theme shop WP Minima, a brand which sells entirely on ThemeForest at the moment. They’ve released two themes so far, one free and one paid. This is the paid theme, which costs $35.

Reader, being both new and minimalistic, caught my eye last week. A lot of the time, theme designers will put something together and call it minimal, almost as an excuse to not put much thought into what’s designed. Or to leave things kind of plain. At least that’s the impression I get when looking at some WordPress themes that get released.

In this case, I think it’s clear that WP Minima put time into Reader and made real decisions. I don’t agree with all of them, but there’s a consistent, strong design aesthetic here that doesn’t come across as what I’ll call “lazy minimal”. It’s minimal, in a good way.

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The Story of WonderThemes: Why starting a WordPress theme marketplace isn’t easy

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The Story of WonderThemes and building a WordPress theme marketplace

Photo and graphic: Michael Kimb Jones

Michael Kimb Jones — or Kimb, as he prefers people call him — sat waiting for his time to stand up and speak. There he sat, on the ground floor of Surgeons Hall at the Royal College of Surgeons, running over the things he was about to talk about. His presentation was for WordCamp Edinburgh in 2012, the largest WordPress unconference event in the UK.

The slide sitting behind him on the projector, waiting for him to start, read “How I Made WonderThemes.” His pitch on the WordCamp Edinburgh wiki said that his presentation included the initial concept for WonderThemes, cost breakdowns, development struggles and how he sometimes felt like he was “punching [himself] in the face.”

Because this presentation wasn’t all positive. In it Kimb would tell his WonderThemes story, as well as the various elements that contributed to him closing his WordPress theme marketplace down and moving on.

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WPCandy Roundtable #3: WordPress Meetup Discussion with 4 co-organizers

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WPCandy Roundtable Podcast #3: WordPress Meetup Discussion

Let’s talk about WordPress meetups! On this episode of The WPCandy Roundtable Podcast, I asked four awesome WordPress meetup co-organizers to chat about what makes a quality meetup and how they do what they do. We also went over what they would recommend to new WordPress meetup organizers.

Joining me on the podcast are Angie Meeker (Columbus, Ohio WordPress Meetup), Brian Richards (Grand Rapids, Michigan WordPress Meetup), Steve Zehngut (Orange County WordPress Meetup) and Aaron Jorbin (Washington, D.C. WordPress Meetup). These folks know what they’re talking about.

Still not sure about listening? Steve Zehngut and Aaron Jorbin each co-organize events with a full roster count of over 800 and 1,200, respectively. That’s a couple of times the size of most large WordCamps, folks.

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