The Future of WordPress Themes in 2011

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It’s inevitable, really. At the beginning of each year thoughts turn to the coming months and what they will bring. For many of us, that means WordPress: specifically WordPress themes. To assist with your own prognostications, we’ve brought together the thoughts from some of the biggest and most influential minds in WordPress and asked them a couple of simple questions:

Where do you think WordPress themes are headed in 2011? What will be the new innovations and techniques that everyone will be talking about in 2011?

For their responses, and to share your own thoughts, head past the jump.

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Let’s stop calling WordPress themes “premium”, whether they are or not

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There seems to be a constant groan running through the WordPress community lately. It started as a low hum, barely perceptible. It grew over time, and now you can’t even mention it without others joining in a chorus. So let’s just join hands, support-group-style, and say it together:

We will stop using the word “premium” to describe WordPress themes.

There, doesn’t that feel better? I feel better.

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Win some WordPress swag for guessing what “JP” could be

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Today was Matt Mullenweg’s 27th birthday, and in a reflective post he listed off his big launches of 2010: VaultPress, the new Akismet, his Ma.tt WordPress themes, a number of WordPress mobile apps, Audrey Capital, and the WordPress Foundation. We don’t typically cover other people’s blog posts like this; we just link them up in our weekend WordPress community links posts. But there was something else said in Mullenweg’s post, when he was listing his goals for 2011:

Launch secret new thing, code abbreviation JP. :)

Naturally, that has us thinking. Just what could “JP” stand for? What is the secret thing Mullenweg wants to launch in 2011? We don’t know, but we figured we can have some fun with it. Take your best guess in the comments, and whenever that project of his launches (whether next week or December 2011) we’ll revisit this post and award the closest guess with their choice of WordPress swag from the WordPress Swag Store.

Think you know what it will be? Just to recap:

  1. Leave a comment here with your best guess as to what “JP” stands for. One guess per person.
  2. We’ll wait. We’ll all wait. When it launches, we’ll pull this post back up, and the closest guess will be deemed the winner.
  3. WPCandy will send the winner a gift of their choosing from the WordPress Swag Store.

Keep in mind, “JP” could be a personal project, or another core Automattic product like ValutPress. There’s really no way to know right now, except that Mullenweg is excited about it.

So what do you think “JP” could be?

You can power WPCandy for a post, for a day, or forever

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We’re very proud of what WPCandy has become in such a short time. If you remember, we relaunched the blog just a few months ago. And since then, WPCandy is becoming more than just a blog—we’re really becoming more of a community site here. The primary group to thank is actually you guys: the RSS readers, the iPhone app users, the Twitter followers, and the commenters.

And we’d like to ask for your help to continue on in the upward direction we’re headed.

WPCandy doesn’t allow advertisers, although we could. We honestly don’t want to be powered by advertisers. We want to be powered by you, the community. With the WPCandy iPhone app and our highly successful reverse launch deal, we believe the WordPress community has proven that it deserves nice things. We want to take that to the next level.

Starting today, we’re inviting you—the readers, peering through RSS windows and making this site what it is—to power WPCandy yourselves. By donating to WPCandy, you will very literally be powering what we think is becoming the WordPress community website.

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The 2010 WPHonors award winners, by category

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WPHonors first launched three months ago. After much voting and friendly community competition, we now have the results. We were proud to exclusively cover the launch of WPHonors, and now we’re happy to exclusively present the results of the voting: the 2010 WPHonors winners.

Just to recap, the voting categories were:

  • Best Personal Website
  • Best WordPress Related Website
  • Best Business Website
  • Best Free Plugin
  • Best Commercial Plugin
  • Best Free Theme
  • Best Commercial Theme
  • Best Theme Framework
  • Best WordPress Designer
  • Best WordPress Developer
  • Best Blog Author
  • Best Community Member

So the question is: who won? Enough teasing, we have the results and you can see them just after the jump.

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Roundup of thoughts on what 2011 should hold for WordPress

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Jane Wells started a thread on the WordPress.org forum called “What should 2011 hold for WordPress?“. The purpose of the thread is to collect ideas for the upcoming core leadership meetup this month. The thread is being closed on January 4th (that’s today) so you should head over to that thread if you have your own thoughts to share.

Below we’ve collected a few of the more intriguing thoughts. Do you agree with their thoughts? And don’t be shy to share your thoughts with us too: What do you want to see for WordPress in 2011?

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Why WordPress breadcrumbs are almost always pointless

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breadcrumb fail whale

Breadcrumbs are a very popular navigation feature in WordPress websites. And the vast majority of the time, they are entirely useless. In fact I think I can argue that they can be negative to the overall user experience.

The purpose of the breadcrumb is to show the user where they are in a website, providing clickable archives of each layer. They can be a great feature in the right theme or on the right site, but I have seen very few implementations where breadcrumbs provided any benefit at all.

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The Top 20 WordPress Stories
of 2010

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2010 was a pretty big year for WordPress. A lot happened, but what WordPress stories were the biggest? We’ve put together our own list of the 20 most important WordPress stories of 2010.

When determining this list, we evaluated each story from 2010 based on how important each story will end up being to WordPress in the future. If we did it correctly, the bottom of the list should have the biggest, most important WordPress events of 2010.

Enough introduction, right? Let’s get to the list!

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Automattic plans to hire “at least” three new theme employees in 2011, Mullenweg says

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In a brief interview with WPCandy, Matt Mullenweg revealed that Automattic will be hiring “at least” three new employees in 2011 specifically to work on WordPress themes at WordPress.com. While not confirmed, it is likely that these new positions will be under the Theme Wrangler moniker, common to WordPress.com employees focused on themes.

Ian Stewart, the creator of the Thematic WordPress theme framework and blogger at ThemeShaper.com, was hired by Automattic in March of this year. Since then he has presided over the launch of a number of WordPress.com themes as well as their free counterparts on WordPress.org. Stewart’s position with Automattic is officially Theme Wrangler, a title he shares with MatÃas Ventura and Lance Willett at Automattic.

So who out there reading this will be looking to work with Automattic on WordPress themes in 2011? If it’s a job you will be applying for, let us know in the comments. What makes you a proper wrangler?

The WordPress user’s Christmas list

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Can you feel it? Christmas day is approaching. The shopping days are waning. Before you know it, the season will have passed and we’ll be anticipating next year’s Christmas.

Odds are there is someone—perhaps many someones—that you haven’t crossed off your list yet. You need a gift for them, and you’ve probably saved them to now because they are notoriously difficult to shop for. Or, perhaps you have a WordPress guru for a friend, and need to pick out the perfect gift for them.

If we’ve described you at any point (or if you need some reading the week leading up to Christmas) we have just the list for you. This is the WordPress user’s Christmas list, and we’ve assembled it so that there will be something for every WordPress user on your list.

Time to shop!

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