Baseline by the numbers

Last year I added Wakatime to my workflow to start tracking the time I spent in my code editor, Sublime Text. If you haven’t heard of Wakatime, which you likely haven’t because you probably aren’t a huge data nerd like myself, basically it tracks what you’re doing in your code editor. It tracks the amount of time spend in each file, the amount of time you spend on each project, when you’re working, when you aren’t, etc. This can be helpful for a lot of different reasons.

I thought it might be interesting to share the info Wakatime collected for our latest theme, Baseline.


The first thing you’ll notice is that the biggest slice of time was spent on styling in the style.scss file. This makes sense, considering Baseline was built on top of the bones of a previous theme. The standard template files like single.php, 404.php, search.php, and various template parts for displaying content don’t need much work since the architecture of those templates is already written.

I’m also guilty of doing more designing in the browser than I should. I used to design the homepage and a few inside pages in Photoshop before moving to code, but somewhere along the way I just started jumping right into the stylesheet, probably to save time. Ultimately, I probably spend more time pushing around pixels and fine-tuning elements by designing live. I’ve recently made a conscious effort to go back to having a solid design down before moving to code. I did this when redesigning the Array site and it had a noticeable improvement on productivity.

Although Wakatime gives you a good idea of the actual development time, it does not include the time it takes to test a theme, create the help docs, create the theme demo, or create the marketing page and artwork for Array and marketplaces where Baseline goes up for sale.

If you’re curious about how your projects are shaking out, you might give Wakatime a try. I hope this provides some interesting insights into an average theme build here at Array!

Published by Mike McAlister

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die. I design all the things.


  1. Hi Mike,

    As a theme developer myself I appreciate the insights. Also thanks for the tip about Wakatime – will have to give it a try. I’m in the process of adjusting my workflow and knowing exactly what things eat up my time should help me make more informed decisions.

    You mentioned that you didn’t talk about how long setting up the theme demo takes, but I’m curious. Your theme demos are full of content that actually makes sense and I love that. Do you write it all yourself, or do you use publicly available texts? Can you give a few pointers on how to generate such good demo content for your theme?


    • Hey Alexis,

      Thanks for stopping by and checking out the post! The demos can take a good bit of time, but the end result is worth it. Not to sound too cliche, but I try to think about the demos like Apple would. They wouldn’t be caught dead putting lorem ipsum text or irrelevant content into their demos or screenshots. It’s all about presentation.

      Generally, what I do for demo content is grab content from Wikipedia based on the style of theme we’re launching. I’ll grab the first couple paragraphs and a few random lines for blockquotes or pull quotes. Then, I head into the archive of stock photos or personal I’ve saved over the years for featured images and images to use in galleries, etc. This is a good resource for finding really nice stock photos, videos, etc. Unsplash and Boss Fight have some really nice photos.

      It’s not a particularly difficult process, just time consuming. But again, back to the Apple thing, they aren’t whipping those product images together in a few minutes. 😉

      Hope that helps! Thanks again for your comment!

  2. Great insight once again Mike. I really appreciate all the tips and completely agree with how you approach demos.


  3. Where are you guys?! Dying for a new theme! Any updates?

    • Hey Mathew,

      We’re still kicking! Sorry to keep everyone waiting! I’ve been so consumed this summer with buying a house that we focused more on internal fixes than themes. Our next theme will be out within a week!

  4. Just popping to share my alternative to wakatime – manictime. It tracks everything. Not affiliated etc. etc.


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