I designed, coded and developed my very first WordPress theme a year ago, for use on my blog. I did consider to make it free for public use back then, but I also wanted my blog to be unique, so I held that idea back. Now that khairul-syahir.com is already in version 3, and it has got new fancy clothes to put on, there’s no more reason to not release my first theme to the public domain.

khairul-syahir.com-v2 WordPress theme repackaged as Graphene

My first theme was originally named khairul-syahir.com-v2, for lack of better name, I know. But then again I think it is customary to name the WordPress theme that you’re gonna use only for one site with the name of that site. There’s really no incentive to do otherwise, and picking a good name is no easy task as well. It takes a few days of intermittent pondering in the shower to come up with one.

I have been using khairul-syahir.com-v2 for slightly over a year, and over that time I’ve made some improvements to the original theme. But developing a theme for public release is hugely different than developing a theme for your own use. One of the biggest difference is that when you use a theme that you developed yourself, you know the theme inside out, so there’s no need for options page or lots of comments in the code to explain what they do. Whenever you feel like changing something, you just dive right into the code, make changes at all the familiar places, and get out.

When developing it for public release, most of the people who will be using the theme will not be familiar with the codes. Heck, most WordPress users probably never know any web development at all. So things like options page are crucial for wide acceptance of the theme.

Graphene 1.0 includes many new features that khairul-syahir.com-v2 didn't have, like this built-in Twitter widget

Commenting in the codes is also important, because (I should know very well that) developers and programmers hate dealing with other people’s codes, because even though we follow certain general convention in writing our codes, we all have different personal styles and preferences. Sometimes it can be very difficult to understand what a piece of code does if you’re not the one who wrote it, so comments in codes really help.

So I took apart khairul-syahir.com-v2 WordPress theme, made vast improvements to it, add new features and improve on old ones, and repackage it into a full-fledged WordPress 3.0 theme and call it Graphene.

The reason for the name is that the theme’s main colours are shades of grey with blue sprinkled here and there, so I thought this feels like carbon. I’ve considered graphite, but there’s already a WordPress theme with that name. So I chose graphene, something more cutting-edge but still retains the colour relationship.

(And no, I wasn’t kidding about the intermittent pondering in the shower).

In case you’re wondering, graphene is a sheet of carbon atoms only 1 atom thick, where the atoms are arranged in hexagonal patterns. It is touted as one of the next materials to be used to make superfast and efficient computer chips, apart from other interesting developments.

This is my first ever WordPress theme that I released into the public domain, so I’m clueless about the direction the development of this theme will take from now on. Myriads of unforeseen issues will arise when you put something into the public’s hands. It will be exciting!

Graphene 1.0 has a long list of features. If you’re interested, go take a look!