[wp-hackers] GSOC : Child Themes

Deepak Seth indk at ymail.com
Tue Apr 6 20:50:07 UTC 2010

HI guys,
Sorry to repost this but as I have updated it with many changes, So this time, I would really appreciate some feedback..!!!
Themes are vital component of any WordPress based site and as the WordPress Theme repository currently houses more than a thousand theme with over 13 Million Downloads and still counting…So it’s definetly a very important section to deal with..!!
Child Theme were introduced long back in WordPress 2.7. They are used to modify an existing theme (Parent Theme) design and can be used to add more functionality to it. It can be as simple as a single CSS style sheet (A style sheet language used to describe the presentation semantics of a document written in a markup language – Wikipedia) in a directory. As the child theme are placed outside the Parent Theme directory, so changes made to Child Theme are available even if the Parent theme is updated. A detailed information is available at OP111.
My proposal is based on bbPress plugin idea that gives the ability to theme developers to upload Child theme (dependent on Parent Themes) in the WordPress Theme Repository. It is basically a bbPress plugin because the WordPress Theme site is made on bbPress. It also allows the WordPress site Administrator to manage Child themes from there WordPress Administration panel. So basically my idea divides the functionality of my plugin into two parts.
	* Theme Repository’s support for Child Themes : Since the introduction of Child theme a lot of developers have wanted the ability to upload Child Theme in the Theme Repository. So an upload system for Child Theme upload is to be made.
	* WordPress Theme Preview Support for Child Themes. : The WordPress Theme Preview Site (http://www.wp-themes.com -This is the default site used for display of various themes from WordPress theme repository, Can be seen as link to PREVIEW button on all theme pages)  currently does not support the preview of Child Themes.
	* Automated checking and validation for Child Themes.: WordPress currently supports Automated checking of uploaded Parent theme only (As they are the only ones supported). So an automatic validation suite for Child Theme is also needed, to test all the uploaded Child Theme.
	* WordPress Theme Moderation Support.: When WordPress themes are uploaded in the Theme Repository then they are first checked automatically and then approved by a moderator for listing in the repository. Now when the Child Themes will also be uploaded then there should be some changes to it, So that the Moderator and check the child theme and its dependency with parent theme.
	* Child Theme’s installation from within the WordPress administration Panel. Child Themes are currently not supported by WordPress Administration Panel and hence this section will introduce Installation, Addition, Update, and Removal of Child Themes from within WordPress Administration Panel.
	* Child Theme Editor. :WordPress Administration Panel includes a Theme Editor for making changes to the Theme file. An Enhanced Theme Editor is required to support Child Themes.
WordPress 3.0 Theme related feature includes
	* A better tabbed UI for downloading and management of Main Themes only.(No Support for Child Themes)
	* Adds a New Twenty Ten Theme
	* Theme Editor For Child Theme(Unresolved-Ticket #12716 )
	* Custom Site Background Support(Great Feature)
My Plugin features for Administration Side Will include
	* Another Interface for Child Themes to be installed with single click.(That includes a check for its dependency with the parent theme.)
	* Upgraded Theme Editor for Child Themes as well.
	* Support for version checking of child theme and their parent theme so as to find if they are compatible with each other.
WordPress 3.0 is in Beta currently and there is still no good support for Child Theme by WordPress. My plugin tries to enhance the Child Theme experience by WordPress users. I  like User-interface implementation idea as suggested by Patrick Daly which involve inclusion of Child themes as tabs on the theme display page, and adding dependencies for Child Theme. But as correctly said by him, the coding of automatic installer will be the most challenging part, but with a bit of suggestion  and help from mentor I think I would be able to complete it.
Anticipated Challenges:
I’ll be needing support from mentor for helping me with understanding the current framework of the theme repository as it will guide me to more efficient plugin.(That’s because I won’t need to think over the already existing part).(Thanks to Jane Wells confirmation over this issue that such a help would be provided)
There are going to be various issues involved in WordPress adoption of Child Themes, so i made a list of those issues available at http://gsocdk.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/some-issues-involved-in-development/. I’ll be trying to make the changes to WordPress as a plugin ( It’ll be easier for People to Review – John Godley), but there are places where changes to WordPress Core would be better, well its better to leave the decision to the administrators for that.
-- Deepak Seth
-- http://gsocdk.wordpress.com

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