Themes in transit

I think I have at least two or three free themes in the works at the moment, but I just can’t find the time to finish them. Work is taking up my weekdays, and my weekends are usually spent preparing for my wedding (which is only about two months away) or simply rejuvinating.

I’ve been experimenting a lot with WordPress lately, but more on the aspect of using WordPress as a CMS than just a theme. Well, ok, I haven’t exactly been “experimenting” per se. I’ve been using WordPress as a CMS for my clients’ sites.

So far, I’ve managed to create category-dependent templates for “portal type” sites (ie. m|ph). But it’s STILL category-dependent, meaning: a category-dependent theme can’t be user-friendly enough to be released as a GPL theme. It definitely goes beyond the “blog look,” but it’s not that easy to modify.

I’ve been meaning to experiment skinning Scott’s Sandbox theme, but again, I can’t seem to find the time to. I haven’t really taken the time to look into the code. But from what I’ve read so far, skinning Sandbox isn’t as easy as creating your own CSS (well, I find making my own CSS code and structure easier than working on an existing one), but it does have some nifty features that makes it easily customizable by the end-user.

BlogHelper is doing a series on using WordPress as a CMS, tackling the different types such as a portfolio, e-commerce, news site, photoblog and the like. Though “basic” for a seasoned “themer,” it’s still a bit advanced. And if you’re the type who faints at the sight of PHP codes, the tutorial series might not be the best for you.

That’s actually what I was hoping to do: create a “CMS” theme with very minor code editing for the user (actually, it would be much better if they don’t have to edit anything AT ALL). But so far, the nearest “theme with no code edits” I’ve made was the theme for Hinge-Inquirer Publications. (Hey, that’s a copyrighted client site, so hands-off please! It’s not a GPL theme).

The objective of that project was basically create a design based on the client’s brand, then integrate it into WordPress which would be the CMS. Posts will be the “news articles,” while the Pages, will be pages (duh). After I integrated the design into the WordPress theme files, I just uploaded it and activated the theme from the Admin panel. Wolah! It no longer looks like a WordPress “blog.”

This might be the nearest solution to my little “experiment.” But the thing is, I still needed to manually edit the links on the top navigation bar (there is a way to make it automatically appear, but I couldn’t afford having all Page links on the top bar—some really needed to be at the bottom part). Well, still needs a bit of work, but I think this could do the trick. It’s the nearest “upload and activate” CMS-type theme I can make.

Now, all I need to do is find the time to actually implement these themes in transit and have them up at the WP Theme Viewer for download 🙂

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