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

Nicholas Ciske nick at thoughtrefinery.com
Fri Nov 9 20:38:33 UTC 2012

On Friday, November 9, 2012, Mika A Epstein wrote:

> 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.

Genesis is generally called a framework (I'd argue "managed theme" doesn't really apply once you've looked under the hood - perhaps parent theme framework?) for building *custom* child themes - this how I and other developers primarily use it. You don't touch the Genesis code as everything is editable via options, hooks, filters, or template overrides (at least I've yet to find something).

StudioPress also sells pre-built child themes based on Genesis. This is how many people use Genesis child themes. I occasionally use a child theme as the basis for a site. Prose (one StudioPress child theme more akin to Thesis than Genesis itself) has lots of knobs and dials, but most require CSS changes and/or PHP code edits/additions to do changes beyond what the theme author intended.

The recommended way (from StudioPress, as mentioned previously) to make edits to a pre-built child theme is to just modify the child theme directly. When they do update child themes, they are usually a major revision (completely new code but same name), not a minor revision, so updating is more complex than just copying the child theme files over the old ones (so a grandchild theme wouldn't really help here unless edits were minor and then reapplying them is minimal).

If editing a child theme makes you lose sleep at night, you can go the plugin route -- which is possible with Genesis as everything is a hook or filter, so you can totally rewire a child theme from a plugin. Whether this allows you to upgrade in the future depends on what is changed, but it should be more future proof than direct edits.
e.g. http://www.wp-code.com/wordpress-snippets/wordpress-grandchildren-themes/

Nick Ciske

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