Feature Projects: Customize Section Button and Autoload

Today, I’m happy to announce the official 1.0 releaseRelease A release is the distribution of the final version of an application. A software release may be either public or private and generally constitutes the initial or new generation of a new or upgraded application. A release is preceded by the distribution of alpha and then beta versions of the software. of our first two feature projects.

If you haven’t been following along, the team decided to build out some features that many themes build in very different ways. The idea is to bring some standardization for these features for authors, reviewers, and end users in the case of packages with a UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing.. It also means that all theme authors will have access to these tools and not have to worry about building them in-house.

Note: 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. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php. 5.6+ is a requirement for the current packages. This means your theme must be built for WordPress 5.2+ or that you’ll need to gracefully fail if supporting older versions.

Customize Section Button

Screenshot of the customize section button in the WordPress theme customizer.
Screenshot of the Customize Section Button

This project provides a method of adding a link/button in the customizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings.. The primary use case for it will likely be to add an upsell link, but I could see it being used for something like pointing a user to documentation. It’s pretty straightforward to use and works like any other customizer section.

Autoload

The Autoload project is a package for autoloading any classes that we create, such as the above-mentioned Customize Section Button project. It allows you to define namespaces and the directory path(s) of where to find classes.

We view this project as a stepping stone toward getting theme authors to use a proper dependency manager such as Composer and its autoloading feature. We also strongly recommend following the Composer Autoloading Optimization Guide. Seriously, use Composer if you’re ready for it or already using it.

I think we should also view this project as call for the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. developers to implement a proper autoloading feature into WordPress itself. Such a feature would be far more efficient and provide a standard for both theme and 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 WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party authors to follow.

Are these packages required?

This question has come up a few times, so I wanted to go ahead and address it now. The short answer is that, no, they are not currently required.

The long answer is that I don’t know what the team may decide in the future. There may be projects where the team will say, “If you want to implement this feature, use this particular package.” It’d certainly help streamline some of the review process, but there are things to consider other than the review process.

My goal is to get the TRT and theme authors working together to build solutions. If we build good solutions, I’d hope that theme authors would naturally move toward using them because it ultimately saves them time and resources. I still think the question of whether a particular package should be required is premature. Let’s build the solutions together first.

Next projects

The next projects are likely going to be a set of standard theme template hooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same. and something to tackle admin notices. These are a little bigger than the first two projects and will likely need more community involvement. We’ll try to get repos up for them soon so that we can begin discussions.

#open-source, #projects, #trt

Feature Packages Update

A couple of weeks ago, we set forth a theme feature packages proposal. The team got loads of good feedback. As the current lead for the proposal, I was trying to best think how to kick-start such a project. So, I decided to just tackle some low-hanging fruit that would provide a better idea of what this project is about.

The idea is to create “drop-in” packages that theme authors can use to handle some common features. This would help standardize some of the code we’re seeing.

I created two new packages, both of which I had some existing code to pull from. This provided us with a starting point.

Neither of these projects are at their official 1.0.0 stage. I’d like to get there this week or next at the latest. They need a code review and testing. So, this is an open call to check those projects out and leave any feedback.

Autoload Package

For feature packages, theme authors need a way to autoload any 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. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php. classes that we provide. I’d strongly recommend Composer instead of this package.

However, not all theme authors are ready to make that leap yet. If you fall into this camp, we put together a small PSR-4-compliant autoloader. This is a foundational package that will allow you to use any other packages that we create. You could even use it for autoloading your own theme classes if you choose to do so (assuming they follow the PSR-4 autoloading standard for class and folder names).

See the Autoloader repository →

Customize Section Button Package

This is a customizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings. section that allows theme authors to create a link/button to any URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org. The idea behind this was primarily for pro/upsell links from the customizer. However, we kept it generic enough to handle any link and not limit it to only upsells.

See the Customizer Section Button repository →

Proposed Packages

There were a number of proposed ideas in the previous post’s comments and on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. I’m going to list most of them with feedback for further discussion.

Standard Template HooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same.

This is a proposal to fork the original Theme Hook Alliance project or create something similar. The idea is to create a set of standard theme hooks that plugins and child themes can utilize.

Customizer Framework

This is probably thinking too big. We should break this down and look at tackling individual problems. What I mean by this is that we should build custom sections, controls, and/or settings classes that theme authors need as individual projects. One such example is the above “Customize Section Button,” which solves the issue of adding a custom “pro” link to the customizer.

If we have enough smaller packages at some point in the future, it’d be super simple to create a “WPTRT Customize Framework” that simply tells Composer to include all of our individual packages if that was desirable. However, I tend to lean toward themes only including code that they’re using.

Appearance > Theme Page

The idea here is to create a standardized Appearance > ThemeName page in the WordPress admin. My worry here is that this is far too theme-specific to do anything more than an abstract class that calls add_theme_page() and outputs a “template”.

I’d love to hear more about what we could standardize with this.

Breadcrumbs

Not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all.

Breadcrumbs are extremely tough to build and build right. I cringe almost anytime I see a custom breadcrumbs implementation because I see all the inherent flaws. I’ve built my own breadcrumbs system, and it’s quite a beast because it handles 100s of different scenarios.

This is an extremely complex problem to solve and would take a dedicated group of developers to tackle it.

Sliders and Sections

The proposal here, if I’m not mistaken, is for a standard customizer package that allows users to select exists posts, pages, etc. that could then be used in something like a slider or group of sections on the front end.

I think this could work as a package. Probably something along the lines of a repeatable post drop-down.

Mobile Navigation

A couple of different mobile navigation ideas were proposed. I’m not the best person to lead this charge. If there’s someone with the right CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site./JS skills to make a solution that could work as a drop-in for themes, this would be worth exploring.

Color Control with Transparency

A color control for the customizer with an alpha transparency slider. Sounds like a cool idea. I’d actually love to see an implementation of this.

CSS Custom Properties

I didn’t quite grasp what the actual proposal for this package was.

Nav Menu Walker

With this, I’m also not sure what the proposal is other than making sure theme authors test their themes.

#open-source, #projects, #trt