1. Alec Kinnear

    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).


    • Kraft

      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/


      • Alec Kinnear

        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?


        • Kraft

          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.



          • Alec Kinnear

            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.


            • Kraft

              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.


          • Alec Kinnear

            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”).


  2. mac2net

    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.


  3. Mike

    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


  4. Jeffrey

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


  5. Justin Tadlock

    Great work, Felix!


  6. Luke

    Great theme, nice work :D


  7. Felix

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


  8. Kayelless

    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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