It seemed like less than a few days ago that the PressWork Theme Framework was unleashed at WordCamp Montreal… Actually, I think it was only a few days ago… I quickly took to Twitter to track down the dev team behind this project. After begging and pleading they were more than willing to lend me their choice words regarding their project.
Behind the Curtains at PressWork
Alex: Tell me a little about yourself and your WordPress background.
Brendan Sera-Shriar: As mentioned above you can take what you need from the about page. But, just add a bit about my WP background: I’ve been using WordPress since version 1.3. I found it by pure accident when I was teaching a web design course at Seneca College many years ago. I was looking for a way to make it easy for designers to learn code and WordPress was the answer. From that point on I never looked back! WordPress has been my bread and butter for many years, it’s paid my rent, put food on my table, and helped support my family.
Chris Bavota: I was hired to work on a university website about four years ago and they were using WordPress. That was my first involvement with developing something for a WordPress site. I found it so easy to work with that I adopted it for every site I have built ever since. I wanted to contribute back to the community so I released my first theme on WordPress.org and it became pretty popular. It’s called Magazine Basic and to date it’s been downloaded over 250,000 times. I started selling premium themes after that and when Brendan and I met, we discussed trying to create a framework that would offer everything we could ever want… and that idea turned into PressWork.
Alex: What has the response been to PressWork since you announced it at WordCamp Montreal?
Brendan: We couldn’t be more excited about all the great feedback we have been receiving on twitter, facebook, and in person from our demos. So far the overall re-action has been “Why has nobody done this before!” and “I can’t wait to see what else PressWork has coming!”. Since both Chris and I are dedicated and passionate WordPress users we spent a lot of time thinking about what people need/want and how we can make WordPress bette for all types of users.
Chris: We plan on using the feedback as a way to gauge what our users want. That’s why we put out a beta version before we had an official release so that we could figure out what we might be doing wrong, and hopefully, all the things we were doing right.
Alex: What is your vision for PressWork? How did this project come about?
Brendan: That’s a BIG question :) Well, the vision was to develop a framework for WordPress that first and foremost give users of all types, from veterans to beginners, the ability to easily modify their site or blog in a live preview environment. We also want to provide a framework that takes full advantage of modern web standards, hence HTML5 semantics (which we are further developing and implementing for 1.0), CSS3, and web fonts, currently we are using google but have plans to implement other type libraries.
However, one of the most important things for us is community. What makes WordPress such an amazing platform is it’s massive global community of devoted, passionate, and like minded users who all take part in some way to make WordPress the best it can be. We want PressWork to be a part of this which is why it is open source and available on GitHub and WordPress.org. We believe framework should be free and we want the community to help us make PressWork the best framework for all of us!
Alex: You’re currently working on Premium Child Themes for PressWork. Can PressWork currently be used as a parent theme for child theme development?
Brendan: We believe in building a better web, and with that comes the responsibility to build better themes and set new standards. We also want to design themes that are unique and different like our “InstaPress” theme which hooks into the Instagram API and pulls data from your Instagram feed to populate your blog, giving your followers a way to interact with you photos at a whole new level.
Plus, all our themes are built on the PressWork framework, which means they will naturally inherit everything PressWork can do and has to offer.
Chris: Once we get our first premium child themes out, we will release some tutorials to show how anyone can easily create a child theme using PressWork. In terms of using PressWork as a parent theme for child theme development, why not! It’s up to the community.
Alex: How do you feel your project differs from other popular drag and drop frameworks like PageLines or Headway?
Brendan: Simple! We are the only framework that allos you to perform these function in a live preview environment, it’s all done in the front-end so you don’t have to dig your way through a bulky dashboard panel.
Alex: What are some other things we can expect to see from PressWork in the near future?
Brendan: As you have already mentioned we will be releasing premium themes built on on PressWork. We are also working on “BriefCase” a suite of plugins to add more advance features to PressWork and a ton of other goodies. You will just have to wait and see :)
Having played with the framework, I can tell you that what’s there is solid and polished. There’s a lot more that needs to be done to get the framework to a level comparative to, say, the Headway framework, but I see that happening in a short amount of time. Check out their project over at http://presswork.me