“A beautiful magazine theme” is the site description of Twenty Fourteen, the brand new default WordPress theme that is shipping with the upcoming version 3.8.
And at first sight it is beautiful indeed!
It is definitely different from the past few default themes and if Twenty Thirteen was extreme in its own kind of way, I think this is even more radical.
But what’s with the width of this theme?
I’ll admit, I have a 21″ screen and I like to have a large viewport, but it’s not even full screen and nowadays there are far bigger screens than what my iMac shipped with in 2009; you can have a look at the header image of this post to see how weird it looks for me.
The maximum width of the site is set to 1260px and as the whole lot floats left you will end up with quite a bit of white space on the right, depending of course on the width of your viewport.
To make a child theme “quick, easy and functional” however is not likely to happen any time soon.
I tried to adjust things here and there to give a child theme of Twenty Fourteen full browser width, but very quickly you start running into a whole range of other issues. Issues like image width (you can fix that with adjusting the default
post_thumbnail size), all kinds of adjustments with default content width, sidebar width, different templates, the output of the WordPress Ephemera widget (not very easy to adjust the iframes output of for example videos) and then to make it all look good for the no less than 12 breakpoints for media queries.
Are you serious??? How is this theme suitable for child theme development? That is just a ridiculous number! And why again has nothing been made suitable for mobile devices? Or is that where the 1260px maximum width comes from perhaps? With a mindset like “tablets are almost at 1260 pixels and I don’t care about smartphones“?
There is actually a lot more wrong with this theme. Try using a very long title for a blog post. You will notice that with a viewport of around 750px all of a sudden there is horizontal scrolling! Since when do long titles break the layout of a WordPress default theme? Since the Twenty Fourteen lead developer cannot be bothered and chooses to be completely ignorant about the fact that English is not the only language in the (WordPress) world.
The theme also comes with a background image uploader. The reason for that is beyond me, because with it you only emphasize the fact that the theme fills only half the viewport. Anyways, enable it and then have a look at your site from a mobile device. The background image is completely hidden behind the content, but… wait for it… it of course still loads all of its pixels on your mobile data plan.
Same goes for the optional header image with the only difference that it is actually visible with all its 1260 pixels horizontally, no matter how narrow your viewport is.
Okay, the title of this post is a bit misleading perhaps, because it will take considerable time and effort to give Twenty Fourteen full browser width and keep it functional.
My conclusion is that it will take considerable time and effort to give Twenty Fourteen full browser width and keep it functional at the same time. You can seriously ask yourself the question why you would want to spend so much time on that in the first place.
However, James Yeo of VoodooPress recently wrote a post on how to make Twenty Fourteen wider; it’s not going to be full browser width, but wider at least.
And via the comments Zulfikar Nore shows that he has gone the extra mile to make both a full browser width theme based on Twenty Fourteen (not a child theme) and a functionality plugin for Twenty Fourteen.
If this is the way default WordPress themes are going – mind you, Twenty Thirteen already has 6 breakpoints and also without any optimization for mobile – then a better way of developing child themes would in my opinion be to restrict developers to just “paint the box” as Justin Tadlock explains about his latest parent theme development.
And for those who are not interested in a magazine theme after all, there are 4 other default themes to choose from that are not only beautiful, but also functional.