i get more acerbic on one and a half pints of cider

Woo, the mailing list archives are finally working again. I have a lot of catching up to do.

OK, well, first off, Sandbox appears to be the new k2. I’m not going to say the new Kubrick because Hemingway is the new Kubrick; right now it’s so hip it hurts but in two years time it’s going to look horrendously dated. Where was I? Oh yes, the Word of Matt:

I would suggest anyone developing a new theme try to build it on top of Sandbox. If it doesn’t work, share why.

I find it completely frickin’ hilarious how everyone on wp-hackers is hating on Kubrick now because it’s hard to customise. Like this was not pointed out by multiple people pre-1.5, and Matt had not ignored it because he was blinded by his love for the kewl rounded corners. And now that everyone is sick to the back teeth of the kewl rounded corners he wants to go back to the Zen Garden model, where we have the same XHTML for everything and just twiddle with the CSS. Which is fine by me, since Sandbox is a much better structure to build on than Classic (or for that matter Kubrick) ever was, but why did we have to have this ridiculous diversion just to get back to the same place as we were with 1.2 ?

Further Word of Matt on the changing of the default template:

It’s not really worth discussing the aesthetics of it because we’ll never all agree, it’s just going to be something I’ll make a call on.

Truer word was never spoken: though as his previous calls have included Georgia in the admin pages, nasty footer-free Classic, borgified Kubrick, some frankly icky stuff on wp.com (Sweet Blossoms, anyone?) and his own egg-yolk yellow blog, this does concern me slightly.

For 2.5 I predict a k2-ified Sandbox, by way of throwing Kubrick Guy another conciliatory bone.

20 Comments »

  1. Alan said

    I hadn’t seen Hemmingway till you mentioned it. My first and only reaction? God, that looks like shit. But hey, if some people like it that’s fine – just don’t expect me to adopt it, ever.

    I’ve always (ALWAYS) made my own WordPress themes, because being depressingly generic was never high on my to-do list, so I don’t get why people make such a big fuss about the default. It’s not like they HAVE to use it, there’s hundreds other God-Awful themes out there freely available to download (or they could spend an afternoon creating their own theme, but most coders who use WordPress don’t know the meaning of aesthetics (case-in-point: Matt) or are people who don’t know what all the code means cause the coders thought they were so clever making the templating system a PHP esque system, even though the common man (or woman) looks at it and goes “Dude, what the fuck”?). The default is ugly, so what? Every WordPress default has been ugly in my opinion. WordPress fanboys just need to grow up and realise just because it’s default doesn’t mean they have to use it.

    Also, I saw the feature list for 2.1 that was linked in one of your comments, and I’m highly unimpressed. There big list of amazing new features are features I don’t care about or would never use to begin with. I mean, I don’t know if it’s just me, but ‘more AJAX’, and ‘better login’ just doesn’t give me the thrill it might give everyone else.

  2. wank said

    I haven’t looked at that list yet, I’ll probably hack it to pieces write a post on it tomorrow.

  3. adam said

    eggg
    sactly.
    i was reading this today, and it all felt so… expected.

    i love the part where everybody’s bashing kubrick, and the kubrick guy comes in and starts whining “oh, but i’m so important, watch who you’re bashing”. good stuff.

  4. Scott said

    I am sitting at home anticipating what Matt has described as “a little more burn-in.” Hmm. Sounds like I’ll need a cream of some sort.

  5. I’ve never figured out what was so alluring about Kubrick. To me, it was ridiculously “oh my gawd we’ve got gradients and cool web 2.0 blue all over”.

    Of course, anything would have been an improvement over the “classic” which looked so crappy and dull on a PC (yeah, not all of us use Macs) that you have to wonder why Dave Shea even bothered with it. Perhaps he knocked it up in half an hour from some rejected material.

    (Alan, there are still some people who will argue that customising the WP templating system does not need any PHP knowledge. These people should not be designing software. They actually think that having a function with no parameters that has just opening and closing brackets can be understood easily by non-programming people.)

    Matt, it’s ok to admit once in a while that you don’t know everything, and to actually let better designers do some, oh, design work. (Your Honour, the prosecution presents an admin menu option called Options > Miscellaneous. Yes, Miscellaenous. I kid you not. The prosecution rests. For now.)

  6. Alan said

    See, I don’t mind the PHP-esque system, but I know that most people couldn’t understand it if paid, and (the vast majority) of the people who DO understand it don’t understand aesthetics. A system like MT’s is easy to implement (with html tag-style things) and even phpBB manages to insert data into templates without opening php tags everywhere (of course, theming phpBB is one of the hardest, most painful tasks in the world, namely because phpBB has approximately 40 000 template files and every one of them has a million td tags – it can still manage it without PHP-ising things, though), so why don’t we have it already? It could easily be placed on top of the current system, with all the more advanced PHP stuff for people who knew their shit underneath it. It makes no sense that we have to put in <?php the_title(‘<h3>’, ‘</h3>’); ?> to display a post title when other systems can just go <MTEntryTitle>, and not look so intimidating.

  7. Alan said

    There was examples of putting in WordPress post titles at the end there (with opening and closing tags), as well as putting in an MT-esque post title (you know, MT_title) with greater/less than arrows, but both were stripped. The first I understand, the second has me scratching my head.

  8. wank said

    I’ll try and fix that up for you now. I have a feeling it will involve html entity codes.

    Apparently we all now have to forget everything we learned about template functions and switch back to designing exclusively in CSS anyway, so an easytags system is lower down the priority list than ever.

    I want it to be Bryan Veloso who makes the call on what gets to be the default, but strangely the remit of official Automattic design person doesn’t seem to stretch that far; which makes one wonder whether it actually does stretch any further than ‘implement Shuttle’.

  9. Matt said

    After my presentation at BayCHI tonight one of the folks who came up to me said they choose WordPress because of the default theme, and the fellow behind him agreed.

    Get out of your wank bubble! I am. This site used to be funny, now it’s just whiny.

  10. Yeah Matt! You tell ’em!

    You’ve got two fellas telling you they liked the default. That’s a big enough sample size for me alright.

    This site used to be funny, now it’s just whiny.

    So sorry, Your Highness. We shall not interrupt your dictatorial ways.

  11. wank said

    People who choose software based on the appearance of the default theme (rather than than, say, ease of use, or range of plugins, or scalability) are clearly idiots. Particularly seeing as there are about a thousand alternatives if the default wasn’t precisely to their taste. I’m surprised that you of all people think their opinion is worth referencing.

  12. Matt said

    Most folks never run into scalability issues, plugins are still too difficult to install, and it’s easy enough to use for semi-tech people. I merely point to the two last night as echoing something I’ve heard hundreds and hundreds of times before.

    I would not underestimate the positive effect Kubrick has had on WordPress, our adoption rates changed dramatically when it was adopted. It has problems under the hood that we’re very aware of two years later, but hundreds of thousands of people are using it without caring. It’s dated and old to us because we’ve been looking at it forever, familiarity breeds contempt, but to someone new to blogs it’s pretty generically likable. Michael has a great aesthetic knack for things like that, as evidenced by the number of people who follow his development versus most other theme authors.

    3-5 semi-anonymous people on wank agreeing with each other vigorously does not a consensus make. It merely helps this site live up to its namesake.

  13. adam said

    who’s semi-anonymous?

    that said, i’m with matt on kubrick. bad structure? pain in the ass? sure.
    just slick enough to attract the necessary quorum of geeks? absolutely.

    k2, OTOH. well, that remains to be seen.
    i’d rather see faux kubrick on an hatom body.

  14. wank said

    So the increased rate of adoption when 1.5 was released was down to Kubrick, rather than any of the other features you were once so proud of? Not because of theming? Not because of Pages? Not because MT went corporate and Blogger… well, Blogger just sucked?

    If it’s true that functionality counts for nothing when people are making these decisions, and it really is all about kewl rounded corners, I find that vaguely depressing. Though not, admittedly, anywhere near as depressing as I would find it if I were actually coding the software.

  15. Alan said

    Semi-anonymous? Hardly. I use my real name here, and use an email with my domain name in it. I don’t link to my site because I don’t give a damn about link ins, but hey, if you’re re really insulted, here you go. Try not to be insulted that I’m using 2.0.2 still, it turns out having to upload a complete install every time makes my 56 connection projectile vomit. You’ll get love from me when you start releasing a TAR.GZ with just the changed files between versions, though.

  16. wank said

    Mark Jaquith does changed files zips on his wordpress.com blog. Not as nippy to upload as tar.gz but much much much better than uploading the entire thing.

  17. I’ve honestly heard it both ways. I’ve heard people say that Kubrick (which I think looked better than the MT default or the old WP default or the TextPattern default, at the time) lead them to try WordPress. But one client who was considering a MT to WP switch actually brought up Kubrick as a downside to WP: “it doesn’t have to look like [site X, which was using Kubrick] does it? Because I hate the way that looks,” the client said.

    de gustibus non est disputandum, I say. I’d be fine with Kubrick or K2 with Sandbox for the HTML… if the CSS wasn’t too hairy. I’m much more concerned with the ease of alteration than what it looks like out of the box.

    And regarding zip vs tar.gz for changed files… if you can decompress tar.gz on your server, you can probably just use svn export to do the upgrade. The zip is mainly for people who only have FTP access to their sites (a lot of people!)

  18. Scott said

    Adam: Bill has produced a Kubrick + hAtom theme called Strangelove.

  19. trevorturk said

    I particularly like that link back to Alex King’s “Style Switcher”. I was emailing with Scott a little about how to best make a Sandbox Skins site, and I was thinking how cool it would be if you just had a simple CSS switcher installed on a WordPress site. That way, you could just show off the different skins on a real, live site.

    Then I remembered that somebody already did that… quite a while ago!

    I laughed a sad, geeky little laugh to myself that night. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  20. Root said

    I know this post is quite old. Reading between the lines I think the real antipathy displayed by Moshu and others to K2 was to the creeping quasi official nature of the thing. All conducted under the covers by Matt. The distinguishing characteristic of Kubrick was that because of the sly way it appeared it pissed off every single theme designer in the community. And so hapless users never got any support in the forum thereafter because we were anti. K2 seemed then to be heading the same way. And the q in the forum was definitely in the software development category. The really wierd thing about Matt is that all this type of stuff is so opposite to the open source ethos.

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