it’s a wrong decision to assume that an overlay won’t interfere with any of the thousands of existing themes.
I always find it quite amazing when people receive a WordPress update and are immediately critical of certain elements of it (particularly with new/changed UI). Then I remember, I used to do exactly the same thing… before I started contributing to core.
When it comes to contributing to WordPress, I have the great pleasure of working with some of the most driven and intelligent people who I’ve ever met in my life. If you think that any decision has been made flippantly by these people after 8 months of development and 5 Release Candidates (as was the case with 3.1)… well… you’re out of your mind.
We aren’t perfect. Far from it. But if there’s something you don’t like in WordPress then the chances are that the core team have already had a lively (constructive) argument about it, and the end result is a seriously considered approach.
In WordPress 3.1 we added an administrative bar to the front-end of all sites. This admin bar has been on WordPress.com for years, where it’s worked extremely well, and we wanted to bring it across to .org to allow administrative users easy access to frequently used functions when using their own sites.
When the brief for this new feature came in, I was one of the most vocal people opposing it. I thought it sucked, was unnecessary, and would break hundreds-if-not-thousands of themes and plugins. I wasn’t the only person who fighting for its death, but equally there were plenty of people fighting for its inclusion.
For most of you, that argument took place before you even knew the admin bar existed. My disagreement with the admin bar lead to an obscene amount of testing of said admin bar. I literally wanted to prove that it sucked, and that it would break themes. I was successful in my quest, and you know what the outcome was? An updated admin bar that became more and more solid every time someone disliked it and found new ways to break it.
Working with opposing opinions makes for a stronger end result.
Is the admin bar perfect? No, cause nothing ever is. Is it a seriously solid implementation of the first version of this feature? Absolutely.
If your theme breaks then I’m personally sorry - all of us should have tried harder to break the admin bar when were testing it for months (and months) on end. But, hopefully, you’re in a very small minority. Hopefully, you’ll take a few minutes to figure out what’s making it break and let us know, so we can fix it for the next release.
Don’t forget that the admin bar is only visible for logged-in users, and not only can you can turn it off if you need to, but you can also override/modify any of its styles using your own CSS file.
It’s impossible to keep all 30million users happy, but we do our best.