WordPress Twenty Fourteen Project Enters Crunch Time for 3.8 Release

twenty-fourteenThe Twenty Fourteen project team, led by Lance Willett, is working like crazy to get the theme ready for the upcoming 3.8 release. The theme’s inclusion in 3.8 is dependent upon how many things can be accomplished during the crunch time before the merge window closes tomorrow.

Since last week’s development chat, the team has made great strides and announced a number of major improvements today, including:

  • Many design changes to make the “first run” nicer and look better without featured images
  • UI for Featured Content moved completely into Customizer (tag, display, count)
  • Added contextual help and tips around the admin interface for setting up the Featured Content area
  • Performance tweaks for faster loading
  • IE, RTL, and i18n fixes

The Decision to Remove Placeholder Images

Creating a theme that is so highly dependent upon featured images makes it a challenging to display content nicely without them. Originally, Twenty Fourteen included placeholder images in case no featured images were set. This was meant to encourage users to add featured images. Instead, it ended up making the theme look awkward without featured images. This week the team opted to remove the placeholders in favor of giving it a more general appeal as a blog theme. However, Twenty Fourteen will still look its best when feature images are used.

Featured Content in Twenty Fourteen

Twenty Fourteen is intended to be a magazine style default theme, so having an easy way to promote featured content is important. The theme was originally intended to work hand-in-hand with the “Featured Content” plugin that is being developed for 3.8. As it is yet unclear if that plugin will be ready, the team opted to implement a “featured content” tag instead, which can now be found in the Customizer.

Author Widget

Lance Willett said that they are hoping to include the Author Widget plugin in Twenty Fourteen to highlight multiple authors. This is well-suited to a magazine theme. For now it exists as the Authors Widget plugin but Willett says, “It’s fairly light and can merge right away.”

How to Access Twenty Fourteen for Testing

If you want to see how Twenty Fourteen is shaping up, check out a live demo at: twentyfourteendemo.wordpress.com/. This site is synced nearly every day with the core version of Twenty Fourteen.

There are a number of ways to get access to the theme for testing. You can grab it via SVN or switch to trunk using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin. The easiest option, however, might be to simply download the WordPress zip from its github repository, which is a mirror of the subversion repository and synced via SVN every 15 minutes.

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