This year, the Neato theme for Drupal 7 and 8 passed 700 installations.
It has mostly remained in the 650-750 range for a majority of the year. I had not said much to this point because install counts tend to fluctuate per commit or release (people checking it out, or test builds, etc) - but the number has not dropped.
This means that the theme is in production use for a large percentage of that number.
Neato was one of my very first projects at Velir. It began as a way to provide the same tools the front end team was using to prototype with:
The idea being, when a Drupal project needed theme implementation, the tools were available within Drupal, and transitioning static HTML templates to tpl files would be minimal effort. Neat provided the grid, Bourbon provided mixins, and I created a Gulp blueprint that could be used as is or extended on.
The first project it was used on was the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative site. Taking the prototypes and transitioning it to Drupal 7 was painless. By the second phase of the project, I had ramped up 2 front end devs running DrupalVM and changed their workspace from just Pattern Lab to straight-to-Drupal workflow so they were more engaged in the daily work, and could see their work appear in the system.
By that point my theming responsibilities decreased, as I was empowering non-Drupal folks a way to integrate their work.
The site launched and was a success, so we continued. Velir was then built with the Neato theme, again, a success. At that point, other projects were starting with it, and I worked on porting it to Drupal 8.
I have received a lot of good feedback from people who were looking for a theme starter, we have a few committers here and abroad. It’s one of the most installed Drupal 8 themes, its lean, modest and makes no assumptions and tries to work with you instead of against you.
I didn’t really know it would be as popular as it is, it began as a small kit to make our front end people feel more at home and integrated instead of be kept on the outside of the system. I’m quite proud of what is has achieved and how its helping people get things done.