[theme-reviewers] Thesis WP Theme

Otto otto at ottodestruct.com
Sat Jul 23 15:29:45 UTC 2011

On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 6:31 PM, Darren Slatten <darrenslatten at gmail.com> wrote:
> Can someone tell me what criteria is used to determine whether a given
> feature/functionality should be handled by a Theme or a Plugin (or a Child
> Theme)?

Everybody has differing opinions, obviously. However, here's how I see it:

Theme - Displays the site. Has options pages that let me change
specific bits of this.

Child theme - Lets me customize how I display the site on a more
detailed level. Alternatively, is a modification to the parent theme
which is more of a "base" for it.

Plugin - Modifies how the core functionality works in some way, or
adds new features to the operation of the site. Generally does not
modify the overall display of the site except to create new output or
new types of output.

Obviously, this is very generalized, but that's the gist of it I think.

Of course, there are special cases. That theme which turns the site
into a ticket management system is quite clever. It's certainly
possible for a theme to implement plugin type functionality, but
that's usually overkill for a general purpose theme. Users should be
able to choose themes based on their looks, and not have functionality
they want tying them to a specific look/feel of a theme. That's why we
have plugins. Plugins can implement functionality without regard to
the display of the site, and themes can implement display without
regard to the actual underlying functionality of the site.


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