PHP in templates is so last decade
Video killed the radio star.
Textpattern is mostly used by web developers, the end user base is rather small at the moment. I attribute the low user acceptance of Textpattern to the high barrier that exists for initially launching a TxP powered web site. The high user acceptance of other systems, I feel, is because it’s so easy to pick a theme and start writing articles.
Most available themes for Textpattern are comprised of long instructions where copying from text files and pasting into the backend presentation pages is the method for installing the theme. Since we began talking about a theme mechanism at the support forum, some designs are now being packaged up with hcg_templates, making it easier for the end user.
The theme mechanism discussion began over two and half years ago, today we still don’t have a core developer sanctioned method of dealing with user themes. Textpattern 4.2.0 was just released with the ability to have admin themes, logically you appeal to your largest demographic, but my hope is that we can reach a user themes consensus sooner rather than never.
There has been talk of adding better theme switching to Textpattern, and it seems at first to be a no-brainer. However, after some thought my personal feeling is that it is not a market that we should pursue for a couple of reasons:
1. Textpattern is squarely aimed at designers who want to create bespoke sites with clean and fully controllable HTML, but don’t necessarily want to get involved in PHP coding. By making themes adhere to a strict set of rules we may destroy a lot of that concept – hooks and limitations would have to be introduced to make themes hot-swappable.
2. Other CMS platforms have that ‘one-click theme’ market pretty much catered for – we are never going to complete with WordPress either financially or in sheer man-power so why bother trying to be an also-ran when we could be providing an alternative CMS methodology as we do now.
3. A major problem with themes (and one that can cause problems for WordPress too) is their reliance on plugins. Since these plugins are generally not core and rely on third-party maintainers there is no guarantee that they are well written, still supported or that they don’t have security/usability issues.
Given the designer-centric nature of Textpattern users, are online wowsites like DudaMobile that promise to take any design and make it mobile friendly going to further erode the perceived value of the craft? We already have one-click products that claim it’s “easy” to make a site, now we have services saying it’s “easy” to build a responsive site from an existing site.
Regardless that the results are questionable (and may not lead to a demonstrable increase in traffic), do you think web designers are going to continue to have a rough ride in the marketplace? Will such services, as they gain popularity, make it harder to quote for work when clients can “get a site” for less than ten bucks? Or will good design prevail?
And how do you win clients over when competing with software that purports to do your job? Will we end up using these tools as a basis for designs and then value-add, just to cut development time; a bit like using a framework? Or are they the Frontpage of today’s world that make messy, hard to maintain code?
See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he’s a millionaire