Back in 2009 I got involved in doing a website rebuild for New York Interfaith Power and Light (NYIPL). It’s a chapter of a national Interfaith Power and Light umbrella organization.

I forget what they had for a website before. Something atrocious. But they wanted to use the same WordPress theme as the national organization. That theme was Arras.

Sometime around 2012 the guy who coded that theme decided to give it up. It wasn’t long after that things started breaking. At least they were on NYIPL. So I started patching things back together bit by bit, to keep it up and running. Then in 2013, I figured if I was going to be patching it up, I may as well publish my patches so that others who’d been using the theme could keep theirs up and running, too.

So, Arras has become like my uncle’s vintage Ford Mustang that I keep out in the garage. It’s old and it’s still prone to break in new ways every time you take it out on the road. But it’s fun to tinker with on weekends. And there’s a bit of a nostalgia factor among it’s old fans who still want to use it.

Having that old theme around has given me the opportunity to explore WordPress in ways I’d never have gotten into. Kind of like learning a language by just going to a new country and immersing yourself, having an old theme to tinker with may be one of the best ways to learn your way around WordPress. I highly recommend it.

A couple weeks ago I finally got around to pushing out a major revision that made the theme mobile friendly for the first time and moved all the options (which were many) into the WordPress Customizer.

And yet, there is still more to do. Such is the nature of software. Always incrementally improving. And as I begin my WordPress Developers Apprenticeship I’ll bet I find even more areas where the old code can be refactored and otherwise improved.

The vintage Ford Mustang rides on!

Photo credit: Don O’Brien