WP Themes: Lessons from ModernPaper

Performancing‘s ModernPaper wasn’t on my original project list, but I picked it up the other day when I decided to abandon Cutline.

This is a sweet design. Although it doesn’t look a whole lot like Cutline, both the page layout and the underlying architecture are quite similar. But this theme’s the product of an excellent coder, Brian Gardner (also author of the very popular Revolution theme, I see). I am, of course, a bit concerned about the 930 pixel graphic in the header.

The page layout is similar to Cutline’s: two navigation columns, both on the right, and a moderately wide (albeit disguised) graphic which defines the width of the header, and thus the page. The details differ quite a bit from Cutline’s, and the layout’s not as visually attractive, but this is an excellent content-presentation layout.

Behind the scenes, there’s a slight surprise; Gardner’s used the Home.php page the way most theme designers use Index.php, and Gardner’s Index.php is used like most designers use Single.php. (That realization sent me to the Template Hierarchy, where I convinced myself that the design decision makes sense, though it’s unconventional.) Opening the files to examine the code is delightful: Gardner writes clean, compact, and obvious code, uses XHTML tags as they’re intended, and organizes things well. Needless to say, his CSS files are similarly impressive.

I like this one, folks. It’s not cutting edge stuff, but it’s extremely well-crafted. Reworking it to fit my brother’s screen would be a bit of a chore, but the necessary changes are well within my abilities. But let’s look at something else for a few days….