[wp-hackers] Grandchild themes

Nathan Rice ncrice at gmail.com
Tue Jun 7 21:09:04 UTC 2011

If you feel like you have to segregate your mods, doing so is pretty simple
with the CSS @import and PHP include/require methods. You can be quite sure
that we're not going to be overwriting your entire child theme via an
automatic update of any sort.

What we NEVER want to do is be in the business of making those methods the
*standard* mode of modification. In our experience, abstracting the majority
of functionality and standard output into the parent theme, and leaving the
child theme to modify and style that output has been a near perfect balance
for our users. They feel like they're getting the benefits of a solid parent
(Genesis) with the ease of modification that comes with a more traditional

I was convinced that users would have a hard time with the Genesis concept,
but to my surprise, we've evidently stumbled on something that users really
love. My guess is that grandchild themes, or any attempt to synthesize that
concept, would disturb the balance of an otherwise extremely popular

We seriously considered this as a possible COA for Genesis, but decided
against it for the reasons I stated above.

Nathan Rice
WordPress and Web Development
www.nathanrice.net | twitter.com/nathanrice

On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM, Mike Schinkel
<mikeschinkel at newclarity.net>wrote:

> On Jun 7, 2011, at 8:40 AM, Nathan Rice wrote:
> > I can't speak for other companies, but we at StudioPress rarely update
> child
> > themes, and never really recommend you "upgrade" them. Genesis is the
> > framework, and you're never supposed to edit that. But child themes are
> > meant to be edited. Usually, child themes are very simple, mostly just
> > tweaks, and the registration of a few widget areas, etc. There are
> > exceptions, and we're working on a solution for those, but for the most
> > part, you're safe just editing the child theme directly.
> Something to consider: we decided against actively using Genesis because of
> this issue.
> I view it as a best practice not to modify other's packaged code (themes,
> plugins, core, etc..) Further, modifying a child theme means that we can't
> see our isolated changes separate from the shipped child theme.
> Because of these issues we decided we can't use Genesis. Instead we use
> other themes where we can create a child theme of our own.
> Take that as one market research data point. FWIW.
> -Mike
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