Bye, bye Options, Structure, and Visionary

Yesterday, I made the announcement that I will be discontinuing some of my themes. Those themes are Options, Structure, and Visionary.

On January 31, 2009 at 11:59 p.m., those three themes will no longer be available for download from this site or

Why I’m removing these themes

Some of you may recall that a few months ago, I changed the business model around here to a support-/services-based model. I talked a lot about how the GPL was a part of this plan.

Options, Structure, and Visionary are not GPL-licensed themes, and they do not fit in with my philosophy and beliefs about open source.

Some of you may ask why I don’t just re-license the themes. I could do that, but it would be wrong. Many folks have paid for credit removal and developer’s licenses for these themes. I cannot slap a GPL license on the themes after letting them pay. It would be unethical.

There’s also this feeling of out with the old and in with the new. I’ve rested on the success of these themes for a while, and they’re just holding back my progress now. The code is old and hard to maintain because each of these themes was originally created long before I would’ve considered myself a good WordPress developer.

The themes will still be supported

I will continue answering theme support questions for another year. That way, anyone who is a part of the theme club will get the support they need for their entire year.

The plan is to continue supporting users of those three themes until everyone has had enough time to transition into a new theme. While I do plan on continuing support, I can make no guarantees that the themes will function properly with future versions of WordPress.

Moving toward complete open source

Believe me, I’ve struggled with this decision for sometime now, but I think it’s the right course to take. Nothing else around here will change. You’ll just have some new, cool themes to replace the old ones in the coming month.

Just to show you a little bit of my commitment to offering you quality WordPress themes, here’s a preview of one of the upcoming themes that will be available — Life Collage Preview.

You can expect a lot more in the coming months. Some of you might be sad to see Options, Structure, and Visionary go, but I’m excited about the future of Theme Hybrid and implementing some of the new ideas I have into new themes.

You are welcome to read and respond on the original blog post I added on my site as well: Some thoughts on the WordPress community, themes, and the GPL.


  1. That’s progress! I loved Structure and to a lesser extent Options, but after working with Hybrid for the past few weeks I can see (as you say) that the coding is so much more advanced and the flexibility and potential superb – as evidenced by the diversity of the existing child themes (Old School and Leviathan) and planned child themes (Life Collage Preview) plus the 3 and 4 column styles layouts.

    Hybrid is definitely a great core or framework on which to base child themes into the future and exemplifies the GPL philosophy and beliefs. Great work Justin.

  2. Oi vey. I was always an avid supporter of the options theme (it allowed me te reverse engineer every other so called premium themes with extreme ease and 0 cost). My own blog runs on an older version of it. I won’t be lying if I said I’ll miss it. a lot.

    Thanks for creating something special, man. Kudos. I’ll definitely be using your new themes.

  3. Justin,

    I am having very little knowledge of coding. But I could make my child theme for Option theme very easily and I am about to launch my new site with Options theme. It is a bit surprise to as I am waiting for Options1.4 as you mentioned earlier.

    However, can you please release a child theme to replace Options with Hybrid?


  4. I’m on board with the decision and I appreciate the tough ethical decision you made!!! Is there some way to “port” the Options themes to the new Hybrid?

    I haven’t played much with Hybrid to know the answer to this, but it would be great if there was a relatively easy way to move from Options to Hybrid.

  5. you sure are taking wordpress theme “industry” to new levels πŸ™‚

  6. Great decision Justin. I personally love Options & it’s child themes especially Spartan. Hybrid is absolutely fantastic & I would prefer to be using it so can’t wait for some more of your excellent Hybrid child themes. Seeing how you added the features gallery to Old School makes Hybrid a fantastic choice & shows how easy customisations can be made.
    I would prefer a jQuery solution for a features gallery that mimics the smooth gallery of Options, have you found one? & if you release a tabbed widget plugin, I’m switching everything to Hybrid…

  7. StormRider
    Structure was always my favorite theme, at least until Hybrid came along. Actually, Hybrid started off as a copied version of Structure.

    Hybrid is very flexible, but I do plan on putting together one other core/base theme. It’s purpose will be very different from Hybrid though.

    Johan Swarts
    Thanks. I know a lot of people will miss Options.

    I won’t (to be perfectly honest). πŸ˜‰

    I will be adding some of the things from Options into child themes, so it’ll live on in some form.

    Madhu Babu
    You can still launch your site with Options. I’ll be fully supporting this theme well into the future. I still have over a month before closing it down to release the next version though. If I have time, I’ll release a version with bug fixes.

    I will be porting features of Options over into Hybrid child themes at some point. A straight port from one theme to the other isn’t very easy though. Porting specific features is.

    You’re welcome to use Options as long as you want though because I will still be supporting it.

    Thanks. That’s part of the plan. I just want to shake things up a bit, and the new year seems like a perfect time to start.

    I actually do have a jQuery features gallery that I’ve been playing with. It doesn’t break like the Mootools version we have now and it’s much more lightweight.

    I also have a tabbed widgets plugin I’ll be adding specifically for the Hybrid theme.

  8. Hey, my shifting from Options to Hybrid was more timely than I knew! Good luck for the future and 2009 and all that πŸ™‚

  9. Well that was certainly unexpected! πŸ™‚

    It’s been a great run – first with Structure really transforming my site and more recently with my change to Options. Guess it’s time to start planning an update…

  10. Oh my! I think this is a great decision of course, but man I only just found your site a month ago, got set up with Structure (LOVING IT), was considering moving to Options, but now I guess I should just hang on a bit and wait to see what the future brings. =)


  11. rickybuchanan
    I think Hybrid is a better choice for you anyway since you tend to focus a lot on accessibility. One of my main goals with Hybrid is to make it as accessible as possible.

    I’m hoping to release something a little more along the lines of Options and Structure to kind of ease the transition for the people that might want to switch themes.

    I really like what you’ve done with Structure. If you like it, I’d suggest keeping it on your site as long as you want. I’ll be completely supporting it indefinitely. Of course, there’ll be new themes to play around with as well.

  12. vald

    Oh wow – I’m about to launch a magazine site with Visionary. It’s perfect for what I want and much better than any of the other WP magazine themes I’ve tried. I don’t want to try hacking one of these themes to get it to work like Visionary, so can I assume that you’ll be providing support and fixes for it?
    Heck, I’ll pay something for the support if need be.

    1. I will be providing support indefinitely to exclusive theme club members, so you can use the theme as long as you want. I will not be releasing updated versions of the theme though, so if a bug needs to be fixed, it’ll need to be addressed in the support forums.

  13. The screenie looks amazingly cool.


  14. Justin i applaud your ethics.

    I will continue to use options on my site though.
    (it’s too bloody good to change and have just skinned my xmas theme)

    Good luck with all your future projects.

  15. Woooo! [no pun intended]

    About time πŸ™‚ your Hybrid frame is the future.

  16. Wow, sad to hear it but understand why. I can’t remember exactly now, but I think I was Options download number 27 or 67…not sure which. In the first 100 though. This theme opened my eyes so much on how things are made, and made well. To be honest, I’m still using the Beta version and it works exactly how I want it to so I’ve never bothered to upgrade it or WP. As they say, “If it works, …”

    Bottom line, I’m with commenter Johan Swarts on this one…thanks for creating something special.

  17. And Merry Christmas…!

  18. vald

    Happy Christmas Justin! Cash is tight right now, but I’ll try and get enough together next month to buy that developers package. My coding knowhow is basic and I’ve never tried to hack WordPress code, but I’ve been digging around in the Visionary code and it looks quite simple to modify; I’d love to get into it and see what I can produce.
    Thanks for producing such lovely work.

  19. I agree with your decision justin. it wouldn’t be fair to ppl that have paid.
    anyway, this just makes me wishing for your upcoming releases πŸ™‚

  20. This is a shock. I thought I have come to an end searching for a theme. Option provided some peace. But now again I have to look out for new one. What will happen to all the custom fields used like features, full, thumbnail, video etc., How to readjust with some other theme. Hope I have no choice but to join as a member to keep option updated for every new WP version. Any how thanks for the good work.

  21. vald

    Justin deserves to have some money chucked at him – he’s done a hell of a job with these themes. I’ll certainly be joining.

  22. shashiingale

    oh ..its surprising that u r closing down these excellent themes.. i am using option on one of my site and now i am bit confused whether to stay with it or not.. you said you will support it indefinitely through ‘support forum’ .. i havent purchased membership if i purchased membership will i get update of these themes?

  23. Thinkjayant — Thanks. I’m hoping to have Life Collage out in January.

    Tkey — Feel free to keep using Options. I’ll support the theme as long as people are still using it.

    mkjones — Yes, I agree that Hybrid is the future. I have loads of plans for it in the near future that’ll make Options, Structure, and Visionary seem trivial.

    Cody — Yep, you were one of the early adopters of the beta version. Continue using the theme if it fits your needs. Just keep an eye out for new things. I do have a couple of photoblog-type themes in the pipeline.

    Merry Christmas! πŸ˜‰

    vald — I’m glad you like Visionary. It was what I consider my first real accomplishment with WordPress. Everything I’ve done up to this point has been built off of the ideas I started with when working on that theme.

    I’ll take any money I can get too! πŸ˜‰

    Seriously, we’d be happy to have you as part of the Theme Hybrid community.

    vas — You don’t have to look out for a new theme if you like Options. It’ll still be supported in the support forums so long as someone is using it. I will not be updating it for theme club members though.

    shashiingale — I will answer support questions on the themes indefinitely, but the themes will not be receiving updates. Membership is only for gaining access to more tutorials and the ability to ask questions on the support forums.

  24. Hi Justin,

    I just came across your site today and found the structure and visionary theme really suits my recently love blog – Cupid Blogger Dot Com

    It is sad to hear that you are discontinuing these three themes. I have a question for you. Currently, my site is powered by WP 2.7 which i think your theme is compatible. The meaning of discontinuation is it mean there is no updates anymore for the upcoming WP for example WP 2.8?

    I am pretty new in the WP community and have another question for you too… Since the 3 theme (*options, structure and visionary) are not GPL theme licence, so is all your future theme will GPL license? Is it mean open source with GPL and is it free to everyone? Please adviced.

    I would like to wish you a merry christmas and happy new year.

  25. Cupid Blogger — To “discontinue” something means to stop providing or doing something. You can check out the definition of discontinue. Basically, there’ll be no future updates for the themes. They will no longer be available for download.

    I won’t say that all future themes I create will definitely be GPL-licensed, but that is the plan. I will say that the plan is to license future themes here at Theme Hybrid with GPL or GPL-compatible licenses.

    Neither “open source” nor “GPL” imply that something will be free (as in no money). When we talk about freedom in the open-source world, we’re talking about the freedom for the user to do whatever they want to with the code, such as modifying a WordPress theme in any way.

    Whether I will be selling GPL-licensed themes is undetermined at this point.

  26. PegasusTeam

    Structure was my first theme from you, but I think Options is easier to tweak and customize the layout. I’ve been playing around with it the last couple weeks on a project.
    I guess I better knuckle down and dig deeper into Hybrid.

    Thanks Justin

  27. ow too bad to hear that, I love Structure and Options, specially the feature images.

  28. PegasusTeamHybrid is much easier to tweak and customize than Options and Structure.

    rivermaya — There’s always a time to leave a project as is and move on to new things. You can use feature images with my other themes as well.

  29. Well, Justin

    This was a shock initially, but having read around what you are doing I’m glad that you are providing continuing support for those who need it.

    It’s been an interesting year building and rebuilding an Options site, and I’ll continue to use the latest version.

    And I’ll say that it has been an excellent piece of work. Thanks.

    Could I ask one question on the new Hybrid Theme Framework. Are you committed to developing it over a particular period? If I move over, can I rely on it being available for say 2 years. I ask because one thing I would like to do is spend a little less time working “under the hood”, and more time writing. I needed to learn about WordPress, but longer term stability has moved up in my priorities. Perhaps my best way is to wait for say 6 months and take a look to see how the new framework has developed?

    More power to your elbow.


    1. Matt Wardman — I’ll be developing Hybrid for the foreseeable future. Both Options and Structure were continually developed for about a year and would still be under development if I had originally licensed them under the GPL (just to give you an idea of how long I work with a theme).

      Of course, Hybrid was created in a way that better allows me to continue working on it. I can say that it’ll be available in two years, but I can’t say whether I’ll be actively working on it in two years.

      Most of my work will be child themes for Hybrid though. I have at least 10 child themes in mind for it, so it’ll be getting a lot of attention. I’m shooting for about 90% or more of my work to built around it.

  30. Thanks Justin.


  31. I really really like the features gallery in Options and post tabs. I also like the drop down menus, although I noticed the drop downs in Options that worked fine in Firefox didn’t work in IE. I was just in the process of building a new site using Options and now it looks like I ought to switch themes before getting too far into it. Are these options part of Hybrid?

  32. Tom LaForce — No, the Options theme settings aren’t included in Hybrid. There’d be no point in remaking the same theme.

    I don’t understand why you’d want to switch though because of this announcement. It’ll still work with WordPress even though it’s not for download. πŸ˜‰

  33. Great news. I see this as a progress not down. Hope to see more themes to come sooner

  34. alexpyatetsky

    Is there going to be some straight forward explanation on how switch from options to hybrid without risking all sort of corruption etc? (Sorry if this has been asked, i’ve read about 1/2 way through the comments and didn’t see any asking that).



  35. I’m waiting for a magazine style theme from you Justin. Even since you shut down options themes, I had to adjust with a theme that I currently use. I’m a stupid fan of magazine themes. Please come up with a head turner Justin !!

  36. Ayn

  37. I love Options Theme, I am a beginner in WordPress blogging, but I find Options Theme is the best for my sites and

    Thanks Justin for the good work.

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