Current/Best WPMU-compliant EduBlog-like theme for this site?

I just started with WPMU and am aggressively moving to create a multi-site network with a look and feel similar to EduBlog and CampusPress - but of course with a completely different business model. Each user site will have a blog, forum, chat, and upsell options for other features like fundraising, events, classifieds, and ad sharing.

Having been through the process of mashing up sites with an assortment of addons from multiple sources, I want to start here by using as many WPMU-provided and supported tools as possible. I want to be able to ask WPMU and you folks here about anything in this environment and have a reasonable expectation that we'll find solutions with as little time as possible wasted for all of us. This minimizes finger pointing and head scratching with no one quite knows what I have installed or how it might interact with something else.

With that, of the few current themes that are offered by WPMU, I'm wondering which might be "the best" to start with a site that could end up using a large number of WPMU plugins. I'd like to avoid "this plugin doesn't work well with that theme", etc, especially when I do load the occasional plugin for critical functionality not supplied by WPMU.

Having looked through Scribe, Panino, etc, this is more bent toward the Parrot L&F and samples. Each site in the network will have some latitude for modifying CSS for colors, fonts, images, etc, but as long as they don't all start to look alike I'm OK with having a single theme/framework network-wide.

If there were still an Edublog theme offered, I'd probably go for that, but that and many others are now "legacy". I'm concerned about how often that happens and how painful the transition might be to each new theme. I'm not sure if the current mantra is that any Upfront theme is expected to be highly forward-mobile or if they are all mostly interchangeable.

Sincere thanks for your time and feedback on this very important factor of this new venture.

  • Milan

    Hello @Tony,

    Welcome to WPMU DEV. :slight_smile:

    I hope you are having a good day and thanks for the asking. :slight_smile:

    Our latest upfront powered themes are mobile friendly and evolving as best themes day by day. If you want to have great flexibility and customization on your hand anytime, upfront themes may be your best friends :slight_smile: Our Upfront framework works as backbone for our every upfront child theme. Upfront is also updating its core functionality, many other new features are there to be launched soon which will give new performance power and customization flexibility. I suggest you go with upfront powered themes as you want great customization flexibility.

    You can know more about our upfront framework and its powered theme here,
    Into of Upfront

    Cheers,
    Milan.

  • Tony G

    Thanks for the response, Milan. My experience so far is that the Parrot child theme does serve as a good base for my purposes. I'm finding a lot of it is page-specific where common segments could be replaced with global regions. In other words there's a lot of repitition on individual pages which is very non-CMS and non-DRY. I'm taking steps to try to reduce the redundancies but I'm still a novice in this area.

    I'm finding a lot of issues with Upfront itself. I'm spending more time documenting the issues as I go than I'm spending in actual site development. At some point I'll provide notes to Support. I can't post every note to a forum or turn every item into a separate support request. I need to keep moving. In short, it's non-intuitive at times, doesn't react well to CSS changes, doesn't give us enough information about what CSS is actually being applied to elements, has minor bugs, and the performance is pretty bad especially on load and save. But since this is a still a v0.4.1.3 (beta?) I'm OK with watching it grow, and helping with the process as I can.

    The WordPress Codex says we should never upgrade a child theme once it's established. I didn't "get" that concept but I do now. So it doesn't matter what's done with Parrot beyond it's v0.2 (beta?) release, once my site is built around that base, then Parrot is irrelevant, only the Upfront parent theme is important.

    I guess I can summarize that I'm pleased with the Upfront/Parrot theme and looking forward to improvements.

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