Meet Konstantin Obenland, WordPress Core Contributor

konstantinKonstantin will be presenting Creating Themes with Underscores. You can join us for free for the live broadcast on Thursday, May 14 at 8pm EST (UTC-4). You can also pick up the recording to watch at any time for just $9.

During this session Konstantin is going to talk about the 1,000 hour head-start that you can get from utilizing the _s starter theme. And, even if you’re not interested in working with that theme specifically, you’re going to learn a lot of best practices and considerations you should utilize when building/editing a theme for any project.

Konstantin was kind enough to answer our interview questions so that you can learn more about what makes this WordPress core contributor (and project lead for the 4.3 release) tick. Enjoy!

Where can we find you on the internet?

I mostly blog at and you can find me on most services by my last name, obenland, like Twitter, GitHub, etc. I prefer to limit my Facebook to actual friends, and try not to treat it like another LinkedIn.

When and how did you get started with WordPress?

I got started in 2009 when I was working on a friend’s website. My brother and I wanted to build it with our custom PHP framework and were looking for a nice-looking backend. WordPress had that in version 2.7 and so I copied its HTML and CSS to work on top of our framework. After two days of doing that I was fed up and just used WordPress itself to build the site.

It’s still live by the way:

What resources do you turn to when you want to learn something new?

Mostly online tutorials and manuals. A lot of times I also buy books to get a more in-depth understanding of a topic.

What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?

Definitely its plugins and themes system. It makes it so easy to extend WordPress – one of the major contributors to its success over the years. I’m sure the majority of WordPress dev, including me, started by either fiddling with theme code or writing a small plugin to scratch an itch.

What first attracted you to WordPress themes?

Nothing really. To this day I consider myself much more a plugin developer than a theme author. What got me started with themes was that I was looking for a good way to give back to the community and at the time felt like reviewing themes for the WordPress Theme Directory would be the most impactful way to contribute.

Reviewing themes taught me what a good theme should look like, which let me contribute to Twenty Twelve in a meaningful way. So the answer to your question would probably be that it was attractive because it was easy to understand.

What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?

Find a way to contribute!

Never in my life did I learn as much as in the five years since I joined the WordPress community and started contributing to core.

What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?

Not sure how interesting it is, but part of how I learned English was by memorizing and translating Eminem lyrics.

wpsession18_thumbThanks Konstantin!

If you’d like to hear Konstantin’s insight on creating excellent WordPress themes make sure you watch Building Themes with Underscores.

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