The project funded a research semester for Prof. Moira Norrie during which she, together with Michael Nebeling, Linda Di Geronimo and Alfonso Murolo, started a new direction of research addressing the needs of modern web developers working with platforms such as WordPress.
The work carried out during the semester consisted of two parts. The first was to obtain a better understanding of the profiles of modern web developers and the methods that they use. To achieve this, we carried out an online survey in January 2014, using social media to reach out to developers working alone or in small agencies as well as those employed in larger organisations. Second, we developed an editor for WordPress themes that was integrated into the WordPress platform and generated themes structured in terms of reusable components based on our theme metamodel. The collection of generated themes, which we call X-Themes, are accessible during editing and theme components defining layout and/or functionality can be reused via simple drag-and-drop operations during the creation of new themes. In this way, we support a design-by-example paradigm that allows developers to mix elements of different themes unlike the existing WordPress platform which only supports all-or-nothing reuse.