The Graphene theme was initially created and developed by Syahir Hakim as a theme for his personal blog at khairul-syahir.com. After having developed another theme for the blog in July 2010, he decided to repackage it and release the theme to the public under the name Graphene.
To know more about how the theme got its name and how it was modified from the original theme, read Syahir’s post here: Into the Wild: Graphene theme for WordPress 3.0
As the title of the post above suggests, the Graphene theme was initially released with WordPress 3.0 in mind. However, the theme has been in active development ever since and as newer versions of WordPress are released, extensive improvements has been made to the theme, some of which uses features introduced in newer versions of WordPress. As of March 2012, the theme requires WordPress 3.1 and above to fully utilise all the features it offers.
In February 2011, Jeffrey Tummers approached Syahir with an interest to co-develop the theme. As a result, a Google Code repository was created for the theme, with express intent of allowing co-development of the theme.
Until this day, the Google Code project repository is used extensively by the theme’s developers to coordinate the development of the theme. This includes the implementation of new features, bug fixes, as well as general discussion on the direction the theme should take.
As the number of the theme’s beta testers and translators grow (the theme has been translated into more than 30 languages), there’s a need for a better way to communicate among the contributors. This resulted in the creation of the Graphene Theme Developers, Testers, and Translators Google Group.
Communications are facilitated by the mailing list feature available in the group, so every contributor will receive a copy of the messages sent by any other contributor. This helps bridge the disparate communication between the main developers and the contributors that has been an issue in the past.
Graphene goes mobile
With the sales of smartphone quickly surpassing the sales of PC, there was a clear need for a mobile component for the theme. The result of this is the development and subsequent release of Graphene Mobile. Released under the GPLv2 licence, the Graphene Mobile theme is intended (but not exclusively) to be used alongside the Graphene theme, where it will serve pages optimised for viewing on mobile devices.
The Graphene theme is still in active development, and will continue to be so into the foreseeable future. With an ever growing base of users and volunteers, there are always new features and innovations in the works for the theme. Users can also request new features using the Support Forum, all of which will be considered by the developers for implementation.
In fact, most of the theme’s features result from requests and recommendations from the theme’s users. After all, the theme is built for the users, so the theme’s userbase has always been a major contributing factor. It is perhaps because of this reason that the theme is so popular to begin with, consistently being one of the most popular themes in the WordPress.org Theme Repository.