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brainbuzzmedia says

Generally, I know we aren’t allowed to include plug-ins with our upload but are we allowed to if the theme needs the plug-in to be what it is? A good example is an ecommerce theme. Are we allowed to build an ecommerce theme using a plug-in like say wp-ecommerce and then include that with our download or do we just have to say go download this at their website and set it up?

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MCStudios says

Generally, I know we aren’t allowed to include plug-ins with our upload but are we allowed to if the theme needs the plug-in to be what it is? A good example is an ecommerce theme. Are we allowed to build an ecommerce theme using a plug-in like say wp-ecommerce and then include that with our download or do we just have to say go download this at their website and set it up?

You can include plugins with your theme, there was a thread about this. :)

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brainbuzzmedia says

Are you sure? I’ve had themes rejected for specifically that reason.

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sevenspark Moderator says

I believe you are allowed to, but I don’t think it’s a very good practice. If you include plugins in your theme, your users won’t be able to benefit from updates of that plugin. I think it’s better to just include a link in the theme with instructions on how to install it.

Still, while a theme might be dependent on a plugin (like in an ecommerce situation), I don’t think a theme should “break” when it’s not installed. Just do a simple function_exists check on one of the plugin’s functions before running code that depends on the plugin. :)

EDIT : As long as the Plugin is GPL , you are allowed to, that is.

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brainbuzzmedia says

Makes sense. But if the theme is supposed to be an ecommerce theme it would kind of have to break if the ecommerce plug-in wasn’t installed. Not break look-wise, but functionality-wise.

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sevenspark Moderator says

Makes sense. But if the theme is supposed to be an ecommerce theme it would kind of have to break if the ecommerce plug-in wasn’t installed. Not break look-wise, but functionality-wise.

I hear you. But I think there is a difference between limiting functionality and actually breaking. To me, if a theme is generating PHP errors, it’s broken – and what I’m saying is the theme probably shouldn’t throw errors when the plugin isn’t present. If it’s running but not providing the intended functionality due to a plugin not being installed it’s degrading gracefully ;)

Might be different in your theme’s case, obviously I’m not familiar with the particulars here. Just my two cents, having been in a similar situation recently with my current development project :)

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MCStudios says

Hi, yes you can include plugins but it’s better to integrate the plugin in your theme, this way the user does not have to download it, install the plugin and activate it, etc.

Of course not all plugins are free, you can not purchase a plugin and then integrate it to your theme and sell it, it all depends on the license, the author, etc. if you want to make sure if you can use a plugin is better to contact the plugin owner.

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