Meeting Notes | Themes Team and Theme Authors Regarding Requirements Change

Date: 28th July 2021

Purpose: This meeting was called to discuss the proposed requirements changes for themes. 

Meeting Video: WordPress.Tv

Attendees Themes Team:

  1. Ganga Kafle (@kafleg)
  2. Carolina Nymark (@poena)

Attendees Theme Authors:

  1. Shiva Shanker Bhatta
  2. Ashish Shrestha
  3. Theme Ansar
  4. Yam Chhetri 
  5. Ankit Dubey 
  6. Umesh Ghimire 
  7. Prashant 
  8. Quamruz Zaman

Meeting Overview: 

On July 20, the team published a Request for feedback on requirement changes.

In the post, Carolina mentioned that the themes team was going to do a Zoom meeting with theme authors, and asked participants to sign up.

The meeting started with an introduction. We increase the meeting time to 90 minutes. We did not cover all agenda items.

Attendees Questions and Concerns

The attendees were very interested in the future of themes, how to add support for FSEFSE Short for Full Site Editing, a project for the Gutenberg plugin and the editor where a full page layout is created using only blocks. to existing themes, and migrating custom widgets.

  • One of the attendees, Umesh Ghimire asked about making a hybrid theme (PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. + FSE). 
  • Shiva asked how to add full site editing support to existing themes.
    • Carolina replied that this is complex but that you can start adding partial support by adding a theme.json file to enable the Template Editing feature. Carolina added that she personally only recommends this for new themes because it can take time to update the existing CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site..
  • Will existing themes be required to convert to FSE? No.
  • Is there a future date when only FSE themes will be supported in the theme directory? No.

Discussion on proposed Requirements Changes

The themes team wants to know the theme authors’ opinions of the proposed requirements changes.

Most of the theme authors agreed and they didn’t find anything additional to remove from the requirements.

One of the proposals included allowing theme authors to use custom blocks in themes. We discussed how to migrate existing custom widgets to blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. patterns or blocks without breaking the website on the theme switch.

Further exploration and tests are needed to see if we can find a way to allow custom blocks in themes, no conclusion was reached at the current time.

Carolina recommended theme authors to use block patterns and block styles, but also to provide examples of converted widgets that we can test with.

Another proposal came up in the discussions for updating the theme page in the theme directory to make it more like the pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party directory.

During the meeting, we went over a few guidelines one by one:

Single Themes Rule

Only submit one theme at a time.

@kafleg brought up trying to remove the single theme rule. Once theme reviews are automated, there will not be a queue, and then the rule has no purpose.

The participants preferred to keep the rule for now.

AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). ( Requirements 

Theme authors are fine with the current requirement and agree that it’s good to have these features in themes.

License of images

Participants brought up that it is difficult to find images that are GPLGPL GPL is an acronym for GNU Public License. It is the standard license WordPress uses for Open Source licensing The GPL is a ‘copyleft’ license This means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD license and the MIT License are widely used examples. compatible and asked what licenses were allowed and if Unsplash images could be allowed.

@poena mentioned that there will be a new image service on The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. where theme authors can download compatible images.

@kafleg mentioned that if anyone knows of image providers with compatible images, please share the links so that the team can add them to the list of recommended resources.

There was an additional question about images in the demo content. The themes team does not check the images that are used in external content. Theme authors are recommended to discuss possible implications with their own legal team before using and sharing any images that they have purchased or downloaded.

License of Icons 

Theme authors want to know if they can use trademarked icons such as social sharing icons in the theme screenshot.
The recommendation is to avoid them, and if there are take-down requests the theme may need to be temporarily removed until the screenshot is updated.

Updated screenshot requirements

There was a question about if a theme can display a design in the screenshot, that is not possible to create with the theme or with a free downloadable site or starter template.

Carolina replied that the team is loosening the screenshot requirements. That this screenshot in particular was probably missed because it is not possible for a reviewer to test all templates that are offered, especially if plugins need to be installed.

Readme file

There was a question about why the readme file is required and if there needs to be a changelog, or if the changelog can be remote.

-The changelog is not required now, but the plan is to display the readme file content in the theme directory, including the changelog.

Design and Code Copy 

All code and design should be your own or legally yours. Cloning of designs is not acceptable

The theme authors brought up that this requirement is unclear and it is too difficult to know what the themes team considers a design clone.

We discussed different scenarios and agreed that it is difficult to decide when a theme is too similar to another theme and if it brings value to the theme directory.

We talked about how we could make it easier to identify clones and how to report them.

No conclusion was reached on how to improve this requirement.

Anish Shrestha asked how much code theme authors can copy from another theme. We discussed how copying code is allowed as long as the license is respected and credits are included.

Manipulating the theme preview

Theme authors brought up that they were unsure of what this requirement refers to. Because violating this requirement can lead to suspension, it is especially important that the information is easy to understand.

The team will update the wording and add examples. An article about using the theme starter content with the preview will also be published.

Language and translation ready

Some theme authors wanted to remove, and others wanted to keep the translation-ready requirement as mandatory. No change to the requirement is planned.

Theme Check

The current version of the Theme Check plugin only works for parent themes.
Some theme authors were not aware about this limitation in Theme Check and were confused about why it shows more errors in the child themes. 

@kafleg made it clear that the theme check plugin only works for parent themes and not for child themes.

Wrapping up

The themes team wants more trust from theme authors regarding guidelines. The themes team expects quality themes from regular authors. But, authors who submit themes on a regular basis also missed the guidelines. 

We want theme authors to regularly attend meetings, contribute to automation tools (theme check and theme review action), and review themes. 

Carolina brought up that the team needs help with finding ways to remove more requirements. Some requirements are listed because there are limitations in WordPress and the theme directory, and can be removed if those limitations are lifted.

At last, thank you all for attending this zoom call and providing your feedback.

#meeting, #meeting-notes, #themes-team