More on the Automattic Theme Team

April 16, 2010 | No Comments Yet

More details emerge about the newly-formed Automattic Theme Team, led by Ian Stewart. In his newest post at ThemeShaper, now the home of all things A-theme-team-related, he explains their goals for themselves and the WordPress community. Here’s one of six:

Every WordPress.com user should feel like there’s a theme that fits them perfectly, that is exactly how they want to present themselves to the world, that they’re excited to show to their friends.

The team would also like to encourage the best coding practices and reinforce the spirit of giving back to the whole community, helping WordPress theme authors (premium or 100% free) and WordPress theme users alike.

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Premium theme frameworks reviewed

April 9, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Technosailor reviews in depth the four most popular premium theme frameworks: Thesis, Headway, Genesis, Builder. Criteria range from pricing to performance to compatibility with various WordPress (even BuddyPress) features.

[…] based on the stress test and criteria I outlined earlier, the best framework is Genesis with an 84%. Thesis comes in with a 76%. Builder garners a 74%. Headway needs the most improvement and only gets a 55%.

It’s a long read, but if you’re a serious website developer, a good theme framework can make a big difference in getting things done. My only wish is for a matrix comparison of all the themes, not just the conclusion above, so it’s easy to figure out who’s strong in which area.

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Automattic launches VaultPress backup & protection service

April 1, 2010 | No Comments Yet

VaultPress

VaultPress is a premium offering from Automattic that lets you backup and even more interesting, protect your WordPress-powered site:

In the future, if your site is tampered with in any way, we’ll know within minutes and can take appropriate steps. The VaultPress core engine will be able to protect you against zero-day security vulnerabilities by updating your blog with hot-fixes, even while you sleep.

VaultPress runs as a plugin that runs and responds in real-time. It will also be closely integrated with WordPress.com. On the invitation-only beta signup page, the service costs $20 monthly. It also classifies users into personal, pro-blogger, small business, and enterprise.

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Transcript from Matt Mullenweg interview on GPL WordPress themes

December 23, 2008 | 4 Comments

Update (12/27/08): Part 3 is up.

Update (12/23/08): Part 2 is up.

The other week I wrote about Automattic pulling 200 themes from the WordPress theme directory. Since then we’ve been waiting for an official word from Matt Mullenweg and it couldn’t have come in a better form: a live interview on the WordPress Weekly Podcast, hosted by Jeff Chandler. For those who weren’t able to listen to it, here’s part 1 of the transcript courtesy of WP Snippets.

One of the big questions regarding the team’s decision is: “why do they have to approve themes based on the content and links on MY site?” It’s a pretty sound question because a website is a pretty big leap from a theme. Well Matt likens it to WordPress endorsing Expression Engine, a paid CMS solution, on their website:

First of all, you can do whatever you like on any website. There’s nothing built in WordPress that’s going to you. I am not even going to tell anyone or tell you that you should change things. But WordPress.org is sort of a community hub where we’ve tried to promote the open source stuff.

So, just like I wouldn’t want to, I don’t know, umm… let’s say a commercial CMS, Expression Engine. Ok… I wouldn’t have links advertising Expression Engine on WordPress.org. I wouldn’t have links advertising other things that are not on open source, even ones that actively violate our license.

Here’s another burning controversy: is Automattic doing this to keep the profitability of WordPress to itself?

JC: Ok, so here’s the next question: Why is it that so many people within the inner circle of the WordPress community believe you and Automattic don’t want anyone else profiting through or around WordPress? It seems to be this notion, primarily from those who make a living selling premium themes.

Matt: *laughs* Well, I have said it before that it’s hard to convince anyone that the way that they currently making money is wrong, *laughs* you know, if you are paying your bills with the way you’re making money, you’re going to find ways to rationalise and… sort of believe in that. There are, at every WordCamp, there will be 100 people there, and there may be 20-30 there making their living from WordPress right then.

And it’s all sorts of different things: sometimes it’s developing sites, like their agency is a site developer or designers; sometimes they’re provide training services – education; sometimes they’re just working for a company and being like the sort of full time WordPress guy.

But if I had to estimate, there are probably tens of thousands of people out there that make their living either with or on top of WordPress, and that’s not even counting bloggers. If you talk about a network like Digg or ??? or TechCrunch or something, also built entirely on top of WordPress.

So I’m totally for that. And you know what, honestly, the GPL is very commercially friendly. It was designed to allow commercial enterprises to thrive. You know some people say it doesn’t work, but you only have to look at one, the growth of WordPress, and two, the grown of the open source world in general for the past thirty years to say ‘Wow, this is actually a very, very powerful force.’

Bottom line here is, don’t make free, GPL-compliant WordPress themes and submit them to the directory if your only motive is to get people to buy proprietary WordPress themes. (Helpful hint: you can make money from WordPress in many other ways. If it’s specifically themes, take a look at Brian Gardner’s Revolution Two. He gives away high-quality themes for free but charges for support.)

Matt and the gang are just trying to keep the WP community a good one.

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WordPress theme directory updates policy, removes 200 themes

December 12, 2008 | 1 Comment

Spectacu.la reports that over 200 themes have been removed from the official WordPress theme repository a couple of days ago, and this is the notification they got:

Links to spectacu.la will no longer be approved, as a result this theme has been suspended.

Looks like Automattic has updated its policy for theme approvals:

Themes for sites that support “premium” (non-GPL or compatible) themes will not be approved.

That means it’s not enough for your theme to be GPL compatible. If you’re simply associated with premium WordPress themes, your free and open source WordPress themes could suffer as well.

More discussion at Justin Tadlock’s site. Is this fair or is this getting to be too harsh?

(Via WPLover)

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Do you really need to pay for a premium WordPress theme when you can download these?

July 7, 2008 | 1 Comment

Best WordPress Themes shares the 10 Free WordPress Themes That Blow Many Premium Themes Away. Here’s the shortlist:

  1. Brightness
  2. Lightning
  3. Charade
  4. Thematic
  5. MassivePress
  6. The Morning After
  7. Overstand
  8. Thunderbolt
  9. The Unstandard
  10. Neoclassical
  11. Natural Power

Check out the rest of the website for more excellent themes that will fit your every need.

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