Theme Assessment 2017
I am performing an assessment of the network enabled themes on the Commons, building off previous work by Laura Kane--who started a spreadsheet on this topic in 2014--and Kelly Josephs--who made edits/additions to this spreadsheet last year, which resulted in this thread and the acquisition of some new themes: https://redmine.gc.cuny.edu/issues/5838
In looking at the themes on the Commons, I am comparing them against network enabled theme lists for OpenLab, Blogs@Baruch, Macaulay ePortfolio, OpenCUNY, and NYU WP (https://wp.nyu.edu/). I asked for and received a list of themes active on OpenLab and Blogs@Baruch in late January, and I gathered the remaining information for the other three installations myself since I am an active participant on these systems. Later in the process, I'll be looking to the themes lists from these platforms for suggestions for new themes, but here's a quick bit of information right now. Macaulay ePortfolio has 211 network enabled themes (includes some child themes), Blogs@Baruch has 99, the Commons has 85, OpenCUNY has 59, NYU WP has 47, and OpenLab has 14.
In assessing our themes, I'm going to be paying close attention to when the themes were last updated on WP.org because out-of-date themes can stop working well and won't be taking into account recent trends in theme development towards responsiveness, multiple platforms, and accessibility. As I do this, I'll also be paying attention to accessibility and making sure we have or consider acquiring a healthy set of accessible themes. I will be digging into information and contacts that Luke provided when I near this step. At the end, I'm hoping to produce a white paper with suggestions that will be useful to the Commons, but which I hope to share with the other platforms as a way of saying thanks for sharing their information.
I will also be making documentation on the Help site for new users about how to choose a theme, likely once the theme assessment is farther along. I am considering drafting from this post that I wrote for OpenCUNY: http://opencuny.info/2015/08/27/how-to-choose-a-theme-5-tips/ I welcome comments and suggestions about how to adapt this information for the Commons, in addition to changing the names of the theme suggestions once the assessment nears completion.
At this stage, I am performing a sweep through our theme list. 60 of the 85 are not actively searchable through the WordPress.org theme interface https://wordpress.org/themes/. That means that either they were acquired outside of this repository or that they haven't been updated in 2 years and have been removed from being searchable. I'm working right now on determining what the situation is for each of these unsearchable themes, working in part from the spreadsheet mentioned at the beginning of this post alongside resources like this list of themes retired on WordPress.com (note sometimes these themes continue to be developed on WordPress.org, but often not): https://theme.wordpress.com/all-retired/
Some questions at this juncture:
1. What is the process for updating themes acquired outside of the WordPress.org framework? I'm thinking here of themes from places like Elegant Themes and Woo Themes.
2. Would there be a way to get dates for when these themes were last updated on our system? To my knowledge, this information doesn't exist within the WordPress interface--even at the network admin level--but it would be easy to acquire by, for example, looking at the dates that the folders of the theme files were last updated through an FTP interface.