I can’t wait until we have some more documentation in regards to themes because I am really having a hard time understanding the ins and outs of a magento theme. I am sure in the end it has it’s benefits, but it is really confusing and disorienting to have to keep track of so many things.
It probably isn’t as bad for users that want to keep all the functionality, and just change some css and images or move a code block from left to right column. But really designing a unique theme or trimming away all the features that are not necessary for a small shop - things start to get confusing.
The fact that everything is broken up into small chunks is good for some things, but it lends itself to lots of workflow confusion. As coders I think we used to seeing all the code for a certain page, on that page. Wordpress is a good example. Things are somewhat broken up but not to such an extreme.
You have to have lots of files open in your text editor and remember which files are referencing them. On top of that I have found that I have to have 2 installations of Magento running - one with the original default theme with template paths turned on so i can see where everything is by default, and the one I am working on.
In the end I spend a lot of time switching windows and documents trying to find out what is what which leads to a lot of friction in the development process.
Anyway, this was meant to be constructive criticism. I love magento and it is by far the best shopping cart out there.