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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Jetpack’s Photon could end up being a pretty big deal

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Jetpack is nothing if not a fairly divisive plugin in the WordPress community. At this point I’m sure we’ve all had more than a couple of conversations about its positive features and its more frustrating ones. With Jetpack 2.0, though, the new Photon feature may prove to be one of the more impressive offerings of the bunch for users and developers.

Photon, when enabled, will filter through the site’s content and, if the images are local to the site, pass them off to WordPress.com and serve them via their content delivery network. So, for example, the post image above would be served from the following URL: http://i0.wp.com/original-image-url.png?resize=600.

For the average WordPress user, getting this going only takes them installing Jetpack and turning this feature on. I’m not familiar with every CDN service out there, but this sounds like the easiest free way anyone can serve up their images from a CDN. Less taxing on the site’s host, likely faster page loads, and all without the user needing to learn a lot about the service or the setup process.

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Making the most out of WordCamp

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People are descending on San Francisco from around the world as I type. I leave tomorrow morning earlier than I go to bed some nights. WordCamp is an excellent opportunity to meet a ton of people in the WordPress community. Most normal people (myself included) only get to attend one or two a year at best. Let’s make the best of it!

Here are some ways to make the most out of WordCamp:

Don’t be afraid

Introduce yourself to people around you. There’s a chance you use one of their themes or plugins. Maybe the person next to you wrote the code for your favorite WordPress feature. They’re right next to you! Talk to them.

Do you know someone you admire in the community will be at WordCamp? Track them down! Maybe not in a weird stalkerish way, but make sure you find them and let them know that you appreciate what they do, or let them know you use their stuff. I bet it’s hard for anyone to get sick of hearing that. Don’t be intimidated!

Here’s the attendees list for WordCamp San Francisco so you’ll know who’s going.

Get out of your personal boundaries

“I’m a designer.” Or, “I’m a developer.” Or, “I’m a marketer.” So what! Check out a couple of sessions that make your head spin.

You’re probably pretty good at what you do, and there’s likely a lot to of good subject matter on that at your WordCamp. But if you’re a developer, you don’t have to stay in the development track all day. Crawl over to a design session, or better yet, a user session. Sometimes seeing what’s important to other types of people will open your eyes to how you can do your own job better.

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What was your first WordPress website?

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We all use WordPress in one way or another, but we all started using it at different times. Think back: can you remember when you first started using WordPress? Can you remember the first WordPress website you ever ran, and what you did with it?[ref]This topic came after (and a bit during) last night’s WP Late Night Aftertaste with Dre Armeda and Aaron Jorbin. You’ve been listening, right?[/ref]

I think it would be fun to reminisce a bit about how we all got started with WordPress. I’ve added my first WordPress websites below, and you can share your own story in the comments.

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The less we all talk about WordPress, the better

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Last week on the WPCandy Roundtable Podcast with the BuddyPress Core Team, someone submitted the question “What are the chances of a BuddyPress Camp in the future?”

I thought the question was a lighthearted, fun one that might evoke a joke or two, o seven some more of Boone Gorges singing (which it kind of did). I didn’t expect this really insightful response to the question from John James Jacoby:

If the community was to the point, and large enough where someone wanted to throw together a BuddyPress only thing, I would be totally down for it.

That said, I think what would be the segue towards that is to have a plugin camp. You know, let’s just talk about all the cool plugins specifically. And it can still be like a WordCamp where there’s a user track and how to pick a plugin and how to use a plugin and which ones are favorites and you can have a developer track where developers can talk just about the plugins they’re building…

So eventually for it to get to the point where plugins can just have their own conference, and WordCamp can still sort of be all the things in one, I think that would be a stepping stone toward BuddyPress having its own event.

That made me stop and think quite a bit, both during the show (around the 52 minute mark of the episode) and afterward. The more I think about it, the more I think conferences focused on plugins and brands built on WordPress will really help confirm the strength of the WordPress platform.

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My PressNomics invitation

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I’ll definitely be attending this year’s PressNomics event in November. Who else is planning on attending, either by invite or standard registration she€n it’s available?

If you haven’t yet, be sure to read over the PressNomics feature I published when they announced the event.

The true weight of theme options: Weaver II

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A couple of weeks ago we talked about Weaver II, the brainchild of Bruce Wampler, on The Weekly Theme Show. I finally completed my little side project I mentioned on that show.

Weaver II might have the largest set of options in any theme I’ve ever seen, and its only when they’re all laid out on one screen that you can really feel the heft of it. Weaver II is available on the WordPress.org theme directory.

Screenshot posted just after the jump, as well as a link to the full image.

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A PressTrends Inspired Rant (From a developer who uses it!)

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My 82 year old grandmother heard that I was writing an article and her first response was “You should write it about sex. That’s all anybody talks about these days.”

I won’t be talking about sex. Instead I’m going to talk about why I include PressTrends in all of my themes and the problems that it has brought to the surface.

The bounce rate on this post just skyrocketed, didn’t it?

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