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bravewhale says

Custom option panels are horrible, please stop it! Yet another theme I purchased with an atrocious options panel design. But it doesn’t stop at the poor design; they are clunky and function not as you’d expect. There needs to be a standard for this!

It makes sense to use an options panel that is as similar to Wordpress as possible. Maybe this one: http://leemason.github.io/NHP-Theme-Options-Framework/index.html

I don’t care which one the community chooses, but it would be awesome if every developer got on board and started using the same options panel and followed the same conventions.

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ThemeBeans says

Even one up, use the built in WP Theme Customizer – it’s by far the best imo :)

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greenshady says
WordPress theme customizer. Learn to use it. https://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Customization_API
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bravewhale says

The theme customizer is definitely something every theme should utilize. Though, I still think some themes will need an options panel. The customizer should only be used to offer design and basic settings related options. You don’t want to see social icon fields, theme meta box text areas, etc, inside the customizer. That stuff still makes sense in an options panel. I just wish there was a convention for option panels.

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pixelgrade says

The theme customizer is definitely something every theme should utilize. Though, I still think some themes will need an options panel. The customizer should only be used to offer design and basic settings related options. You don’t want to see social icon fields, theme meta box text areas, etc, inside the customizer. That stuff still makes sense in an options panel. I just wish there was a convention for option panels.

+1 to this. We use the Redux framework, that now with version 3 is just sweet (theme customizer compatibility included)

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ThemeBeans says

The theme customizer is definitely something every theme should utilize. Though, I still think some themes will need an options panel. The customizer should only be used to offer design and basic settings related options. You don’t want to see social icon fields, theme meta box text areas, etc, inside the customizer. That stuff still makes sense in an options panel. I just wish there was a convention for option panels.

Those should be included separately via plugins, don’t you think? Check out the demo I have on my Krative theme (don’t think I can post links). It’s thoughtfully packed with valuable features – all with the WP Customizer.

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ThemePrince says

bravewhale: I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t like this kind of theme options either. They stand out too much from WordPress admin design. I always try to keep design consistency in my theme options. I use WP admin’s default checkbox, select design, etc.

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ThemeRox says

I am using OptionTree is a project sponsored by ThemeForest.

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tommusrhodus says

Even one up, use the built in WP Theme Customizer – it’s by far the best imo :)

Exactly, everyone should be using this as it’s part of the WP Core, IMO the new themeforest guidelines should be banning external options panels, just seems like extra, wasted code.

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bravewhale says

Exactly, everyone should be using this as it’s part of the WP Core, IMO the new themeforest guidelines should be banning external options panels, just seems like extra, wasted code.

Do you think the theme customizer should be used for options that are non display related? It’s my opinion that it should not be used for options that update content, and only for style options. Maybe some basic wordpress options like tagline, etc.

In that case, a 3rd party options panel may still be needed for other specific theme options.

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