Few days ago I published theme called Toivo. It got really good feedback about it but also some disappointments. It was time for another experiment and publish Lite version of it. It’s no secret that some themes are doing pretty well up selling their Lite version in WordPress.org. I was curious why WordPress.org popular list have those themes in there. You know, not just because they are good themes but what else.
By default Theme Preview in WordPress.org is not the prettiest experience in the universe. And I doubt it’ll change anytime soon. First I noticed that many popular themes have messed with front-page.php, home.php or index.php to look a lot better in Theme Preview. I don’t blame them, that seems like a good option to get more downloads and more sails for Pro versions.
I started to building
front-page.php even if I had doubts about it. Chip Bennett have a great article about Home and Front Page templates. When I was almost ready I realized I was in the rabbit hole.
I wanted the .org Preview look like theme’s Front Page Template. That was pretty easy by setting defaults in front-page.php and using some conditional checks explained in Chip’s article. But in the same time you need to sacrifice your Front page displays settings. You just can’t show your latest post in your front page unless you add additional setting in the Customizer.
It didn’t feel right to me. It was bending the default behaviour of WordPress in the wrong way. My finger reached the delete button and puff, there goes pretty Preview out of the window when I deleted front-page.php. I felt sad.
But could I use other defaults?
With those defaults we can have just a little better Previews in WordPress.org.
As explained above there are some differences between setting defaults. Other decisions were really hard to make. In the end I just removed couple of features. In Toivo (Pro) theme you can do these compared to Lite version.
Let me know if you have ideas for better previews in .org or what features would you like to see in Pro versus Lite versions.