bootstrapping wordpress

Update: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Wow. Talk about a fascinating process. I started with Automattic’s Thematic because it is one of the most widely recommended WordPress themes. The Thematic team has contributed extensively in terms of documentation, which is sadly lacking in many of the more mature Open Source communities. For a longtime developer of the interplay of languages and technologies that is the DOM, however, Thematic is not a particularly good choice. Why? Because it uses hacks to get past the WordPress theme review process.

I want to be absolutely clear that I do not mean that statement as a criticism of Thematic. Most users of the theme will never be directly affected by that choice. I was not involved with WordPress when Thematic came out, so I cannot assess the pressures and resources in the community at the time. As a devotee of agile methods, I believe in working code above perfect code! I am just looking at themes from a viewpoint that seems to have been left out of the many excellent reviews of WordPress themes that exist. If jumping into WordPress as an experienced developer from another area (say, TWiki in my case), where to start?

I have solved many of my most major frustrations with Thematic through Aaron T Grogg’s HTML5 Boilerplate plugin. And I am living with the live version of the site not validating until I finish the new version, built on Aaron’s Boilerplate: Starkers theme with a design inspired by Vatuma’s Clear Line theme. I am not rushing to finish as I want to track what I am learning and contribute much-needed documentation as well as some infrastructure.

Although I have my down days like anyone else, one need look no further than the PHP manual to see how far we have come. Our challenge is to apply those skills to ourselves. Larry Wall does a pretty good job of outlining that challenge in Diligence, Patience and Humility. I highly recommend it.

Original Post

Hi. My name is Hilary. I am a web-standardista and this page does not validate.

Nine hours. I can’t decide if that is pitiful, a sign of excellence or plain old-fashioned cussedness. Even then I’m cheating, as I did not announce the original version of this post. I published it to have a live post to speed up development.

In the end, though this blog barely exists I could not take it. Validation should be a minimum quality standard, not some pinnacle we might eventually try to reach. My inner curmudgeon is showing, a sure sign that I need sleep. I am astonished at what it took to get valid customized WordPress.

Valid XHTML 1.0 TransitionalValid CSS!

Hi. My name is Hilary. I am addicted to web standards and this page now validates:

thanks for listening,


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  1. Posted June 29, 2011 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Yayyy! It worked! I am always amazed when anything facebook related works, lol…

  2. Posted June 29, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    page wont load though 🙁

  3. Posted June 29, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    ah, does now 🙂

  4. Posted June 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    wonder what the issue was…

  5. Posted June 30, 2011 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    no idea, it wouldn’t load for several tries, might have been local to me though, I had issues with other things during the day

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