The WPSynergy project starts to gather steam

wpsynergy-logoIt occurred to me earlier that I haven’t actually blogged about the WPSynergy project yet on this blog, despite the fact its been soaking up the majority of my free time over the past few months.

Its all started when I contacted Jeremie about a possible collaboration on a WordPress theme. I can handle myself with graphics but its never been my forte (I’m a coder all the way) and some of the mockups I’d seen him post on the WD&D forum I thought were brilliant, to say the least. I had a feeling that between us we could build some stunning, functional themes.

After a chat Jeremie told me about his idea for a system whereby designers and developers could come together and contribute as much or as little as they liked to building free, functional WordPress themes. There were obvious synergies (no pun intended) between our ideas and after a bit of planning the idea of WPSynergy (or WPGorilla as it was originally known) was born.

Jeremie already had a theme concept he’d been working on – PigNews – so we decided to start with that. After a bit of work I decided that to bring the theme (and future themes) inline with our idea of functional, we need some common libraries to share between themes. Being that I spent most of my days working with PHP frameworks, the idea of a theme option framework seemed like an obvious choice and so SynTOF was born. The concept is simple – a folder you can drop into any theme, reference it from your functions.php file, enter some details into the config file and it automatically adds a multi-level option menu to the admin dashboard of whoever is using the theme. Form elements are being added as they’re needed, so out of the box you can use all the major HTML form elements with minimal effort plus some custom ones I’ve written to use with PigNews. Once I get some time I plan to implement automatic form validation options. PigNews has been an effective testbed while I’ve been writing it, and I’m pretty happy with the results so far.

I’ve also spent a lot of time setting up a nice infrastructure for the dev sites. Our development discussion site is at, our bug/issue tracker is at and the themes (and anything else we end up building) are hosted at I never claimed to be a sysadmin but I know enough and with a bit of help from the guys at work Ive nearly got things how I want them.

More recently Jeremie decided to add his popular OneRoom theme to the WPSynergy project so we could work on version 2. We integrated SynTOF and added a couple of options (width selector and ad management options) and added it to SVN. We have some plans for it, but we want to get them all down on paper (so to speak) so thats gone onto the backburner for now.

And so now its all go with PigNews – you can see the demo here. Its still a work in progress but its taking shape nicely. Features so far include a sliding category browser on the homepage, ad management, colour customization and a lot of other cool features. Grab a copy from SVN and if you want to check out everything we’ve done so far.

But theres still a long way to go, and to help things along we need contributers for every aspect of theme development. As Jeremie puts it:

Once again, we are asking for help from the WordPress community. If you are a designer or developer, there’s many way to be involved in this project. As a designer, we need you to create stunning themes, design mascots, logos, icons… As a developer, we need you to enhance our themes with options page, add AJAX effects, configure servers, develop our Options theme Framework… and we need everyone to spread the word (on twitter, Facebook, on your blog…) to move this project forward and take it to the next level.

Anyone who thinks they can contribute in anyway is welcome – fire out an email to me (chris {at} wpsynergy {dot} org) and/or Jeremie (jeremie {at} wpsynergy {dot} org) and let us know what you can do. Or if you’re a developer and know your way around SVN, check out a project and submit a patch. Basically, any help is appreciated!

We also hope to be releasing the PigNews beta shortly, so testers especially are welcome. Follow us on Twitter or sign up to our development site blog feed to be the first to hear about future releases.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far with their ideas, to Jeffr0 for the idea for the WPSynergy name, Ryan for the quick work on writing a theme switcher and to everyone who contributed to brainstorming and designing the WPSynergy logo.

Incidently, I do have a couple of other mini-projects on the go at the moment, both Glastonbury related, but I’ll talk about them more when I’m closer to releasing them. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m keeping myself busy! 🙂

1 Response to “The WPSynergy project starts to gather steam”

  1. Sounds an exciting project, if i had the time i would get involved. 🙂


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