Finally – the Franklin Street WordPress Theme is Released

Nearly nine months ago, the new version of Some Random Dude was launched. The introductory post mentioned that all work showcased on the site would be created with the intention of being publicly released. The most notable piece, being the theme of this very blog. Yet, here we are and still no theme has been released. Now, this is not due to my decision to reneg on that deal. More simply, it is because the theme was a complete and utter mess that was nearly impossible to release in any way that would be discernible or useful to anyone but myself. In addition, there were many facets of this theme that I felt missed the mark or did not end up working out as planned. Therefore, I took a step back and tackled the redesign of this site 180 degrees from how I initially did. I designed and created the WordPress theme for public use first and its (tentatively) ready for you to use.

Straight To Business

I am aware most of you are quite uninterested in hearing about my process or the background of this project, so if you want to cut to the chase, check out the theme for yourself and, if you like it, download the theme.

Screenshots

Even more so than its predecessor, the Franklin Street theme is conforms strongly to its grid system. The grid is a 14 column setup and has proven to be extremely flexible for my own personal needs. I am hoping that it will be the same for public use.

About The Theme

The Franklin Street theme was designed specifically for displaying a large and diverse range of content on the front page. Some Random Dude is essentially a lifestream blog where I pull in content from my online accounts. The main problem was that the content I was generating varied drastically size, format and importance. Simply stacking them vertically did not seem to be the proper way to handle the information. Therefore, I created a tiered system where each type of content was put into one of three buckets — large format, medium format and small format. Large format content is consists of blog posts, medium format contains mainly images and photos and small format is filled with Twitter updates, Delicious links, etc. This design element was the most important piece of the previous design and it is remaining unchanged in the new version. This format, however, makes the theme somewhat of a niche design as most people will not have the need (or the desire) to format their content in this way. It is important to know that just like this site, this theme actively blocks IE6 and Safari 2.0. If that is not your thing, you may want to pass on this theme.

Differences Between Old And New

From a visual perspective, I think the differences are quite obvious. This theme was designed for public use as the top priority, so the visual treatment is restrained and designed in order to maximize flexibility. One of the biggest changes is just its sheer drop in weight. The old theme is heavy, almost beyond practicality. The new theme uncompressed is still smaller than the old theme fully compressed. Additionally, the markup is far more minimal than the older version as well — making maintenance and alterations less of a nightmare. Lastly, all Javascript effects you see in the old site have been removed as I did not want to make the assumption that people would want that on by default. I may create add-on packs in the future for those who would like said effects.

I am a firm believer that all good projects involving code are written (at least) twice. I feel like the old theme was well-intentioned, but ultimately missed the mark on some very important features. I have submitted the theme to WordPress with the hope that it will be added to their theme collection. Once the dust settles and all the bugs/mistakes have been cleared away, I will begin the process of implementing this theme on my site. This theme will have some custom alterations made to fit my needs more snugly — I will be happy to share the final implementation of this theme for my site if anyone is interested.

Feedback Is Golden

Let me know your thoughts on this theme and if you have any ideas on improving it. Like all projects that have yet to see the light of day, it is probably missing the mark in various ways. Let me know if you know of a way to improve upon it.

15 thoughts on “Finally – the Franklin Street WordPress Theme is Released”

  1. I love the theme. I’m extremely tempted to use it for my own blog, but I don’t share as many pictures/design-oriented work so I’m worried that t might not be exactly a perfect fit for my needs. That said, I’m still very intrigued 🙂

  2. Also, my biggest concern is that there seem to be a few presentation/compatibility issues in IE8; navbar does not appear at the top, and a lot of embedded text does not seem to appear such as the Comment Love amount, text for “Life + Work Stream”, “Snippets” etc. Also the names of people commenting.

    Got an error viewing this page in IE8, for what it’s worth:

    Webpage error details

    User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/4.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; MS-RTC LM 8; InfoPath.3)
    Timestamp: Wed, 30 Sep 2009 18:35:33 UTC

    Message: Invalid argument.
    Line: 583
    Char: 239
    Code: 0
    URI: http://somerandomdude.com/min/?g=libJS

  3. this is an awesome theme man!

    i just installed it and got it up and running on my personal blog! the layout is incredible and just the simplicity of the base design and coloring is so good. Thanks for all your hard work in putting it together.

    I also just saw you love commenting idea and think that is beautiful as well.

    I absolutely plan on keeping in touch here and would potentially like to start the love sharing on my site as well!

    Hope your having an awesome day!

  4. Hey, I’ve been working with your theme (I’m planning as using it as the basis of a theme of my own) and it appears that you’ve got a number of things that just aren’t finished in some area. Just thought you might like to know.

    love the theme btw

  5. Small question, how do you get the colour in the footer with the categories and the blogroll like you have here on somerandomdude.com ?

    1. Well, what you see on somerandomdude.com is a customized version of the Franklin Street WordPress theme. I would have no problem releasing this version of the theme as well – perhaps that is something I can do later this month. However, since it is customized, it is going to have a lot of custom code (go figure) that may not work well with how you want it to look. Nonetheless, if it’s something you’re interested in, I would be happy to release it.

  6. Sorry for double post, but I’m getting the following error with the RSS from the footer:

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/lla/domains/isfullofwin.info/public_html/test/wp-content/themes/franklinstreet/functions.php:275) in /home/lla/domains/isfullofwin.info/public_html/test/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php on line 8

  7. Hey Dude!! Love the site and your ideas. Love your icon set too. I have installed the Franklin Street theme on MAMP and giving it a blast. I saw you are keen/willing to release your own custom somerandomdude theme aswell. I would gladly take copy of that from you!!! I love the public release but like your own version even more. I would love to know about pulling in the Tumblr and twitter stuff in the secondary and tertiary too. Mate, it’s noble what you do for people and the work you put in. Look forward to visiting your blog more and I have subscribed and follow on Twitter. Regards.

  8. Shane – The Franklin Street theme has been on the back-burner for a month or so now – which I apologize for. There’s just so many hours in the day and I need to pay the bills. That said, this project is moving back into my radar and I will be working the new additions/fixes/features into the theme. I also plan to release both themes as a single pack to allow people to choose which theme they prefer.

    While I did not promote it, I did add the theme used on this site to the SVN repo on the Google Code page for this project. It was committed pretty much as-is, but it is a start if you are adventurous.

    In terms of pulling in other data, I go into the specifics in the readme included in the download. The gist is that you will need the WP-O-Matic plugin. There are various ways to set it up – I will let it up to individuals to figure out how they would prefer to do it.

  9. P.J.!

    I found this wp theme a good few months back and have been keeping up to date with your stuff and work since, continually amazed at your quality of stuff. Also saw you began working at adaptive path a good bit ago! Congrats with that man, they look like an incredible company.

    Have there been any updates on when updated versions of Franklin Street WP theme will be released?

    I don’t know how to write code but really appreciate quality, simple design and love what you’ve done with the site here and the way you create in general!

    Looking forward to more of your stuff to come!

    Hope your having a great weekend.

    Robbie

  10. Just popping by from the world of Tumblr.com to say how much I adore your ‘Off Franklin’ theme.
    I love the idea of enlarging photos whilst remaining on the same page, because it makes a blog look more like a professional portfolio.
    Your icon designs are truly unique and are a fresh twist on the same boring icons you see day in day out.
    My favourite aspect is the colour scheme; very subdued and classy!
    That is all, and thanks again 🙂 You wouldn’t believe how picky I am when it comes to themes, but this just fits my bill so perfectly, I had to tell you.

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