Suffusion is celebrating its first birthday today! I am glad that I managed to slug it out for a year and come up with a decent theme that people haven’t utterly and totally slammed!
As is the case with most perspectives, I wanted to spend a few paragraphs explaining my plans for the next few months. I have already got the theme where I wanted in terms of most of the key features. Barring a dedicated photo-blog template there are very few noteworthy features lacking in the theme. Mind you, photo-blogging templates have been on my agenda since quite some time, but I had always planned to have those in the 4.x.x releases. Given that I am currently developing 3.6.0, there are still several weeks to go before I get there. Of course, when I had planned to do photo-blogging in 4.x.x I used to often jump releases, like go from 2.6.6 to 3.0.0 (that was actually a milestone release with a magazine template). But since the last few months my release strategy has changed and I have bundled several milestones with minor releases. For example you have had BuddyPress support, lots of new layouts, some new skins, advanced features like custom post types etc. So for all you know, I might actually provide photo-blogging earlier than expected.
To provide you with some insights, I maintain a “parking lot” list of items that I intend to deliver. This list already has more than 40 items with varying levels of complexity, and some of the items are feature requests and some are bugs. Whenever I think of something that would be nice to deliver, I go ahead and add it to the parking lot. Then, after submitting a particular version when I start off with a new version I go through the parking lot and pull out things that I think I can deliver in a particular release. Some of those make it to the next release and some others find their way back to the parking lot. The size of the parking lot has been around 40 for quite a few weeks now, so that means I am adding items at the same rate as implementing them. In general my focus has been to implement bug-fixes first, then tackle feature requests.
So what can you expect from now on? There will be new features delivered – small and big. I will also focus on theme aesthetics a lot more. As a kid I used to be good with art, but after I grew up I don’t do very well with making things look pretty online. So you will have:
- Better Typography
I have been reading up a fair bit on typography the last few weeks. While I fail to spot the nuances of sites with so-called good typography, I do understand that a lot of people have a far more discerning eye. I am planning to overhaul the theme’s typography capabilities in the next few months.
- Prettier Designs
In release 3.5.6 I made a release of a minimalistic skin. I am going to add quite a few others to the mix. Mind you, this is a singularly tough task for me as a developer, not a designer. My guess is that you will see 2-3 new skins come up.
- Better Theme Skinning
A lot of people have complained about the fact that the navigation bar look and feel cannot be customized through options. Methinks thou doth ask too much, because the most extensive tutorial I have written so far deals with precisely the customization of the navigation bar. However, I do have plans to provide skinning capabilities to a handful of other places. It is just that this is an extremely tedious task that doesn’t teach me anything new.
- Some Stunning Widget Area Concepts
Version 3.5.0 had natively tabbed sidebars, 3.5.4 came with 10 widget areas, the unreleased 3.5.8 had 12 and the release you are hopefully going to get, 3.5.9 has 17. I have already increased the number to 19 in 3.6.0 and I can assure you that the final number will be close to 30. I basically intend to provide users with the capability to have a widget area wherever they need one. In addition, just like the tabbed sidebar, you will see a bunch of other effects added to your sidebar rendering. That is all I am going to say at this moment – you will have to wait for the feature to actually see all of this in action.
And yes, I will be focusing on documentation of the theme along with a demo site. I have often started putting these together, but found it too boring a task to continue.
That’s it for now!