Yuuta: A Free Visual Diary Theme for WordPress

Earlier this month, a new proposal landed on trac, advocating the removal of post formats from core. Many believe that this feature would be better as a plugin, since it has received little improvement over the years and is not used by the majority of WordPress users.

If the UI can be improved to be less confusing and theme support is standardized, post formats may have a chance at more widespread adoption. The feature is entirely dependent on theme support, as post formats are not enabled by default unless the theme author opts to include them. Many still do, which is why ripping them out of core in favor of a plugin would be a major undertaking.

One of the most common use cases for post formats is a diary style WordPress theme. Yuuta is a relatively popular theme on WordPress.org that revolves entirely around post formats. In the past four months, it has been downloaded more than 7,000 times. Yuuta was created to serve as a visual diary and includes support for all nine of WordPress’ post formats.

yuuta

The theme was designed by Felix Dorner, owner of Studio DRNR, a Berlin-based web development company. According to its description page, Yuuta was selected as the the theme’s name based on its Japanese meaning:

Yuuta is a Japanese name and is made up of 優 (yuu) “gentleness, superiority”, 悠 (yuu) “distant, leisurely” or 勇 (yuu) “brave” combined with 太 (ta) “thick, big”.

Each post format has its own distinguishing icon and unique display. Dorner opted to use Roboto, Roboto Slab, and a sprinkling of Courier as the theme’s primary fonts. The typography choices were selected for optimal readability on all screen sizes.

yuuta-chat-format

Yuuta also includes specific styles for both standard and Jetpack-enabled galleries.

yuuta-jetpack-enabled-gallery

The theme’s design is fairly set, unless you opt to create a child theme. There are zero options in the Customizer. Much of the design customization is done on a post-by-post basis, as the featured image serves as a unique background for the post. Yuuta also includes editor styles to match the editing experience to the theme’s frontend appearance.

The primary navigation menu is hidden until toggled into view by the icon in the header, which keeps the reader focused on the content. There are no sidebars to contend with but widgets can be added to the footer.

If you’re a fan of post formats, the Yuuta theme really makes them shine. It responds to display beautifully on all devices from desktop to tablet to smartphone. Check out a live demo on Dorner’s website to see each post format in action. You can download Yuuta for free from WordPress.org or install it via your admin themes browser.

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15 Comments


  1. This series on themes which are pushing the web forward using WordPress technology is an inspiration. It’s a pity the better looking gallery is dependent on JetPack technology. It doesn’t seem to me something like attractive galleries should depend on third party servers. It contradicts the whole independent publishing ethos.

    What I would love to see in the demo is an example of each kind of post format. Right now there’s only a few examples and they are not well labelled. I still haven’t made my mind up about post formats. At this point for me, any post should be able to handle any content but perhaps with better examples of how to exploit post formats, I would think differently.

    Moving post formats to a plugin wouldn’t be the end of the world: the plugin could keep all the same core hook names. The plugin could also doublecheck for version on installation to make sure it’s not being installed in an older version with post formats in core (hence conflict).

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    1. Jetpack’s Galleries require a third-party connection (WordPress.com) because the mosaic display (highlighted in this review) dynamically determines the image size best for the display. At this time, WordPress doesn’t have a way to dynamically generate thumbnails—only what is preset via Settings->Media or via the theme’s code, which doesn’t automatically regenerate older images if the sizes change.

      To get around this, Jetpack loads the gallery images through our Photon CDN ( https://developer.wordpress.com/photon ) which includes dynamic image sizing as a feature.

      The Photon code, though, is open-source so someone could run their own instance of Photon and use Jetpack’s code to do the same thing without third-party connections. Available via SVN at http://code.svn.wordpress.org/photon/

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      1. Thanks for the detailed technical explanation Kraft. It’s succinct and clear and to the point.

        Yet it seems to me this is another scores for Jetpack as serviceware (plugin using a service when it is not necessary to send data offsite). There’s absolutely no reason that the dynamic image resizing couldn’t be handled on site (with perhaps a subset of Photon’s features). Dynamic image resizing is another good example of the borg approach taken by Jetpack/Automattic.

        Really, really why should it be necessary to use third party servers to get reasonably attractive galleries. Why cripple core comments (no real improvements in five years)? Why cripple core image handling?

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      2. It totally could be handled all locally. There’s a Trac ticket to add this to Core: https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/15311

        In our particular case, the fancy galleries were already on WordPress.com and using WP.com’s iteration of Photon. There are no plans to not use Photon on WordPress.com, Core doesn’t support dynamic image sizing itself, Jetpack, generally, already requires a connection for most things to function, and Photon is easier on the local host than trying to spin up a number of different image sizes, so put it all together, it didn’t make sense for us to spend dev time to perfect within Jetpack a second solution that wasn’t as feature-rich as the original (the CDN aspect of Photon, for example).

        That said, we do have a mostly functional fallback in Jetpack when there is not a connection (at the request of folks using Jetpack Development Mode), but it isn’t perfect. I don’t recall the details at the moment, but I believe crop and zooms are off on that. Good for getting a sense of how Tiled Galleries look, but may or may not be good enough for production.

        Once there’s a native solution in Core, I’m pretty sure we’d adapt Tiled Galleries to make use of it as an alternative, which would make it easier for folks to use without Jetpack and/or make it considerable for Core inclusion.

        Our goal isn’t to cripple anything. Jetpack Comments don’t make sense for Core since they require API keys (the social network sign-on pieces) and, honestly, haven’t improved much, if any, on our end since they were released on WP.com/Jetpack.

        Anytime anything in Jetpack is reasonable for Core inclusion, we’re 100% in support of that. 4.3’s Site Icon is a good example of something from Jetpack being the beginning to enhance Core.

        I’m cool to agree to disagree. The Jetpack team loves Core and why George and myself try to be as active on feature plugins and other core enhancements as we can be.

        Cheers!

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      3. Thanks for the background info, Kraft.

        Actually we are on opposite sides of this. Philosophically it’s clear to me that WordPress.org should be standalone software which is not dependent on any third party servers for anything.

        Hence Jetpack (or any other third party service) support should not be added to Core under any circumstances. Requiring Jetpack is tilting the development environment entirely in favour of Automattic. I know that warms the hearts of VC’s and Automattic executives but it’s now what the independent developers who have worked ten years to build WordPress (well nine in Foliovision’s case) signed up for.

        A better solution here would be to add the essentials of Photon to Core so better galleries are possible without requiring a third party server at all. I agree that adding image editing would be unnecessary and somewhat dangerous on shared hosting. Basic resizing and tiling should not be an issue though.

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      4. I don’t think Jetpack support should be added to Core either. The default themes are a perfect example. They don’t add Jetpack Infinite Scroll support—we add a shim into Jetpack to enable it because, agreed, Core shouldn’t build features that depend on Jetpack.

        My point was that if any code from Jetpack can be “forked” into Core, be totally self-sustaining within Core, and Core wants it, then yes. Let’s do it.

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      5. Kraft, it turns out you and I think very similarly on these issues. Indeed, if Jetpack were contributing self-sufficient code to Core (not dependent on third party services), my own feelings towards Jetpack would warm considerably. Right now Jetpack is the friend who always asks for a fiver but never has one to return (“sorry man, i left my code on the server”).

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  2. Still so frustrating to see this on a small macbook air. Twitter is super efficient and this is super inefficient. Wishing for something in between useful for a widescreen format.

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  3. Hi Sarah

    Minimalist themes seem to be on the rise, which is a good thing in my opinion. I like this theme, its simplicity is key to its success in the WordPress Repository.

    Thanks for sharing your views on this theme.

    Best wishes, Mike

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  4. I might give it a try when I finish my upgrade to Windows 10. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Finally, I saw that I was featured here – probably too late. Thanks for the write-up Sarah!

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  6. Same issue I have with 95% of all WordPress themes designed to show photos – featured images. We authors have no control over how they’re used in the theme. More specifically, it seems someone has deemed that we photographers want the featured image to appear in part or in whole in the post’s header, leaving us with no control over how it’s displayed. The only options left to us are to either not include a featured image for the post or go ahead and place the picture as post content and have doubled images in our posts.

    This is very frustrating. If it is a photoblog the picture is the content. There isn’t much that we wish to add outside of a brief caption. I don’t want the post header to include my feature image or in the case of this theme I don’t want it to be a part of the background.

    One may think that utilizing a different post format might be a solution. That might be a useful idea if I were building my site from scratch, but in the case of a pre-existing site I would have to go back and change the format of up to hundreds of posts. No. I think I will just use another theme. This one won’t do.

    That is my gripe. I have to wade through dozens of theme templates just to find a few that will not automatically put my featured images into my posts. Simply put we need the option to choose if we want our featured images utilized in such fashion.

    Not every post is conceived to be a gallery of images. Many times we just want to make a post around a single image. It’s not always good to display it twice in one post. That’s not a good showcase.

    Why are so many photoblog themes designed this way?

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