25 Responses

  1. Peter
    Peter Published |

    I’ve never used the new theme directory, so I’m really just going on what you’re saying here – it all makes sense, except for one piece:

    Theme developers are not always the same people as plugin developers. The amount of technical knowledge required to put a theme together is relatively low – with the amount of free information out there on the topic, you can copy-paste yourself together a pretty respectable theme. Many theme designers are just that – designers. The value of a designer learning to use subversion is far lower than a coder learning to use subversion.

    It sounds to me like subversion access is definitely necessary – if it works for the plugin directory, it should work for the theme directory – but I’m not sure requiring it is the right choice.

    As for the community policing themes – that is right on. What good is open source software if they don’t grab every opportunity to use the community every way they can?

  2. Nathan Rice
    Nathan Rice Published |

    Control — those who have it, rarely want to give it up … especially to people they do not respect. And, like it or not, theme designers are on the low end of respect among the higher-ups of the WordPress Community.

    Though, like you mentioned, theme designers have done enough in the past to earn a little of that distrust. I can’t say I blame anyone for putting us on a shorter leash.

  3. Robert
    Robert Published |

    I’m sure that many users would be happy if they just brought back browsing themes by tags/categories.

  4. Joseph Scott
    Joseph Scott Published |

    You’ve made some great points and I wanted to address some of them:

    I think we clearly needed to come up with a different submission process for themes than for plugins. Requiring theme authors to use subversion would have made for a lot of unhappy theme developers.

    Expanded sections for theme info is a good idea, likely using the same readme format that the plugin directory uses.

    Requiring themes to have some level of review before being added to the directory is a fact of life at this point. Even with this process in place the number of themes submitted with spam links or with non-GPL compatible licenses is disappointingly high.

    Child themes pose an interesting challenge. In part because they can, at their own option, replace portions of the parent theme which makes automated testing harder. But perhaps the most difficult part to that puzzle is providing an easy experience for end users when they want to use a child theme. A number of people find it challenging to install a regular theme, adding another layer of issues for them to be aware of isn’t likely to help.

    That said I think the theme browser support that will be in 2.8 could go a long way in helping. Because the install process is hands free we could add the necessary information to ensure that both child theme and the parent theme get installed.

  5. Matthew
    Matthew Published |

    I think the theme directory needs an upgrade altogether – backend and frontend. I think Justin raises good issues here, but they’re basically mute points.

    I say this because if someone wants quality themes, they don’t go (or shouldn’t, at least) to the Wordpress Themes Directory. It’s hard to browse and navigate and isn’t categorized appropriately. Two-columns versus three-columns isn’t good enough, when you have 700 themes to go through.

    If one wants really nice, quality themes they join a reasonably priced or free theme club like themehybrid.com πŸ˜‰

  6. that girl again
    that girl again Published |

    Once upon a time, there was an official subversion-based theme repository and it was a miserable failure, partly because the majority of theme developers (including myself, at the time) weren’t comfortable with the command line. While svn access would obviously be a godsend for serious developers, having two different upload methods could be very confusing for those who just want to share their Kubrick mods with the world. You may not have a problem with excluding those people, but the list of available themes would be substantially shorter without them.

    The main problem with community moderation of themes is the potential for abuse. With the malicious flagging and downrating of themes that took place on wordpress.net, I’m not surprised Automattic are wary of allowing the community to police itself. Mainly, though, I don’t think they expect their users to be as vigilant about licensing and sponsorship as they are. Lots of people do use non-GPL and sponsored themes, after all; if they didn’t, nobody would bother making them.

  7. James McWhorter
    James McWhorter Published |

    Thanks for the interesting post. I have never created a WordPress theme or a plugin however, if I did I would not want to do it unless I had SVN access. I’m a designer and figured out how to use SVN on my own. It seems that anyone who is really serious about this business would be interested in all that SVN has to offer.

  8. demetris
    demetris Published |

    β€œTheme authors have gotten a bit of a bad rep over the years. We first had the sponsored links predicament back in 2007 and the more recent purging of over 200 themes from the directory.

    Basically, themes have been used to game the system.”

    Justin, I think you must be forgetting something here. πŸ™‚ There is no way the second incident (purgin of 200 themes) can be said to reflect on theme developers. πŸ™‚

  9. Theme Repository In Need Of An Upgrade?
  10. Monday Morning Roundup - April 13, 2009 — WPCandy — WordPress Themes, Plugins, Tips, and Tricks
  11. Monday Morning Roundup - April 13, 2009 | omelyn.com
  12. ithemes
    ithemes Published |

    i like collect themes.

  13. Robert
    Robert Published |

    Perhaps I should have excluded the word “tags” in my previous comment. If someone searches for, for example, “1 column” and a theme is tagged “one column”… well, you get the picture. BTW, I did a test search for “one column” and the first 3 results were three and four column themes.

    I really liked the drill-down search that was available a few years ago (columns, colors, fluid/fixed, etc.)

  14. Jeffro
    Jeffro Published |

    Well, in the latest nightly build of WordPress (Bleeding version of 2.8) You can search the theme repository by term, tag, or author. You also have a bunch of checkboxes which is reminiscent of the way you used to search for themes on the old repository. So, they are in a way, coming back.

  15. Monday Morning Roundup - April 13, 2009 « Internet Turnkey Websites
  16. Bill
    Bill Published |

    Justin, you hit the nail on the head when you spoke of trust. Let the community determine what should stay and what should go by a voting system. Once a theme or plugin reaches a certain threshold of negative votes, it should be flagged for human review or simply removed. A more precise voting system could accomplish this rather easily assigning a scoring system to the negative vote received. For example, errors could cost 5 points while an unappealing design would cost 1 point.

  17. Edward Caissie
    Edward Caissie Published |

    “Also, has anyone heard any news on whether child themes are/will be allowed?”

    I just recently updated two of my themes, both of which have a child theme included in a sub-folder. Both themes were approved with the child theme sub-folder included as is.

  18. John Myrstad
    John Myrstad Published |


    We’re just beginning an assessment of the .org site with the intention of redesigning to make it a more useful resource, including making access to themes and plugins much more prevalent and friendly. Will be setting up ways for community to submit suggestions and feedback once we’ve put together a short proposal on a re-org of the site.

    Redesigning org should also lead to changes in theme respiratory.

  19. Julian
    Julian Published |

    I think that all themes must have drop down menu installed and compatible plugin. i found just some themes with this feature.

  20. Patrick Daly
    Patrick Daly Published |

    A user-experience doesn’t seem too hard to think up for supporting child themes.

    Child themes could be listed in the directory just like all themes, but the theme page would signify it as a child of X theme. Installing the child theme would work the same way as well. The only difference is that it would automatically install the parent theme as well (if it doesn’t already exist or upgrade it if it does).

    I don’t even foresee see a QA problem. It would be the same for child themes as it would be for parent themes.

    So the only thing the theme directory needs to change is automated checking of the style sheet to see if it has the `template` signification. In the case that it does, it attaches it to the existing parent theme. Then the theme pages need to have a section added to list child themes.

  21. Child Theme Inclusion in the WordPress Directory
  22. Homedepot Coupons Free
    Homedepot Coupons Free Published |

    Some really good info , Glad I noticed this. “With silence favor me.” by Horace.

Comments are closed.