It’s been a minute since I posted about creating a new custom theme for brettro.com, so I thought I’d post an update.
When I sat down and really started thinking about how I wanted to approach this, I realized how much had changed since I developed the last brettro.com WordPress theme. I decided I wanted to keep up with and learn about as many of those changes as possible throughout the entire design and development process, so I’m tackling each step with intention and a willingness to learn.
Step 1: Develop a Design System
Design systems seem to be the natural evolution of atomic design and provide an incredible amount of detail from the vision of a design to the exact pixel dimension of a rounded corner on a button and just about everything in between. I want to do a deep dive into this, create one for Brettrospective and document what I learn along the way.
Step 2: Use a New Tool to Design the User Interface
In 2017 Adobe released XD, an app specifically for creating user interfaces for websites and apps. From the little bit of it I’ve used, it seems to be an incredibly useful and functional app and one that I can see becoming the de facto standard for creating and prototyping interfaces. I’m excited to dive in and learn this tool.
Step 3: Assess my Development Toolbox
I want to take a look at the tools I use to do my actual development work. I’m both very comfortable with and a huge fan of all the tools I use. I know that Panic, the makers of Coda have Nova , a new code editor, on the horizon and I am very excited about that. And I recently decided to start using GitLab instead of Github. So those are a few changes on the horizon.
Step 4: Develop the Theme
Even though the Brettro WordPress theme won’t be available for anyone to use, I want to develop it to the standard that would get it approved for posting on the WordPress theme directory. Making sure it takes advantage of the newest features of WordPress is an important learning moment for me, as is understanding what elements must be and should be included in a theme. I plan to use the underscores theme as my foundation.
I also want to give some thought to what CSS framework I might use. My previous theme used Bourbon and Bourbon Neat. Recently the folks who created both frameworks discontinued development on Neat and are encouraging people to use modern, native CSS features like Grid and Flexbox. They’re smart to do so and I’m excited to dive into those two CSS features as well.
Documenting It All
Like I said in my original post about this, I plan on documenting the things I learn, the challenges I face and the victories I achieve while creating this new theme. So stay tuned…