Posts by carlhancock

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says


I would suggest to have a new category named “Wordpress Skins” instead of changing the current Themes. This marketplace releases the high-tech themes with amazing functionality. And those are unique functions. Not general. Wordpress Skins category can be just like HTML or PSD templates. Someone wants a regular wordpress theme without any functionality? He/she can buy the only skin. No plugins, no features, no shortcodes included. Purchase, download install and start to use just like you do with Wordpress’s default themes. You want a pricing table? Go buy a Pricing Table plugin. And that’s it. Lower price and only skin.
+1 Good idea

You guys do understand that a theme is precisely a skin, right?

It’s been bastardized into what’s it’s become by theme authors that want to cram every feature under the sun into the theme. That was not the original nor the current intention of a WordPress theme.

The theme is supposed to be the design layer of the site. The skin. They could have just as easily called them skins but they went with the term theme. Why do you think plugins exist?

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says

WordPress Assets

3. Themes will be required to use whichever version of jQuery ships with that version of WordPress.
4. Authors are not allowed to deregister the default version of jQuery and load another one.

Whats wrong if we use the newer version of jquery?

What’s wrong with using the newer version of jQuery?

Well let’s see. Any plugins the user is using that is built using best practices will be expecting the version of jQuery that is built into WordPress.

introduce a different version of jQuery and you introduce functionality that could be deprecated and boom. Your theme just caused a conflict that has broken a plugin.

Who will end up fixing this conflict? The plugin developer. Because the user will think the plugin is what is broken, meanwhile it’s the theme that is causing the problem because it isn’t following best practices.

You use the version of jQuery that the current version of WordPress is using precisely so that there is consistency. You don’t know what plugins the user is going to use. The plugin developers don’t know what theme the user is going to use. But if you following best practices, everyone will know what version of jQuery is being used and conflicts caused by jQuery version issues will not occur.

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says

@carlhancock. That’s great then.

believe it or not, but all of TF is not about the accordion shortcode.

There’s guys like us who have a passion for specific industries, and spend our waking moments building solutions for that industries. and one of the solutions is to make our solutions not look like sh*t in themes.

I would like to see the rest of the theme shops get in line with this big community cleansing. Because the things that you are screaming against are not compliant in their themes as well.

I want to bet that if we get together in 6 months time and revisit this discussion we will realize that all the rhetoric was another blow in the themeforest witch hunt, and other theme shops will still have all this “non” compliant code in their themes, and nobody will notice, because the next wave of screams will come running towards us.

I worked for 10 years making industry specific internet solutions for the main, power sports, motorcycle and automotive industries. You want to do it right? You’ll create a plugin that handles the major functionality. In your case you mentioned restaurants. Create a plugin that handles things such as menus, reservations, etc. Then create themes that you can sell that work with that plugin.

If you really want to build a good industry solution, build a plugin that provides the functionality doesn’t even require one of your themes to work. But then sell a line of themes built specifically for that plugin. Sell the plugin on CodeCanyon by itself, and sell the themes bundled with the plugin on ThemeForest.

Now you’ve gone from not just selling themes, but selling a plugin as well in the process.

The issues that ThemeForest cause for me as a commercial plugin developer have nothing to do with the modularization of functionality into a plugin. It’s primarily a lot of the other guidelines surrounding jQuery usage, not manipulating autop, etc. Those are the guidelines that i’m most happy about because those are the issues that typically cause the conflicts.

As far as removing functionality from themes, there are a lot of theme developers outside of Envato that don’t have a lot of functionality in their themes. Their themes are primarily just that: themes. They leave more advanced functionality to plugins and they handle what they were designed to handle… the design.

Sure there are theme companies that have app like functionality such as AppThemes. But that’s what they are designed to do. That’s why App is even in their name.

However, I will say the growing trend in the community as a whole is for theme developers to make their themes as streamlined as possible and leave the major functionality and features to plugins.

Envato is making a smart decision. They’ve made a lot of you a lot of money. Maybe instead of bitching and fighting you should listen to what Envato is saying…. chances are despite the fact you are somehow going to get screwed you’ll likely end up making more money if you do things right.

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says

if that shitty code is moved from the theme to a plugin shipped within the theme which is auto installed, your support issues will still be there after the change.

You won’t see any features reduction in TF themes because TF buyers don’t care what you, other plugin dev or wp core dev thinks a theme should be. They want turnkey products or they are agencies providing cheap complete websites to their clients.

You wanna change that ? feel free to join TF and educate the buyers yourself using your own products. Our main income comes from selling themes here and to tell buyers “you’re doing it wrong” isn’t what pays our bills end of the month.

What will happen is, each theme will ship its own set of custom plugins, mandatory to replicate all demo features which will only work when used within the original theme and not supported as standalone product (as in free item support).

But who cares right ? this move isn’t about buyers or authors after all. Let’s move all the custom code into a plugin which would be useless once the theme is replaced just so envato can say “look, our themes are not feature bloated anymore, code is inside a plugin!”

The part of the guidelines that will have a substantial impact on curbing theme created conflicts has nothing to do with moving major functionality from the theme into a plugin.

It is other parts of the guidelines that we are most happy with because it is other parts of the guidelines that will have the biggest impact on preventing theme conflicts that cost my company money in support costs.

Guidelines around properly enqueuing jQuery and only enqueuing javascript when necessary and NOT on every single admin page. Guidelines around using the built in core jQuery and not loading another version from the theme or a CDN. Guidelines around not manipulating page content output and manipulating autop, etc.

If you weren’t too busy throwing a hissy fit over the plugin issue you might stop and think about what would cause the problems other commercial plugin developers encounter with poorly developed themes and it’s primarily the issues I mention above.

These are the parts of the guidelines that will have a major impact on reducing theme conflicts.

As for moving substantial functionality into plugins? That has nothing to do with reducing theme conflicts from my standpoint but everything to do with best practices. THEMES = DESIGN, PLUGINS = FUNCTIONALITY.

I keep seeing that people want cheap complete websites, or agencies want to provide cheap complete websites to their clients. I keep seeing cheap. Cheap. Cheap. You, the ThemeForest authors, are the people that have created this culture of cheap, cheap, cheap. And it’s results in code that matches the price: cheap.

The fact that so many authors on this thread are replying with questions that show they don’t even understand some of the new guidelines or why they need to do so tells me there are a lot of authors on here who shouldn’t even be selling themes because obviously they don’t understand best practices or why the separation of design from functionality is a good thing. They are too busy copy-n-pasting functionality from each others themes and too busy racing to create themes that contain the most functionality possible because they are only worried about selling as many themes as possible… they aren’t working about making a quality product.

Do you guys even realize what theme authors with this attitude have done to Envato’s reputation in the overall WordPress community? People like Japh and Collis do.

These guidelines are being put in place because Envato wants to quit being the ugly stepchild of the WordPress development community that everyone points and laughs at and uses as an example of terribly coded themes. They want to change their image and improve the product that is offered to the customers.

If that means themes have less functionality, then so be it. It doesn’t mean a theme should now have 50 plugins that it must install. If it does, then you are doing it wrong because a theme shouldn’t bring that much functionality.

People are using themes for things they weren’t intended. The more functionality a theme has the more code a theme has. The more code a theme has the greater the chance there will be bugs or security vulnerabilities. Themes, unlike plugins and WordPress itself, are rarely updated once installed. Which means once a security vulnerability is introduced via a theme and it’s exploited… well the customers are screwed. Sure you can update things just like plugins, but most users never update their theme because they’ve customized them directly and they’ll lose their customizations.

With WordPress itself and with WordPress plugins, when a security vulnerability is discovered it’s patched and an update is released… and users can easily update the plugin. They are used to updating plugins and it’s assumed that plugins will have updates. When an update appears, they’ll update. Security problem solved.

That’s why WordPress has plugins in the first place.

I could spend all day talking about why MOST themes shouldn’t contain complex functionality that is better left to being a Plugin but it’s pointless. Most of you won’t get it anyway. But Envato does get it. Which is precisely why these guidelines are being put in place.

If you don’t like it, take your toys and sell them elsewhere.

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says

@Net-Labs good point – i’m guessing they need to be separate plugins. Since this whole thing is about ‘good practice’. But it should depend on the functionality – if the separate functions rely on eachother i think they could be in 1 plugin. But lets wait and see what they have to say about this :)

It’s is also for @Net-Labs, if your building a theme for restaurants and want functionality for restaurants such as menu management, specials, etc. then that could reside in a single plugin designed to provide restaurant web site functionality. You wouldn’t create a plugin for menus, a plugin for specials, a plugin for reservations.

If the functionality is all related, the it makes sense for it to be in a single plugin.

Gravity Forms doesn’t have a plugin for its form editor, a plugin for viewing form entries, a plugin for the shortcode functionality, etc. it’s a single plugin.

So you’d be building a plugin that provide resultant specific functionality that could include menu management, reservations, specials, etc.

If you’re real smart then you’d build it in such a way that it was usable in its own WITHOUT your theme. Then you could sell it by itself on CodeCanyon, or bundle it with a theme in ThemeForest. Then you could create additional restaurant themes that also use that plugin.

Now if you have a restaurant functionality plugin and then want fu ctionality for doing generic shortcodes (columns, tabs, etc.) then that’s when they don’t relate and should be separate.

As I mentioned, TF developers or Envato itself should solve the shortcode (tabs, columns, etc.) issue by coming together and creating a single standardized plugin that provides this fu ctionality. Then the theme developers just need to override its default styles to style things to match their theme. No point in every theme dev creating their own shortcode plugin.

A lot of the questions really show how much about WordPress development best practices some of you guys really need to learn. Especially since you are selling a product to users who expect you to be experts because you arr selling WordPress products. With all the confusion over what should be best practices when it comes to WordPress, it shows that some of you guys still have a lot to learn about WordPress.

Envato is doing what is best for the users and the community as a whole. Not because they want to hurt their business or yours. Things were out of control with very poor practices and rampant a copy-n-pasting of poor code popping up in theme after theme. At least now when there is rampant cop-n-pasting of functionality they’ll be more likely to be implementing code built following best practices.

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says

Does the whole concept mean to just moving any functionality into the plugin? Just like that?

If your theme requires the user to install a ton of logins you are doing it wrong.

A theme should just be the design for the site. Plugins are for adding functionality to WordPress.

That seems to be a hard concept for some to grasp because ThemeForest allowed things to be out of control for so long that now that they are finally taking the steps needed to follow best practices, developers who don’t know how to do things the correct way are going complaining and pushing back.

Theme = Design. Plugin = Functinality. Unless the theme is HIGHLY specialized (ex. A theme built specifically for a site using WooCommerce) then it shouldn’t be built with a lot of plugin dependencies.

I know this is a tough concept for theme developers used to being able to do things however they want, and customers used to buying themes that could make their bed and make them coffee in the morning… but it’s about damn time ThemeForest and Envato began doing things the correct way and implemented more stringent guidelines and best practices. This change was long overdue.

For those that don’t like it… i’d say sell your themes elsewhere or suck it up and build your themes the right way using best practices and the new guidelines put in place by Envato.

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says

As a customer, I see these as turn-key site packages, not strictly as themes. And, as a customer, I don’t want to have to install and maintain a bunch of plugins, or care whether WordPress is being used properly with style and functionality split between themes and plugins.

As a WordPress expert and one f the co-founders of one of th most successful commercial WordPress plugins in existence I would say your quote above scares the shit out of me.

WordPress isn’t set it and forget it. The more functionality a theme provides, the less likely it will ever be updated because of how most people implement themes by not using child themes. Which means the more vulnerable it will be down the road for those with malicious intent to take it over and put it to work as part of a malware botnet, etc.

Plugins allow functionality not just to be enhanced, not just for new features to be introduced, but more importantly for bugs to be fixed and even more important than that… security patches to be applied. And to do so on its own schedule without having to update everything else. Only the plugin containing the functionality that needs to be updates or fixed would need to be updated, not everything else.

Users should ALWAYS keep WordPress up to date. Users should ALWAYS keep all of their plugins up to date. If you don’t, you leave your site vulnerable to malware, being hacked, etc.

Themes incorporating large amounts of functionality that should really reside in a plugin this means the theme is introducing large amounts of functionality that likely will never be updated because the truth is most users don’t update their theme once it’s been customized because most users don’t use child themes. They simply edit the theme directly to customize it which makes theme updates difficult, if not impossible, to do. Which is why themes are rarely updated after installed on a site.

You don’t care if WordPress is being used properly with style and functionality being split properly between themes and plugins? That is shocking because as important as my own web sites are to our business I would want to make sure that the theme I use and all plugins I use are built using best practices.

What you just said is you wouldn’t care if you bought a house that is architected incorrectly and while it looks beautiful on the surface, a few months or a year down the road the entire thing could collapse on you. That is what will happen if you don’t take which themes and plugins you choose to power your WordPress site seriously AND neglct them by not keeping them up to date.

Out of curiosity, are you buying these themes to use for yourself of are you buying these themes to build sites for clients? Because if this is your attitude towards best practices you need to educate yourself on WordPress best practices and start taking them more seriously because they are critical to the security of a WordPress powered web site. And if this is your attitude towards best practices and your passing this attitude on to your clients you are doing an extreme disservice to your clients

The very thing you love about the poor practices being used by some theme developers is the very thing that could lead to disaster for any sites you manage down the road.

Just because something looks good on the surface doesn’t mean it isn’t a disaster under the hood. In the past some of the top selling themes on ThemeForest caused us constant support tickets related to conflicts they caused due to not following besg ractices. they were themes that looked beautiful, which is why they were best seller, but they we rotten under the bood

If all you care about is the surface, then sooner or later you’re going to run into major problems due to what is under the hood.

Not caring if your site is built with themes and plugins that follow best practices is baffling to me. Truly baffling.

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says

First off congratulations to Envato for establish some very good guidelines for themes sold on ThemeForest going forward. It’s a tremendous step and one that has been well received within the WordPress development community.

To those ThemeForest theme developers who don’t like it, don’t get it, or are complaining about the guidelines… Iit’s time to learn how to do things the right way.

WordPress provides the core functionality. Plugins expand on that functionality. Themes provide the design.

I’ve seen numerous times one of the posters mention they aren’t selling a theme, they are selling a complete website solution. No, you aren’t. Or rather I should say no, you shouldn’t be. You should be selling a theme. You aren’t selling a complete turnkey solution.

As the co-founder of the company behind one of the most successful commercial WordPress plugins on the marketplace I can say that these guidelines will go a long way to solve a major issue for us as a company… conflicts caused by poorly developed ThemeForest themes. I can tell you that 99% of all support issues caused by theme conflicts, not a problem with our product itself, were ThemeForest themes.

These guidelines are going to help eliminate the issues we run into.

Envato isn’t implementing these guidelines because they want to screw you. They are adopting these guidelines because the Wild West attitude to theme developers on ThemeForest that did whatever they wanted with no standards ultimately screwed the users. Envato is implementing these guidelines to provide themes that simply put… are built properly.

Functionality such as a library of shortcodes to do tabs, accordions, columns, etc. and functionality such as contact forms, etc. have no business residing within a theme. Those are features and functionality that should reside in a plugin.

A theme should focus on the design of the site. That is all. If based on these changes your theme must also install a bunch of plugins, then you are doing things wrong. Your theme shouldn’t have to install a bunch of plugins to meet these new guidelines. Really a theme shouldn’t require any plugins.

For those concerned that these guidelines mean you won’t be able to do things the way you have in the past, you are probably right. But that also means the way you have been doing things up until now has been wrong.

If so many ThemeForest theme developers are so concerned about so many shortcodes no longer being available, why in the hell don’t you guys get together and create a free plugin that provides extensive shortcode capabilities, standardize its CSS and then include the necessary CSS to override its defaults in your theme? Put this plugin in the WordPress.org plugin repository and point your users to it when they need shortcode functionality such as columns, tabs, accordions, etc.

The reason why customers of ThemeForest have misguided expectations that a theme should be a turn key total web site solution is because you as theme developers on ThemeForest have created this perception.

It’s long overdue for ThemeForest to tighten the reigns and do things more like the rest of the WordPress community by putting into place guidelines and best practices. ThemeForest is the butt of jokes of many within the WordPress development com unity precisely because of incompetent theme developers are selling themes without doing things the correct way and using best practices.

These changes will go a long way to change this perception and I’m thrilled that overtime the number of conflicts we encounter due to poorly developed ThemeForest themes should dwindle. As these conflicts dwindle, the opposite will occur to ThemeForest (and Envato’s) image and reputation within the WordPress development com unity… It will rise and they will begin to garner more respect from the community as a whole.

Get ready boys, it’s time to do things the right way. If you don’t like doing the right way, that’s your problem. Not Envato’s.

I think I speak for the entire non-ThemeForest/CodeCanyon WordPress develoment community, especially the commercial community, when i say thank you to Japh, Collis and those at Envato who put together and implemented these new guidelines. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Please excuse any typos… I am typing this on my iPad so any typos due to auto-completion being wrong, etc. would not surprise me at all.

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says
Is there an answer for this quesion? As exclusive themeforest author, can we sell GPL wordpress theme on themeforest as well as our own site?

Can you sell GPL WordPress themes on ThemeForest as well as DIFFERENT themes on your own site if you have signed on to be an exclusive author with Envato? YES.

Can you sell the exact SAME GPL WordPress themes on your own site that you are selling on ThemeForest if you have signed on to be an exclusive author with Envato? NO.

If you’ve signed on to sell themes exclusively on ThemeForest that has nothing to do with the GPL and license that the themes you sell via ThemeForest use.

The fact that you have chosen to release the code as GPL doesn’t change the fact that you have signed an agreement with Envato to sell the theme in question exclusively via ThemeForest. Therefore you couldn’t sell that theme on your own site. GPL or non-GPL.

The GPL is about the end user. Not the author.

49 posts
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 6 years
  • Has collected 1+ items on Envato Market
carlhancock says

Its a smart business model, but I think you need to acknowledge the fact that for many authors here in themeforest, that kind business model is just not possible here, if all you are is a freelance themforest author. The main reason being, its a marketplace. We are selling a product, not a service. And just like most of your customers are really buying the service and not the GPL’ed code, most themeforest buyers are really buying the design, not the GPL’ed code.

Wrong. There is no difference between selling a theme or plugin one of Envato’s marketplace and selling a theme or plugin on your own site. Just because it’s a marketplace doesn’t mean the same business model can’t be used.

Claiming selling GPL code is selling a service and not a product simply isn’t true. Claiming the user is really buying a design also isn’t true. The user is buying code that includes a design. Otherwise you’d be selling a PSD. It’s not just a design.

Gravity Forms is a product. We are selling a product. That the product is GPL doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a product and we are selling it as a download and unless you purchase it from us you can’t get it from us. We aren’t a service company. We don’t do custom work or consulting. We strictly provide support for our product.

We sell a product. WooThemes sells products. Obox sells products. StudioPress sells products. Themezilla sells products. Easy Digital Downloads sells products. All are GPL. All are products. All could be sold on ThemeForest or CodeCanyon and several of these examples are already being sold on ThemeForest or Code Canyon as well as on their own product site.

There’s nothing stopping other marketplace authors from adopting a similar model. There are already marketplace authors doing so. WooThemes and Obox are perfect examples. Both utilize the GPL for their products and both have made them available on Themeforest. It’s had no impact on their business model at all.

If we wanted to make Gravity Forms available on CodeCanyon we could and it wouldn’t have any kind of impact on our business model or how we go about running our company.


+1 This is what I was talking about earlier in my comment.

You are both wrong. The only reason why you are a “freelance author” is because that is how you choose to identify yourself. Others identify themselves as a company selling a product. Even if it’s just one person.

See my reply to pjtops just above this quote for the explanation.

You guys are splitting hairs making a mountain out of a molehill issue. This entire discussion has been made far more complicated than it is or needs to be.

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