When I first launched Theme Hybrid back in 2008, the themes section on this site was built with regular ol’ WordPress pages. Times have sure changed, particularly with the addition of APIs for custom post types and taxonomies in WordPress.
These days, the themes section on this site is powered by a custom plugin that creates a “theme” post type and lots of other fancy things.
Something I’ve always wondered is why, with the 1,000s of theme authors out there, I’ve never seen a plugin for handling the management of those themes. Is everyone just rolling their own solution? Still using pages? Using a portfolio plugin?
Are 100s or 1,000s of theme authors really rolling their own solution when they could be focusing on the important stuff like building themes?
I’m not sure what everyone else is doing, but I’ve been building and tweaking a custom solution for a number of years. I’ve just never packaged it up and made it useful for others.
What is the Theme Designer plugin?
It’s a theme management plugin made by a theme designer for other theme designers.
Essentially, it’s a custom post type, a couple of taxonomies, some custom metadata, and a slew of useful stuff.
But, it’s really so much more than that under the hood. There’s a hook for just about everything. There’s integration with the WordPress.org themes API, which pulls data from that site and stores it on your site. There’s a built-in feature set for adding your own meta fields on the edit theme screen.
Everything about this plugin is built specifically for setting up your own “themes” section on your Web site.
Add-ons and integrations
I’m building this plugin to be extended by others. I’ve already got an add-on in the works for integration with Easy Digital Downloads. It’d be awesome if some folks started thinking about add-ons between this and WooCommerce (or other e-commerce plugins).
I’d love to see a ThemeForest add-on too. I’m not sure if they have an API for theme authors. If they do, check out the
inc/wporg folder in the plugin to give you some ideas about how to handle integration with third-pary APIs.
This plugin still has a bit to go before it’s ready to be rolled out onto live sites. There’s a lot of polishing that needs to be done. However, I wanted to get this out there early to see if there are some missing features that need to be added.
Please note that this plugin will only work with WordPress version 4.4 (current trunk).
You can grab a copy of the plugin via its GitHub repository.
I do want to note that I plan to role this out as my first major commercial plugin. The beta version of the plugin is, of course, $free to download and use. However, the official release will have a price tag attached to it.
The plan is to roll out with supported and non-supported versions. The supported version will give you a “developer” membership at this site (current price $35/year). The non-supported version will simply be the plugin. Both versions will have $free lifetime updates.