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cramdesign says

So many themes here have the same basic set of features… slider, portfolio, admin area, shortcodes, etc. Is everyone really starting all of this from scratch or most folks just frankensteining parts from other themes and modifying? More likely it is everything in between…

I know that there are frameworks and starter themes out there… whiteboard, thematic, starkers, wp framework, even twentyten could work… but all are a long shot from the features needed to be even remotely competitive here. It would be great if there were a themeforest starter theme or if one of the theme authors would be willing to allow their themes to be stripped down and used as a starter. I would certainly be willing to buy a theme like this with a basic set of features. It would need little or no styling, just well organized code.

It seems like there was talk of this at some point… did anything ever come of that?

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CyberShot says

I have been using starkers with twenty ten theme and I like it. I would be interested in purchasing a naked theme with advanced options already installed. Like the ability to upload images, sliders…All the standard things that are used in the themes. I think that would be great.

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AdamGold says

I don’t think that something like this will be on sale here in TF because you are not allowed to use files you purchased for commercial use, only if you have purchased Extended license.

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BroOf says

Start from scratch! It is a huge advantage if you know everything about your theme ;) Also you are more flexible and able to control everything on your sites.

I just started to build my own little WordPress framework and in the beginning I thought I couldn’t handle this but over time I realized that it’s not very difficult. If you understand the basics like how to safe/update/delete WordPress options you can easily build your own framework.

You also learn a lot new stuff and if you assile a new task it will become even easier ;)

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cramdesign says

I don’t think that something like this will be on sale here in TF because you are not allowed to use files you purchased for commercial use, only if you have purchased Extended license.

It would definitely need to be something blessed by tf.

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fillerspace says

WIth Wordpress, all of the PHP code that touches Wordpress code is GPL licensed, so since you won’t be using any of the style or Javascript, couldn’t you just take any theme’s backend?

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cramdesign says

WIth Wordpress, all of the PHP code that touches Wordpress code is GPL licensed, so since you won’t be using any of the style or Javascript, couldn’t you just take any theme’s backend?

It seems that you can and the way that new features propagate TF, there is definitely some of that happening… That’s why I think that Envato should just pony up, hire a good developer and release an official starter theme. Not something that is required, that would be against the spirit of TF. Just an option available. Definitely the stronger coders would still want to distinguish themselves by their own framework/code/features.

Other than establishing a base theme, there would be other benefits such as consistency of interface, quality and naming conventions that might develop as a result of a starter theme. From the themes I have from here, the quality of the code is all over the map from rockstar to monkey and that is something that is difficult to tell from the preview though looking at the html source helps give a hint I suppose.

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PaulWinslow says

Surely when you’ve coded all of this stuff from scratch for your first theme, you now already have your own framework to build on for your next one.

I’ve got another three themes in development and they all used my Conference theme’s files as a foundation.

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fillerspace says

Other than establishing a base theme, there would be other benefits such as consistency of interface, quality and naming conventions that might develop as a result of a starter theme. From the themes I have from here, the quality of the code is all over the map from rockstar to monkey and that is something that is difficult to tell from the preview though looking at the html source helps give a hint I suppose.

That’s a huge benefit, along with the possibility of cleanly exporting options from one theme to another, and I think the biggest benefit would be that more people could offer support since much of the code would be the same. But I think in the end, even a base theme will end up being customized beyond recognition by every author anyway, so we’d be right back where we started. I’m in the final stretch of my first Wordpress theme, and I built everything from scratch because I wanted to learn more about Wordpress. I think all authors need to make that same journey before they can call themselves Wordpress experts.

What might be more realistic would be same training on the Wordpress coding guidelines, and maybe the reviewers could take that into consideration when evaluating submissions. Even then, much of what is considered “good Wordpress code” would get me fired if I wrote it at my day job. There, every line is object-oriented PHP5 , with absolutely no mixture between business logic and presentation layer. I worked as much of those good habits into my first theme. So when you check the code on my template, you will only see 5 lines in my functions.php:

require_once(TEMPLATEPATH . "/library/theme.php");
function FS_loadTheme() {
    global $theme;
    $theme = new FS_Theme();
}
add_action( 'init', 'FS_loadTheme' );

inside that one class is some of the cleanest and most logical code to ever touch a Wordpress theme, allowing me to do things like:

$theme->admin->save->colors($colors);

And since all of my methods are inside a class:

add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', array($theme, 'scripts'));

instead of 

add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', 'fs_myEnqueueScriptsToAvoidNamespaceCollisions');
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cramdesign says

Surely when you’ve coded all of this stuff from scratch for your first theme, you now already have your own framework to build on for your next one.

No doubt. I am just saying that a base starter theme would raise up the bottom end quality-wise and provide some level of consistency… even if it was heavily modified which I am sure it would be.

TF’s appeal is the variety of design and the open market. This is very different from something like woo. However, though variety is a desirable trait for visual design, consistency tends to be more important for programming. While I don’t think that ThemeForest should get locked into some codebase, that would be disastrous on some levels, I do think that offering a base theme as an option would have many advantages for buyers and developers alike.

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