12 Days of Atmosphere

I want to share and discuss my experience of submitting a theme to WordPress Extend …

I have been creating themes and writing tutorials for a year now, I earn a living writing code for a niche accounting product, to learn how to code themes I started with Artisteer and now WordPress, php and css and this is just a hobby.

I had my first theme accepted to the WordPress directory this month, they are strict on standards, and my theme was at version 1.07 by the time I had it fully released.


The theme I created is based on a 2007 theme that was deprecated and the author was not linked to anywhere, it had codebase64 in it and was broken in “WordPress 3”.

I started with the Twenty Ten theme and these were the hic-cups, I styled the theme and added the code, with a nice admin area, then I started to read about submitting a theme to WordPress.

I went to http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/

I was already registered, so I logged in and there was a menu item “Theme Authors”, there were a few links and I spent a few hours reading up, and before submitting there were some unit tests, and a link to sample data to test with.

The first thing was checking the code, there is a theme check plugin,  I had to set the debug mode in the wp-config.php, activated the plugin, ran the theme check and had a good few errors.

Two calls from samples I had used were deprecated since 2.7, there were suggestions for replacement code, instead of using blog_info(‘template-directory’) use get_template_directory_uri() and a few others.

Then I was getting Index errors these were fixed by if (isset( $input[$id] )), the ‘is set’ command rather than just the if().

I fixed these issues and carried out the unit test with the demo data, submitted the theme and got a rejection.

This was because I had used the twenty ten namespace ‘twentyten’, I changed this uploaded the revision, realised I had missed something uploaded another revision and it was accepted.   

I had a case typo Windows servers allowed mixed case folder name and will see ‘Myfolder’ and ‘myfolder’, other servers were not that kind, I fixed this and uploaded ‘revision 6’, a different reviewer and the live theme failed with another few things.

I had not added the translations for the new captions, I had not set the max-width for the image, I had not pre-fixed my functions, and instead of get_option() they preferred I used register_setting()

This re-work took another day, I found Poedit for the translations, version 1.07 was uploaded and updated.

A free theme, so was it worth the effort, what was in it for me?

The process of submitting meant I had to use new free tools, these went through the code and found and deprecated code I used from other sources.

I gained a better knowledge of WordPress, the ‘people pleasing’ side of me was happy, the theme got more downloads in one day than any of my tutorial downloads.

Themes that are added to the directory get featured in this months releases, this alone sent 400+ visitors to my website in a day, my advice if you are thinking about it then “Just Do It”.

Google Analytics Benchmarking is that the “tasting of the pudding” compared to similar sites, for 12 days:




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