Theme Support

@theme-developers I am starting to look at theme support on the directory, and your input would be appreciated!

  • What are some features you would like to see?

  • How would you like us to showcase your themes?

  • How do we show users when a theme requires plugins?

  • Anything else I haven’t thought of yet?

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Have you thought about theme previews/demos? Will they be required, who hosts them?

I like seeing demos before getting a theme, but the way WP handles previews for free themes isn’t the right approach.

I also think there should be an option for theme developers to provide a link and maybe even the price of the pro version. Providing tools that can help developers sell their themes can definitely attract more developers to CP (this also applies to plugins).

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Providing theme demos is essentially the same task as providing a way to quickly spin up a demo of ClassicPress itself. Would be great but not at all an easy problem to solve. Probably not something that will be included in the initial version of theme support.

Can you elaborate a bit more on this? What does WP offer (static screenshots if I remember correctly) and how could it be improved?

Offering premium themes (and plugins) is also worth considering, but for a later version of the directory when we can do this in a unified and streamlined way.

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For me is really useful, like on themeforest.net, to see which plugins are supported by a theme.

image

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The screenshot is used in the admin and in the repository single page. But they have wp-themes.com which is the preview site. It uses standard data and got a recent update so that it loads starter content if the theme defines any. A lot of people think the content is bad, but I think it’s a good way to see how limited content will look across multiple themes, as in, you are actually comparing themes, not content. We created richer content, but it never has gotten loaded. This site is shown in an iframe from the WP theme directory, so you can click from one theme to the next. Example: https://wordpress.org/themes/twentyseventeen/ and click on Preview.

I have tried for several years to get the theme readme file to be shown, but it still isn’t. The changelog part would be great to see.

The disconnect between the screenshot and the live demo causes more confusion than anything else, in my experience. I’ve been asked many times why the demo doesn’t look like the screenshot. Is the theme broken? Is it still maintained?

Live demos play a critical role not only in the pre-sale stage but also post-sale. Users “buy” the theme because they liked the demo, and that’s exactly what they want. And when they struggle to re-create the demo, be it lack of demo content import or import isn’t working, it creates a lot of frustration and sometimes ends up in refunds. I’ve dealt with these issues many, MANY, times. A lot of frustrated users.

A lot of users when working with a theme refer to demos to see how to set something up or to see what’s available for a specific use case. Premium theme demos showcase everything, all the features, page templates, shortcodes, etc. So you can see what’s available and then figure out a way to re-create it on your website using that theme.

So bare-bones demos of themes are not as helpful as fully featured demos to regular users.

I think initially, the theme directory should ask developers to enter the theme demo URL in addition to a screenshot. This way CP doesn’t have to host any demo sites, while still giving users a way to see a demo.

For example, look at the Astra theme listing. Look at the screenshot and then look at the demo. It’s night and day. https://wordpress.org/themes/astra/

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Multiple Screenshots would be good. The theme preview at .org is a colossal waste of time and was very problematic when authors jumped through hoops to make the demo look better then the default data used by .org.

It would be better to provide a standard styled demo link to an author supplied site for demo purposes.

Will there be any sort of requirements that a theme must meet before it is listed?

For example, and to your initial point at .org, themes could recommend plugins but must not require them.

Security requirements are also a big concern. Should all themes be translatable?

Should ClassicPress.net take some responsibility for the themes/plugins they host?

One important thing to note, CP won’t host any plugins/themes like WP. Directory will link to GitHub (or other Git) repositories.

I understand that, but to me it does not matter where the plugin or theme is stored. If you facilitate wide distribution of a plugin or theme I would think some level of responsibility must be taken. Though I am no lawyer :slight_smile:

Also some level of accountability/responsibility would be necessary, to protect public opinion on the integrity of the repo. So I don’t think your really going to get around it.

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That’s what the GPL license is for. Plugins and themes licensed under GPL offer no warranty of any kind. Just like WP, CP will review submissions but at no point it will offer any warranties or guarantees.

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The assumption you are making is that developers will submit GPL compatible plugins and themes.

I have seen non GPL jquery plugins included, and non GPL compatible images included in themes. Many of the developers submitting themes and plugins have no idea about these kinds of things.

Just saying something is GPL does not mean it is.

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I should also add that a GPL license says nothing about the content of the theme or plugin.

I have seen themes submitted with spam in the footer, and obfuscated code. Also images can get a bit riske (if you know what I mean). Some countries do not allow images of childrens faces to be distributed.

So some level of curation is required in my opinion.

It is tricky, offering any indication that we take responsibility may open us to more legal issues than sticking to “we can’t promise anything”.

I think this is good, though I am not 100% how we would verify domains/make sure we aren’t pointing somewhere “bad”.

I think the changelogs would be good, and that goes for plugins too.