[wp-hackers] child themes of child themes (grandchildren)

Mika A Epstein ipstenu at ipstenu.org
Fri Nov 9 17:48:38 UTC 2012

I don't know if they're official by any means, but I started looking 
into the different kind of themes and came up with these:

A Theme: TwentyEleven etc.

Stands on it's own but you can make a child if you have to.

tl;dr: The 'traditional' theme that everyone thinks of.

A Theme Framework: _s, Bootstrap, Hybrid.

Used to build a parent theme off of. No one actually uses the theme as a 
theme on it's own without forking and adding in their bells and 
whistles. These are generally turned into full-blown themes, and use the 
normal parent/child relationships. The framework itself is not a 
stand-alone theme, however, and the person who builds their parent theme 
off a framework is responsible for updating their theme when the 
framework is updated.

tl;dr: You use a framework to build a theme.

A Managed Theme: Genesis, Thesis (I'm missing some, I have a longer list 
on my other computer)

These themes are not intended for children themes! Everything that you 
should be doing is within the WP Dashboard. All CSS tweaks, and even 
functions, can be added there-in. Sometimes these are just parent themes 
that you don't make children off of, ever, and others are children 
themselves of a framework. The best ones have a way to export your theme 
settings. To make things easier, you'll find a lot of plugins that do 
what most people want, and they never need to edit code.

tl;dr: Don't touch the theme code files.


Obviously there's some crossover with these, but I tend to slap those 
labels on the 'top' level theme, so since the Genesis parent theme is 
clearly managed, it's a managed theme, even though it acts like a 
framework in some respects.

When a managed theme doesn't meet your needs, then you have the wrong 
child and need to either fork the closet one to suit your needs, or 
build your own.

Mike Schinkel wrote:
> On Nov 9, 2012, at 12:32 PM, Mika A Epstein<ipstenu at ipstenu.org> wrote:
>> Genesis is a managed theme, vs a 'traditional' theme framework.
> That's the first time I've heard such a named distinction. To ensure I 
> and maybe others don't misunderstand would you be so kind as to define 
> those terms and then compare and contrast them?
> -Mike
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