Every year, WordPress releases a new default theme, and every year, I think the new theme is pretty good, but every goddamn year, it lacks some critical functionality that I find myself hacking in while reveling over how this wasn’t included in the first place.
I recently switched the blog over to Twenty Seventeen. I was a pretty early adopter of Twenty Sixteen after having used Twenty Fourteen for the first several months and then Twenty Fifteen for a couple more. What’s always the same though is the insane amount of hacking I have to do to get these themes to be just the way I want them. I have added a number of functions and tweaked some other ones of all of these themes, and my WordPress directory is full of child themes. Every WordPress default theme has a child “ColtonDRG.com Edition” theme. What sorts of things are added?
One critical thing is the logo. I don’t understand why it’s never an option to replace the blog name with a logo. This time around, an option to add a logo was added, but the logo appears next to the blog name and it looks a bit awkward if you ask me. It also has no svg support whatsoever, but that is technically for security reasons, so I’ll let it slide this time. I really wish they would just add a simple option to either display the blog name, a custom logo image, or both.
Another thing is the 404 page. I have always used a custom 404 page featuring a certain sad little pony and every time I have had to hack away for several minutes to build the thing. This is really more of a flaw in the way WordPress itself is designed, but it’s certainly annoying and it would be nice if there was a builder for the 404 page like there is for other regular pages. I guess this is a nitpick, but it still annoys me.
The footer. Oh the footer. This is really a problem with all themes, but the classic “Proudly powered by WordPress” text should be customizable. I get it. Theme authors want to make sure their work is credited, and that’s fine, but at the very least let me append text to it. For example, the ability to add a simple copyright notice and some other stuff without hacking away at the theme files would be greatly appreciated.
Shortlinks. Permalinks were a staple of blogs for a long time. Most blogs would give you a special permalink you could use to get back to a post at any time. Of course, in recent years the systems behind things have gotten more refined and the concept of a permalink isn’t really required. In other words, the regular link is the permalink, but that doesn’t mean that the old slots where permalinks were placed should be eliminated. Shortlinks are a really great way to share content using a nice short link and it has always made sense to me to have a shortlink to any given post displayed along with the rest of the metadata. It is a nice replacement to the old permalink slot and I don’t understand why I find myself hacking support for it into the default themes.
That’s all I can think of for now. Of course, each individual theme has it’s own handful of tweaks I make to it (Twenty Seventeen is by far the least I’ve made so far) but these are the big things that ALWAYS need to be hacked in and really should be included. This was a bit of a ranty little post, but hey, maybe someone at WordPress will catch wind of it and fix these issues. Probably not. Too bad.