Genesis Starter Theme Using Bourbon Neat

And I’m at it again! This time I decided to cobble together a very basic Genesis Starter theme that uses Bourbon Neat. You can find that project here:

Plugging away with different tools is a lot of fun actually and you learn different tricks; apply new ways of thinking and more. I feel like I’ve been on this anti-framework kick of late. I’m not anti-framework. I think they’re great, actually! I just understand better what they are and what they can do to enable me to do my job better. I guess that’s what it really comes down to.

I wanted to break down a Genesis starter theme to its most basic elements, visually, by having a lean CSS base to start from so that you only have to build up and not have to tear down, so to speak. It’s kind of like _s (underscores) in that regard. Have a look and let me know whatcha think!

Quick Update on ‘Some Like it Neat.’

I’m still plugging away, learning and tweaking ‘Some Like it Neat.’ If you recall, it’s a project I started putting together a couple of weeks ago leading up to WordCamp Las Vegas. I’d love some more feedback/contributions, obviously.

Things to be added:

  1. Page Templates — Archive, Left/Right Sidebars, improved 404
  2. Post Format Templates — The theme already comes with post format support baked-in; I’d like to offer more specific page templating for post formats however.
  3. Internationalization aka i18n. I’d like to distribute this theme in the WP repo at some point.
  4. Customizer tweaks. Nothing crazy, but I’d like users to manage a few key areas of the theme.
  5. Microformatting — I know very little about this, so I’ll be reading up and pinging my friends on this.

Things to take away?

Perfection is achieved not when there is more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away — Some Mother Fucker

The jury is still out on that; I’ve included some questionable items such as superfish subs. I do like that it offers legacy support for IE; which isn’t something I need to worry too much about these days. It’s just “nice to have.”

I’ve mulled over the “what to include” question for a while. What does MY starting point look like? Well, for me, drop downs, extra page templates etc. But as I thought about it more I asked myself questions: Do I really give a shit about breadcrumb nav? Not really. Do I care about built-in SEO? I mean, sure. I do. But I like Automattic’s recent change in mindset in having ‘features-as-plugins’ and think that I’ll follow suit. To that end I’m using the TGM Plugin Activation to notify users of recommended plugins (just for breadcrumbs right now). I like that approach. A lot.

What’s your starting point? Drop me a comment and let me know.

Some Like it Neat

So, I ran 9 miles today. I took a nap and for the last few hours I’ve burned away on a starter theme. It’s called ‘Some Like it Neat’ and you can fork it here, on Github.

The project isn’t a big deal. It’s, like many projects, just something I’m toying around with. I want to build a lean starter theme with a little more stuff in it than something like Underscores provides. As of this writing, my blog is running an early, early version of the theme.

Who gives a shit and why are you doing this?

Your mom? For more than a year now, I’ve been rolling themes from starter themes and it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learned so much by doing so. Previously I was a big Genesis fanboy and I still am. It’s a solid framework, in my opinion. But it has a lot of shit I don’t need. So I set out to build something a little simpler. Additionally, it would give me a chance to get my hands dirtier with Sass and using Bourbon (a Sass library  of mixins and functions) along with Neat (Bourbon’s grid framework).

That’s great, why not use Compass along with Bootstrap or Foundation. I like Foundation, I’ve used Foundation and it is a lot more than what I need. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great. But the thing I’m trying to do here is do more with a bit less. I’m using tools where they make sense. I think great flexibility can be achieved very simply. So I just want to build a simple theme, that’s easy to ramp up that you don’t have to fight against (which is the thing I am annoyed with when working with frameworks).

So what’s in the box, foo?

Good question.

  • Bourbon (Sass goodies)
  • Neat (Grid Framework)
  • Coming soon — Theme Hook Alliance to use hooks in the starter theme. Typically, hooks see a lot more use in frameworks than they do in starter themes. I love working with hooks and I think they make managing a theme so much easier. It’s just a preference.
  • Sass, of course. I’ve used it on a few projects, but I don’t really think I’m using it for all it can do. Natalie MacLees schooled me on some responsive Sass trickery a few weeks back and it’s literally changed my view on Sass from being a “nifty tool” to something that’s just badass and a must use in any project going forward.

What’s Next?

I’m going to keep plugging away on it, but my hope is to get some contributions from my local WordPress community and beyond.

Let me know what you think and feel free to contribute.