PressWork is a new startup founded by Brendan Sera-Shriar and Chris Bavota. It’s also the name of their main product, which is an HTML5 & CSS3 theme framework for WordPress. The genesis of PressWork came from conversations between Brendan and Chris around what they’d like to see in a WordPress theme; something that would make it easier for them to develop websites quickly and painlessly using WordPress.
Chris runs http://bavotasan.com, which is a community blog for beginner and advanced web developers. He’s been working with WordPress for almost five years and has been a premium theme developer for about two.
Brendan has been an interactive designer, developer, author and teacher for over 10 years. We profiled him back in April. Brendan has taught web design at Long Island University Brooklyn campus, and has been a professor at Seneca College in the School of Communication Arts for over 7 years. Brendan has contributed to many open source projects including papervision3D, red5, Firefox, WordPress, and Drupal, just to name a few.
NextMontreal: Why did you start PressWork? Seems like there’s a lot of competition in the WordPress framework and theme market.
Brendan: True, but we felt that there were no frameworks out there that we would actually use on a project. We sat down and discussed why we didn’t use those frameworks and what type of framework we would use. That got us really excited about creating our own framework. We also wanted to push the limits of HTML5 and CSS3 to hopefully steer new web developers toward the future.
NextMontreal: What differentiates PressWork from everything else out there?
Brendan: The initial idea for PressWork was to give developers a tool for WordPress that would allow them to easily create a website without any need for coding. We broke it down to what we thought would be the essential theme options and then we created a front end editor so that everything could be customized in a live preview environment. No need for settings options in the admin and then going back to the front to see if it worked the way you want. With PressWork, what you see is what you get. Add a sidebar, change some colors. The live preview will become your live site as soon as your save your changes.
NextMontreal: Don’t most frameworks like this have some limitations (vs.
WordPress itself) that ultimately lead more advanced developers to just go right into WordPress code and hack around to get exactly what they want?
Brendan: All software has limitations, that’s why frameworks exist. The core team of developers behind WordPress propagate the use of frameworks over hacking the WordPress code itself. In fact the last 2 default themes shipped with WordPress, TwentyTen and TwentyEleven, are frameworks. This has been a trend for a while now inspired by the development community to further advance the technology as well as make it easier for both developer and end-user when it comes to working with, designing, or developing themes.
NextMontreal: Who is the ideal / target customer?
Brendan: Anybody who uses WordPress will benefit from checking out PressWork. It is a great tool for beginners and advanced users will love the fact that every element on a page now has an action hook so they can manipulate anything by creating a custom actions file.
NextMontreal: How have things been going so far?
Brendan: The response has been great. We have had almost 30,000 downloads since we launched and the community has been great in regards to helping us improve PressWork. We are really looking toward building a community around PressWork that self-perpetuates itself. We want PressWork users to become PressWork developers, just like in the WordPress community.
NextMontreal: What are some of the sites that are using PressWork now?
Brendan: We are currently working on a community showcase page. That being said, we are very excited about a recent partnership with Empire Avenue and there are few more well known startups switching to PressWork as well.
NextMontreal: What do you have in the works for the next 6 months or so?
Brendan: We are currently putting together some specs for PressWork Pro. There has been so much demand for more features that we felt the need to step it up and release a beefed up version. We are also developing the PressWork Marketplace, where we will be selling user-submitted child themes. I think that will really start to build on our idea of creating a PressWork community that will grow exponentially.