PressWork made a big splash in the WordPress theme world when it launched its free HTML5/CSS3 framework in the summer of 2011. The theme boasted a unique drag and drop front-end editor which allowed users to customize their sites without having to touch any code.
Brendan Sera-Shriar and Chris Bavota put a great deal of effort into the framework only to close the doors one year later after the two admitted that they could not successfully monetize it and no longer had time to devote to the project. The popularity of the framework gradually fizzled out over the years, as it languished on GitHub without updates.
Today the new PressWork website announced that the project’s founders have given the keys over to WordPress developer Emil Uzelac. As an active member of the WordPress.org Theme Review Team, Uzelac has a solid understanding of best practices and the passion to revive PressWork.
I spoke with him to find out the details of the PressWork sale, only to discover that the founders actually gave him the project, branding and all, without no strings attached.
“A couple of weeks ago I got in touch with c.bavota and asked if they have any future plans with the PressWork and if I could ‘take over,'” Uzelac told the Tavern. “The next day I received an e-mail along with c.bavota’s ‘Yes, you can.'” The PressWork GitHub repo has now been transferred to Uzelac’s account. The original PressWork team seemed eager to offload the project to someone who would give it a good home. “I’m not really sure if the guys had any interest in it anymore,” Uzelac said. “I simply asked for it.”
If you’ve ever been given a non-working car, then you have a good foundation for understanding this transaction. PressWork received next to no contributions after the project was abandoned. Essentially, the framework needs a few updates to make it compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but there’s huge potential there if Uzelac can bring the project back up to speed.
The fatal error of the original PressWork team was that they had no commercial backbone to sustain the framework’s continual development. Uzelac confirmed that he plans to relaunch with commercial products. “If I learned anything from developing the Responsive Theme, it’s that you have to add commercial products in the order to survive,” he said.
Uzelac is in the process of updating the framework. “My main plan is to get the PressWork back in WordPress directory,” he said. “After that, a new modern look will be in order.”
Before the original PressWork team closed the doors, they reported that tens of thousands of WordPress users had downloaded the theme. The framework now has a chance at a strong future. Instead of disappearing into the black hole of abandoned WordPress projects, PressWork has been adopted by a developer who is passionate about restoring its usefulness. What do you think Uzelac can do with it?