In May we decided to switch over our WordPress theme to the GPLv2 “DW Focus” by DesignWall, and we’ve been very happy with the results so far. Our fork of DW Focus on GitHub has attracted some attention, and there are already a few additional forks that have been made.
As of today we’ve just completed merging in the upstream changes from the latest version of DW Focus, combining the feature enhancements and improvements from the main theme with our own custom modifications and tweaks.
The big addition in this latest version is that the social counters for individual posts are actually working now; with the exception of Google+, since the Google+ API, for some incomprehensible reason, does not allow returning the number of +1′s a given URL has received. We are investigating possible hacks to get around this, though it doesn’t look like there is really an ideal solution.
We’ve also finally nailed down the issue that was causing incorrect syntax in our RSS feed, which was stopping some readers from properly processing it (though some seemed to be able to adapt). We had a few readers contact us specifically about this, so we’re happy to get it resolved. If anyone removed our feed because they had issues before, please give it another shot.
In the original post about our new theme, I expressed some dissatisfaction about certain elements of DW Focus not living up to expectations. Indeed, the problems and missing features are what drove us to create the fork in the first place, and put it out there for others who might be going through the same frustrations (and there were certainly some people in that very situation who contacted me).
But I am happy to report that, as of the newest version, DW Focus has markedly improved. In fact, many of the changes that we made in our initial fork have since become unnecessary, since fixes have now been committed upstream. There are still plenty of things we still adjusted and modified (layout width, author info in posts, etc, etc), but the annoying little backend things such as settings in the configuration dialog not actually doing anything, have been addressed across the board.
Developing our fork of DW Focus in the open is something of an experiment, and we hope that by providing transparency and putting the source in a revision control system like GitHub, we can make it easier to track down potential problems and get them sorted out.
To make this possible, feedback from our readers is absolutely critical. If you experience any problems on the site, please get in contact with us either by leaving a comment on a post (this one seems like a good enough place), or by logging in Issue within GitHub. Naturally, if you have a fix or an improvement you’d like to send along, please feel free to make a pull request and we’ll take a look.