[wp-hackers] Looking for guidance on building on top of another theme

Chip Bennett chip at chipbennett.net
Wed Feb 22 22:57:33 UTC 2012

Why not patch Sandbox, and then contribute the fixes back up-stream to


On Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 4:49 PM, Mike Walsh <mpwalsh8 at gmail.com> wrote:

> This may be a bit of a stretch for wp-hackers but I can't think of (or
> find) a more relevant place to pose this question.
> About 3-4 years ago I built a couple themes based on Sandbox.  Instead of
> depending on Sandbox as a parent theme, I included Sandbox into my theme
> development area using an SVN external reference.  This worked well, my
> theme was stand-alone and I didn't have to answer any questions about why
> it wouldn't work because the parent theme wasn't present.  The theme itself
> included most of the Sanbox files (in fact all but 2 or 3) by "including"
> them.  Essentially I created a new file (e.g. author.php) which referenced
> the original corresponding Sandbox file (e.g. my author.php did little more
> than contain the statement "require('sandbox/author.php');).  Some of the
> files (e.g. functions.php and header.php) added more code and functionality
> and represent the bulk of my theme's functionality which sits on top of
> Sandbox.
> Fast forward a few years and things have changed.  I really want to develop
> a new theme but in the interest of time, I need to update the current one
> to be compatible with WordPress 3.3 and PHP 5.3.  I've incorporated all of
> the changes (how options are stored, updated jQuery, Nav Menus, etc.) and
> everything seems to be working pretty well.
> However, the move to PHP 5.3 has exposed some issues in the original
> Sandbox code that PHP now complains about.  These are all fairly easy to
> fix but I am not sure how best to fix them.  I don't know enough about
> Subversion to know  if there is a way to keep my reference to Sandbox using
> the SVN external reference while still allowing me to "locally" update 1-2
> files and then SVN export the result so everything works correctly.
> What I am doing is similar but not the same as the Vendor Branch concept
> covered in the Subversion book.
> Any suggestions or pointers to articles would greatly be appreciated.
> --
> Mike Walsh - mpwalsh8 at gmail.com
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