Student Projects and WordPress

Twenty Seventeen
Twenty Seventeen – the code in the core themes is poetry. Unfortunately that is not the case in many freemium-premium solutions. Why?
Why is the code in socalled professinal themes so hard to understand? Multimedia students often face problems if they use freemium-premium solutions.

Right now the multimedia students at Business Academy Aarhus work on their exam projects. During the project they’ll create an advanced multimedia solution for a real life client, that must be “powered by WorPress”.

Since they are creative multimedia users, they want to change a given theme either by CSS tweaks, or more advanced code, such as custom pages in PHP via the template hierarchy.

A few students have tried to create themes from scratch or very basic skeleton themes. They get the cocalled “1000 hour” headstart from Underscores.me.

In this way they had free hands for their creative visions.

Other students go for the popular freemium-premium themes with lots of built in drag and drop options. Such themes are very popular in the business, so working with them is a fine preparation for the life and art of the web designer. But if you think that this choice is cheating or a short cut, think again.

Indeed, some of these self-proclaimed “professional” themes play nasty tricks on the web developer. Basic WordPress functionality, such as custom CSS or other standard WordPress functionality is blocked by some themes!

Often the code in “fremium-premium” solutions is quite hard to understand. Not because the code is more “professional”, but because the developers want to protect whatever they think is a “business secret”. The business model is obvious – if you can’t figure out how to use the “free” theme you have to pay … and that’s what I’d call a booby trap!

Perhaps the beginner should avoid such themes. You may think that you buy support, but in the real world you just pay for more problems! And yeah, you could pay in order to solve these problems too …

So the multimedia designers who used the “professional” themes had to work very hard in order to create the solutions with the tweaks they envisioned.

Often what seem to be the “easy way” or “professional solution” isn’t. Like at all. Most web developers would be better off with a standard no fuzzz theme like the core WordPress Theme Twenty Seventeen, or one of the free themes in the WordPress repositories.

If you want to design posts and pages via drag and drop, perhaps it’s the best choice is to use a standard theme with a good clean and easy readable code, and then add something like Siteorigin’s Pagebuilder to the theme.

At the end of the day you could say that it’s a daunting task to create a WordPress theme from scratch. But when I see the efforts the developers face when fighting with the freemium-premium solutions I have to conclude, that these themes is no shortcut at all.

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