<![CDATA[For those of you who don't know, WordPress.com is a Blogger type service run by the creators of WordPress based on WordPress.
I have to warn you I have no experience using WordPress.com, and these comments are based on what I’ve heard.
There have a been comments about how theme support in WordPress.com is very limited since they obviously can’t let people run arbitrary PHP code. I’m not sure what they do let you do but there is a way that will give almost the power of normal WordPress templates.
I got the idea from WordPress referring to it’s template markup as tags (since they’re enclosed in
<?php ... ?>). Why not actually use XML tags that correspond to the WordPress functions? These simpler themes could be transformed into real themes for WordPress that the user never sees. If they were parsed with regular expressions and went through a callback they could be vetted so only real WordPress functions are let through. Although it would have to be done carefully for security, it should be fairly straightforward.
So for instance, instead of
<?php the_author() ?> you’d have
blogs, blogging, WordPress, WordPress.com, Blogger, themes, WordPress themes]]>