Theme Foundry: “Don’t Steal My Theme Options”

Don’t steal my Theme Options, from The Theme Foundry. It seems at least few people interpreted my post last week as suggesting there should be no options. While I think that software should just work, I also suggested that a half-dozen options could be removed from WordPress, not the other 50-something options. Nonetheless, the Theme Foundry post is a great case study in how you should be approaching options — in a careful, meticulous fashion. “We talked it over, and decided we’d go one-by-one through the options and scrutinize like madmen.” That quote makes me want to go find and don my Theme Foundry t-shirt.

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Andrew Nacin

Lead developer of WordPress, living in Washington, D.C. Follow me on Twitter.

9 thoughts on “Theme Foundry: “Don’t Steal My Theme Options””

  1. That quote makes me want to go find and don my Theme Foundry t-shirt.

    Agreed — the goal is to have those conversations and scrutinize those decisions, not to reach some specific number of options.

    1. I doubt I’ve been creating themes long enough to say this, but many themes come down to just one option — optionally remove theme credit link. The rest is either unnecessary, could be a plugin, or implemented the wrong way.

  2. agreed. Everyone has their own opinion on what should be available for change and what shouldn’t. Too many options can leave some people confused, while too little options shuts the door to imagination.

  3. I don’t like theme options. IMHO they slow down a theme. I’d rather the developer write a readme and tell you what code to put where to make it do that thing you do.

    I also don’t believe all themes needs to be user friendly — especially if it’s a framework.

  4. There is too much hype on theme options. On top of that, people want to code in and put their own classes into a theme (including premium themes) and not even cleanly document those options, so making it difficult for novice or intermediate WordPress developers to work with.

    While I do not mind theme options, I want to see better coding for the client/user in mind.

    @ Joseff- There is a really good WordPress theme developer on Theme Forest (kriesi) that has a really nice document for usage file for outside his readme file. We could learn from his documentation method. Also, StudioPress has a good tutorial system for their hooks.

  5. If the design is bad, no matter how many functions or options you add won’t make a difference.

    But if the design is good then a bit of options to make the theme do what it is suppose to do is fantastic.

    Lets be honest here, if you really want a function for your site so badly that the theme doesn’t already come with then you would use one of many plugins avaialbe to you from the WP community.

    You absolutly have no need to re-invent the wheel over and over again for no possible reason.

    A quote from Paul Rand that says so much: Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.

  6. I really enjoyed reading your original post, and it was interesting to read the Theme Foundry guys interpretation and how that worked out for them practically.

    Obviously no one believes that zero options is the optimum for a perfect theme. It’s about the best, fewest, options to provide the most users with a great experience. Also, like Ryan McCue said in the comments on your earlier post, additional “advanced” options can be made available to other developers via filters too.

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