2018: The year of the missing theme

Every year since 2009, the good people at WP have released a new default theme. Until now. The default theme is usually released in November, and is named for the upcoming year. So, the Twenty Ten theme was released late in 2009.  The tradition continued through Twenty Seventeen, released in late 2016, then ground to a screeching, unplanned, embarrassing halt. This is the year of the missing theme.

The year of the missing Theme

Blame WP 5 and its signature feature, the new Gutenberg editor. The release of WP 5, planned for late 2017, was supposed to make a huge splash, in part by including both Gutenberg and the Twenty Eighteen theme. But, late 2017 came and went, and Gutenberg sucked. Release was delayed to Spring 2018 – which came and went – and Gutenberg still sucked. Release was delayed again, and again, and so on, till now we are in November 2018 – time for the Twenty Nineteen theme. So, WP 5 is now planned to be released on November 19, 2018, along with Gutenberg (it still sucks but somewhat less now – though opinions vary) and the Twenty Eighteen Nineteen theme. There is a great deal of scuttlebutt that WP may miss the November release date – Gutenberg still sucking and all – in which case the date would skip past the holidays into early 2020.

So … two full years with no new theme. As a practical matter this is no big deal – Twenty Seventeen is just fine as a troubleshooting tool, which is all I use it for – it has way too much wasted white space and too few redeeming features for me to use it in production. Just … not a good look for WP. I could be wrong but my thinking is this is bad karma for dissing Bi Sheng, the actual inventor of movable type printing. Not to take anything away from Johannes. His improvements made large scale printing technically and economically feasible, and changed the world forever. But Bi was the actual inventor, roughly 400 years earlier, and he gets comparatively very little love. Is it too late to change the name of the new editor?

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