Justin Tadlock, founder of Theme Hybrid, has released Mythic, a starter theme that provides modern tools to get theme developers started on the right foot.

Theming in 2018 is much different than theming in 2008. Without the right tools, it can be overwhelming to simply get started building even the most basic theme.

Justin Tadlock

While starter themes are nothing new in the WordPress space, Mythic and WP Rig take things to the next level and relatively share the same goal of providing a modern foundation to develop on top of.

Part of the inspiration to build Mythic began two years ago. In trying to revamp the News theme, Tadlock became frustrated with how difficult it was to use old coding methods and dropped the project.

“In a lot of ways, it was the catalyst that started me down this road toward Mythic,” Tadlock said. “I didn’t realize it at the time. But, that’s where some of my frustration began with modern theme building.”

Mythic supports PHP 5.6+ although Tadlock is strongly pushing developers towards PHP 7+. “Anything earlier than 5.6 means for clunky code that’s just a headache to maintain,” he said. “WordPress, as a community, needs to be pushing people to update.”

Support for SASS, LESS, CSS, and Stylus are built-in and developers can choose which language they prefer for builds. ES6+ was chosen for JavaScript and is commonly used for building Gutenberg blocks.

Mythic comes with BEM or Block-Element-Modifier. BEM is a methodology that enables developers to create reusable elements and sharing code in front-end environments.

“BEM is a popular solution because it goes hand-in-hand with modern CSS pre-processors,” Tadlock said. “It also allows you to keep your styles flat and not get lost in specificity hell. This means smaller, faster stylesheets that are easier to override when you, a child theme author, or user need to do something custom.” The starter theme uses Webpack in combination with Laravel Mix to manage assets and modules.

Mythic has an extended View class that allows theme authors to use their preferred folder structure. Theme authors can also add custom data to theme templates. According to Tadlock, both features are not part of WordPress’ native templating system.

In addition to Mythic, Tadlock has continued to work on the Hybrid Core framework. Hybrid Core is a required dependency that is added via Composer.

Using Mythic with Hybrid Core exposes developers to features of the framework that they otherwise may not discover. “I rewrote nearly all of HC5 from scratch,” he said. “As a result, it’s leaner, more organized, and more cohesive.” The starter theme is also Gutenberg-ready.

Tadlock Experiments with Sponsorship Pricing Model

Mythic is in open beta and available for free via GitHub. The pricing model is an honor system experiment. Tadlock is asking those who build projects for clients and generating a profit, to make a $99 sponsorship purchase. For commercially-sold themes, he is asking for $199. Both packages come with one year of support and access to the company’s Slack channel.

“I’m still taking feedback on the payment system,” Tadlock said. “It could change. There have been a few suggestions more of a lifetime/flat fee. I’d prefer to just get some generous sponsors and keep it all $free. We’ll see where that goes in this next month of the beta process.”

Mythic’s beta ends on September 3rd in which he’ll release version 1.0. Until then, he is trying to get as much feedback as possible from developers. To file issues, submit feedback, and contribute, visit the project’s GitHub page.