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keithiac says

Theme developers should pay attention to Carl, Pippin and Justin, they truly have been around and know WordPress inside and out. Take their advice. Hopefully the WordPress community has learned something from this post.

One thing to keep an open mind about is, WordPress is/has evolved from the Blog world, and more and more people are using WordPress as a framework for Complete Business Control/Websites or SaaS.

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MDNW says

I’ve been annoyingly on my soapbox about the fallout of the “Themes Arms Race” for a while now.

WordCamp LA, 2011

http://wordpress.tv/2011/09/29/brandon-ryan-jones-the-anarchist-and-the-patriot/ – skip to 9:40 for the meat of the arguments

Justin (GreenShady), you actually have a shoutout at around 13:50 as you were the inspiration behind the speech. ;) Funny this is just now becoming relevant.

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greenshady says

“And no self-respecting theme-designer wants to be associated with plugins…” :) Since I’m both a plugin and theme developer, I get to flip that around from time to time.

Thanks for the shout-out though. I’m watching through the video right now. Great stuff.

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StevenGliebe says

I like how Orman Clark (ZillaThemes) offers a shortcodes plugin that will work with anything (good business, BTW ) while having their own themes override the default styles in order to match the theme better. I think this is a good model to learn from. This is easy to fail to do but not too hard for me to understand, so what about CPT ’s…

If a theme has a CPT (or multiple CPT ’s) registered in a plugin then when a user switches to another theme they’ll still have access to their content in the WP admin. The new theme they switch to obviously won’t come with any way to show that content on the front-end. Is the whole idea 1) to give the site owner access to their content (even if just to copy/paste it elsewhere) and 2) to make those CPT ’s available for a new theme developer (assuming either the site owner or freelancer) to utilize?

Am I missing the point? Is there more to this? The purpose of CPT ’s in a plugin is something I need to get my head around.


It seems like this could get a lot deeper than just shortcodes and CPTs.
Yes, there’s a lot more than just shortcodes and CPTs. These are just the obvious examples. There are some things that are even pretty borderline theme/plugin, but these two are clearly plugin territory.

I’d love to read a Justin Tadlock article (?) on why, how and specifically WHAT (other than shortcodes and CPT ’s) to keep outside of a theme and inside of a plugin.


Are any authors packaging shortcodes and CPTs in plugins now?

I’d like to know also (I mean, other than Justin’s club). Is anybody on ThemeForest doing this? Orman Clark? Mike McAlister? Who around here is putting CPT ’s in plugins? Which theme shops are doing this? I would love to learn from the example of any commercial theme developer who is doing everything in the best way. Who am I to look at?

This is a fantastic thread and hopefully will spur us all to do the very best.

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MDNW says

“And no self-respecting theme-designer wants to be associated with plugins…” :) Since I’m both a plugin and theme developer, I get to flip that around from time to time. Thanks for the shout-out though. I’m watching through the video right now. Great stuff.

Totally a joke (as I mentioned in the vid) – What I should have said:

“Plugins had a bad reputation in the early years of WordPress for being inconsistent and unreliable. Plugins have since cleaned up their act through standards adherence. Let’s not let themes go down the same rabbit hole with themes”.

That was hard to put on a slide though ;)

Keep in mind this was a year ago, before we were too deep ins the SC, CPT , and other proprietary CMS stuff that’s now the norm. And credit where it’s due. This isn’t a “new topic”. My video was almost a year ago, and you started posting publicly about this stuff months before I even wrote that speech. It’s an old problem that’s festered and been supported by product sales.

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greenshady says
If a theme has a CPT (or multiple CPT ’s) registered in a plugin then when a user switches to another theme they’ll still have access to their content in the WP admin. The new theme they switch to obviously won’t come with any way to show that content on the front-end. Is the whole idea 1) to give the site owner access to their content (even if just to copy/paste it elsewhere) and 2) to make those CPT ’s available for a new theme developer (assuming either the site owner or freelancer) to utilize? Am I missing the point? Is there more to this? The purpose of CPT ’s in a plugin is something I need to get my head around.

Both #1 and #2.

The major point is really about allowing the user having access to that content. Assuming the CPT uses the default WordPress fields (`post_content`, `post_title`, etc.), any standards-based theme will still show the CPT on the front end. Of course, a lot of this comes down to the individual CPT and how it should be implemented.

When you add a CPT to a plugin, the user will always have access to the content. Whether it looks good on the front end is a different story, but this is a good reason to start supporting plugins that offer some sort of standardization (like bbPress and WooCommerce).

I’ve got some ideas about making this a lot easier and better for the entire WP community. I just haven’t had the time to sit down and work on it.

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mordauk says

I’d like to know also (I mean, other than Justin’s club). Is anybody on ThemeForest doing this? Orman Clark? Mike McAlister? Who around here is putting CPT ’s in plugins? Which theme shops are doing this? I would love to learn from the example of any commercial theme developer who is doing everything in the best way. Who am I to look at?

Jason Bobich (ThemeBlvd) is starting to do this really well (he’s in the middle of reworking his framework), as is WP Explorer.

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cramdesign says

I would love to see the community get behind a free portfolio/gallery cpt plugin. This seems to be the most common content that would need moved from theme to theme.

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StevenGliebe says

Thank you both, Justin and Pippin. I’m planning a framework to make my theme development more efficient and want to have things right from the beginning.


I’ve got some ideas about making this a lot easier and better for the entire WP community. I just haven’t had the time to sit down and work on it.

Got me all curious now. I’ll have my eyes peeled.

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wpsquare says

Many thanks to Justin and Pippin. Learned hell lot things about WP and related stuff. This post is a really useful one for those who wants to know the best and standard practices. Going to read each and every comment from the first again. Thank you again.

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