Five Years

Holy mac­a­roni it’s the year twenty-ten already. Where’s my orbital-space-whatever-flying car — I’m gonna need it to beam myself up to my space villa on Mars. Or not. It still doesn’t feel we’re here already. I know 2010 is just a year after 2009 but, still..

Danbo welcomes 2010

2010 — Even Danbo couldn’t believe it.

Any­way, first post of 2010!

Five years and five days ago, like a boy who had dis­cov­ered how awe­some cot­ton candy can be (for the record though, cot­ton candy was never my thing), I stum­bled upon Word­Press —  which was, at the time, a shiny new blog­ging engine still in its infancy. But that didn’t mat­ter, for I deleted my HTML-hardcoded blog whose code I shame­lessly copied and mod­i­fied from some ran­dom blog — and never looked back.

My host then, Stafa, gra­ciously installed my first copy of Word­Press (ver­sion 1.2.1) via Fan­tas­tico — mag­i­cally sprout­ing a Hello World entry telling me it’s my first post and that I could edit it and start blog­ging. My web­site just talked to me, I marveled.

Back then, WordPress’s default theme was bland, full-width’ed and a dull-green that shouted for a change. Then I found Kubrick. Yes — if Kubrick looks famil­iar to you, that’s because it is the very look you see every time you install a fresh copy of Word­Press. From ver­sion 1.5 on, Kubrick became bun­dled along with Word­Press as the default theme we all know now — in 2010, that might also shout at you - change me!

But five years ago, Kubrick was a game-changer.

Early mod of the Kubrick theme

One of my first mods of the Kubrick theme circa 2005

Rounded cor­ners, appeal­ing min­i­mal­ism, sub­tle footer gra­di­ents, and with an eas­ily cus­tomis­able header image to boot, it wasn’t hard to see why Kubrick took the blog­ging world by storm then. Once I got Kubrick run­ning on my shiny new Word­Press instal­la­tion, I started, with how­ever lim­ited knowl­edge I had of CSS, mod­i­fy­ing it so that I had the most unique Kubrick theme on the net.

Fast-forward five years later, I’m on my own domain sport­ing a self-made theme I designed and coded from scratch — what you’re look­ing at right now. Thus it goes with­out say­ing that Kubrick was largely instru­men­tal in spark­ing my per­sonal endeavor in web-design. Even the tehCpeng.net ver­sion two theme I’m run­ning now is based on the Kubrick frame­work — a last-minute design deci­sion as I wanted the new theme to dif­fer as much as pos­si­ble from my pre­vi­ous works off the Hem­ing­way framework.

Later on this year, Word­Press will be retir­ing Kubrick as its default theme — the first time in five years. Need­less to say, Kubrick is now rel­a­tively dated among a largely design-centric blo­gos­phere it helped stir about in the first place.  Tina Daunt of The Huff­in­g­ton Post has a great piece on how Kubrick, a sin­gle blog theme rev­o­lu­tionised the blog design arena. I couldn’t agree more on Kubrick’s con­tri­bu­tion on chang­ing the face of the blo­gos­phere into one that not only focuses on con­tent, but also on design and aesthetics.

Reach­ing my fifth year in blog­ging on Word­Press, I can’t help but to look back on the hum­ble begin­nings. As Kubrick retires as the default theme for Word­Press, it will most likely be for­got­ten among the new gen­er­a­tion of Word­Press users with access to sleek and shiny mod­ern themes widely avail­able today. But blog design­ers around the world would never for­get Kubrick’s for­mer glory and how we were once inspired by this hum­ble theme to make the web a much more beau­ti­ful place as it is today.


by shenghan in Internet, Site on 10th January, 2010 at 11pm, Sunday, January 10th, 2010 11:47 pm GMT +8

7 Comments

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  1. jon said

    Inter­est­ing post Ember, it can be amaz­ing how much a sim­ple inno­va­tion can change how every­one does their stuff; and con­tinue to be the leader of the pack in its field for such a long time.

    • ember said

      Thank you, Jon.

      It is indeed amaz­ing. =) I hadn’t thought much about Kubrick being such a game-changer for the web. I mean, it was for me per­son­ally, but I wasn’t aware of its impact on the whole blo­gos­phere in gen­eral back in 2005. Until I read Tina Daunt’s arti­cle. Interesting.

  2. Max said

    Time flies isn’t it? =P Did you read back the posts you wrote five years ago? What do you think?

    • ember said

      Haha. I do, some­times. And.. some are quite.. imma­ture, heh. It’s amaz­ing how dif­fer­ent I was look­ing at things only 4–5 years ago hehe.

  3. Teddy said

    Happy fifth year in the world of Word­Press­ing! To think of it, you’ve been in the busi­ness for half a decade — now that makes it sound like a really huge, flat­ter­ing accom­plish­ment (it’s like say­ing “five years in blog­ging” but dec­o­rated with more con­fetti). Con­grat­u­la­tions anyway!

    It’s indeed big news that WP is retir­ing the Kubrick theme. It was one of the first theme who I spent count­less hours prowl­ing through the code (like how we can mag­i­cally adjust hues and colours of the header image).

    Any­way, happy 2010 to you (and to Danbo).

    p/s: And you’re one of the few blog­gers out there whom I know spells WP as “WordPress” and not “Wordpress”.

    • ember said

      Thank you, Teddy! Haha, well five years is noth­ing com­pared to how long you’ve been blog­ging! =D

      Ah, so even you used Kubrick back then! Well Kubrick cer­tainly drew a lot of us into ‘prowl­ing through its code’ try­ing to cus­tomise it no doubt — giv­ing birth to a lot of self-taught design­ers out there (me included!) =D You’ve come a long way too, Teddy!

      As for spelling WP, I realised how peo­ple spell them both ways too! I know ‘Word­Press’ is the cor­rect spelling but more often than not I just get too lazy to cap­i­talise the ‘P’, haha. But then if it’s an entry mostly on Word­Press then I’d be a lit­tle more seri­ous with the ‘P’, heh. =P

      • Teddy said

        Naw! Don’t say that *smacks you in the head* my blog was five a few months ago too! We’re not too far from each other!

        Yea, the first theme was a shoddy mod­i­fi­ca­tion work based on the Kubrick theme. I didn’t know colours and typog­ra­phy very well back then, so do for­give me for using Kris­ten ITC and a shade of sick­en­ing lime green in the older themes (they were so hideous that I didn’t even bother count­ing them as one of the WP themes I’ve crafted thus far).

        We’ve both come a long way, Ember! So many years tum­bling in the blo­gos­phere and I’m sur­prised that both of us are still hold­ing up well. Your designs have got expo­nen­tially bet­ter over the past five years — here’s a big pat for you in the back. Really love your work, so keep it up!

        But that doesn’t mean I want you to retire this theme and cre­ate a new one. This one is too lovely for me to let go!

        Have a great week!