I’ve recently (just now in fact) been made aware of an adobe Photoshop plugin for wordpress theme creation straight from a psd design.
Looking through the Divine Project website and reading more about it seems to uncover a few pertinant points.
The site itself answers my initial question in its F.A.Q
What is Divine plug-in?
Divine is the program developed for those who know a bit about Photoshop and sites creation but donâ€™t want to waste their time making up a valid website on basis of popular CMS manually. Using this program you are able to easily make up a professional website and upload it promptly to the server through the embedded FTP-client.
Waste time making a valid website? Are they insinuating that valid code is unimportant? Can’t say I agree with that if that is what they mean. The plugin goes so far as to manage the entire themes’ upload and management as well.
I can see this being a very tempting short-cut for a lot of wordpress users.. but not the die-hards. Although in essence the first release of it is beta I still see its shortcomings as pretty important. A full list of the current limitations of the plugin are listed here so I’ll just talk about a few of the most important ones to me.
1. Firstly there is a default layout which currently (they do plan to expand from it) you have to adhere to. Not a huge problem, most WordPress websites are arranged in a similar way. Header, content, sidebar and footer; but not all and I still believe this would curtail creativity.
2. Custom CSS (in the documentation they refer to these as useritems) is limited to a total of 5 entries. Everything else must be accomplished using only existing wordpress generated css. I think of this as being quite similar to the idea behind csszengarden.com. While that works for zengarden I don’t believe it could work for wordpress themes where more often than not a truly stand out theme will feature some clever creations of the developer.
3. This I think is huge. All images created by the plugin are gif format. That to me strikes out any hope of gaining my custom even if I had a copy of Photoshop. Are they mad? Jpg and (for me preferably) png images are where internet design can only be taken with SVG poking it’sÂ resizeable head around the corner. Gif is a format which, for me, is defunct for all but the simplest of web designs. The formats’ only bonus is the fact you can create animations; as brilliantly used in theÂ Retro Theatre designÂ byÂ Eric RogÃ©.
All in all I like the fact that this plugin has been made, despite my criticisms of it. Not everyone is confident with code and not everyone wants to be. This plugin gives people like that a chance to indulge their creativity and get it online. My worry is that it will be responsible for a deluge of new themes, none of which use valid code. In addition to which the creator would not necessarily have a clue how to deal with problems which might arise. How for example would designs created by this plugin deal with different browsers? The rendering properties of IE, firefox, opera, konqueror etc are problems which still plague developers to this day – has this plugin solved them all? I somehow think not.
Never-the-less I will follow this plugins progress and see what users of it have to say – one of whom is my brother so I shall be getting his feedback too – it may even appear on his site!
But this is all just one man’s opinion – I’d love to know what my other fellow wordpress users think about it?