This week I started work on a small made-for-adsense mini site I am developing. I was tempted to take the quick and easy way forward by using by using the Headway theme for the design. However I decided to use the new default WordPress theme Twenty Ten instead.
First Impressions of the Twenty Ten Theme
It’s around two months since the first beta release of WordPress 3.0 was released. In that time I got to know the new features such as the background, header and menu options, but you really don’t get to know a theme well until you have to customise it. Which is what I have being doing over the last few days. In this post I will be giving you my first impressions of our new default theme :)
At first I thought that the header and featured image options was simply a handy little extra in WP 3.0 though I am really loving this new feature. The ability to quickly and easily change the header image in any post or page is very useful.
I’m sure you will see a lot of bloggers take advantage of this (Plus it will be interesting to how theme developers incorporate this new feature in different ways over the next year).
The theme comes with two widget areas in the sidebar and four in the footer. This makes it very easy to customise your sidebar and footer without touching any code. To add more widget areas you simply need to add more widget zones to the functions.php template.
It’s a good setup for those who aren’t too comfortable with editing HTML and PHP code.
Quality of Code
A lot of things work very differently in WP 3.0+. Thankfully the Twenty Ten theme is very well commented in both the php files and the CSS stylesheet.
The CSS structure of the theme is a little different to what I am used to though. For example, the container class uses a width of 100% instead of a fixed width. It then determines the size of the main content area using a negative fixed width (e.g. margin: 0 -240px 0 0;). I have seen this before in stylesheets though previously most WordPress themes would use positive values.
I did manage to change Twenty Ten from a 2 column theme to a 3 column theme quite easily though I want to spend some more time with the stylesheet before doing any major customisations.
For my new site I created a child theme of Twenty Ten. One of the first things which is apparent when doing this is that Twenty Ten was designed with child themes in mind. There are lots of tips, comments and advice in the templates telling you what to do if you are using a child theme.
For example, the index.php file is a lot smaller than it used to be. The main part of the page (i.e. the loop) has been transferred to a template called loop.php. If you are using a child theme and want to make some edits to the loop you simply need to upload a template called loop-index.php and edit that (which is used instead of loop.php as it higher in the hierarchy).
I suspect we are going to see a lot of skins and custom child themes of Twenty Ten since it was clearly designed with child themes in mind.
I’m still getting to grips with Twenty Ten however my first impressions of it are very positive. A lot of functions and code is different from previous versions of WordPress but you will soon find your feet as all templates are very well commented.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Twenty Ten, particularly from those who are using the theme or have tried it out.