Holiday Get Together


Good Morning San Diego


Konstant Change

When I joined Automattic almost two years ago, it was my first opportunity to work with WordPress full time. Up until I joined, WordPress was only a hobby, though I did some client projects and administered a multisite network at the company I worked for during college.

I joined as a Theme Wrangler, and managed to release only eight themes on during my stint with the Theme Team. The primary reason was probably my focus, working on Twenty Thirteen and Twenty Fourteen, and submitting and maintaining our free themes in/to the Theme Repository. The two default themes were some of my proudest work, and among the most rewarding projects that I had the chance to work on. Especially Twenty Thirteen since I got to do the majority of the development work on it, before it hit Core for breaking.

In December of 2013, after a little over a year with the Theme Team, I switched to a more development-heavy role, working on improving the user experience around finding and selecting themes on It was a great learning experience for me, predominantly working on a Backbone application, with some REST API sprinkled in between, and creating an internal Theme Utility API (around’s theme showcase) along the way.

Today, I’m changing roles again, joining a new team at Automattic. Alongside of Andrew Ozz, Gary Pendergast, and others, I will be contributing to WordPress Core full-time! I can not put into words how happy this makes me and how excited I am!


Yesterday I spoke at the Creative Corridor WordPress Meetup in Cedar Rapids, IA about Twenty Fourteen and default themes. It was the first time I did a video Q&A and I had a great time doing it!

When Michael Cain and I were joking about doing a series of WordCamp sessions in the spirit of Community’s Troy and Abed in the Morning, we had no idea it would come to this:

Yes, apparently there exist golfballs with my face on them. Thanks, Nick Hamze!

Cain & Obenland Swag


Twenty Fifteen

Over the last 18 months I worked on three default themes, Twenty Twelve, Twenty Thirteen, and Twenty Fourteen. Each project was a little different from the other, and on each project my role differed too.

Twenty Twelve was initially designed by Drew Strojny, with Lance Willett creating the templates, leading the project and herding volunteers. It wasn’t ready for WordPress 3.4, but was released with 3.5. I joined them in the 3.5 cycle I started helping out with testing and bug fixes.

For Twenty Thirteen, I was the main developer. Joen Asmussen designed the theme, and it was my job to take his mockups and make them work. Lance was again leading the project, reviewing and committing fixes after the theme was initially introduced to Core.

We took a different approach for Twenty Fourteen, where we ported over an existing theme, Further, designed and developed by Takashi Irie. Lance’s role stayed the same, while Takashi took on a more active role in bringing in fixes, and I reverted back in a more supporting role like in Twenty Twelve. Continue reading

Joen Asmussen, Konstantin Obenland, Lance Willett

Joen Asmussen, Konstantin Obenland, Lance Willett

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The Twenty Thirteen Team