The _s Platform is a Starter Theme that is Great for Web Design
Since its announcement in 2012, _s (underscores) has quietly become the go-to platform for WordPress Web Designers.
_s is a framework that web developers use to make a start on theme development. It is supported and endorsed by Automattic, the people who are behind WordPress and numerous other high profile open source software projects.
Little wonder, then, that it is such a popular choice among WordPress SEO consultants, who use it to make sure you get both the design and SEO aspects of your website right from the outset.
What is _s?
_s is described by its creators as a starter theme. It is designed to form a basis, with which developers can then work to create a unique theme in its own right. It comes equipped with a whole host of templates and functionality. The platform underscores every new theme that it builds, which is how it came by its name.
What really attracts designers to _s is the fact that it was built by developers from Automattic. These are the people behind WordPress, so designers have confidence that the frameworks have been built in close compliance with WordPress standards.
Who are Automattic?
Automattic is one of the most influential voices when it comes to web development, blogging and open source software. Founded by WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg, the company’s ethos, culture and business model have been the subject of significant media attention and even a top-selling book, Scott Berkun’s The Year Without Pants.
The company has a stated aim of making the web a better place and to “democratize” publishing, empowering anyone with a story to tell to be able to tell it, regardless of their circumstances.
The model certainly appears to work, and in 2014 the company was valued at $1.16 billion.
The 1,000 hour head start
When the _s platform was announced, much was made of the “1,000 hour head start” that it provided to developers. This is their approximation of the number of design and development hours that are provided for free, just by using _s in a project. Quite simply, they argue that every project will contain several weeks of refinement that have been completed by some of the top WordPress theme experts over several years.
And every time an update or refinement is added to _s, this gets pushed out to a hub, where users can quickly take advantage of it. This gives greater assurance that the frameworks and coding used are fresh and have been built in the context of a great support network.
There is no shortage of WordPress frameworks available on the web, and for some it can be a daunting task deciding which one to choose. Many have been designed by individual developers, and while they might be of high quality, there is never a guarantee that they will continue to be supported and maintained.
For a growing number of top designers, the fact that _s comes “straight from the horse’s mouth” and is supported by a trusted network of experts and contributors make it a no-brainer when it comes to creating and developing new WordPress themes. This is why we have made it our platform of choice.