Support » Requests and Feedback » Themes not to clutter a website with sample posts/pages, media

  • Andreas

    (@westzipfler)


    Hi.

    Testing some themes (including Twenty Twenty Three) with an existing website (local installation, so not accessible from the internet) I found each and every theme
    a) added posts and pages
    b) added images and/or other media
    and
    c) some also messed with my menus

    After my opinion, a theme that is installed on an existing website with content, settings, menus etc. should never mess with those.

    For that reason I suggest to implement a rule that a theme should ask before integrating sample data or may be even have these things in a separate plugin and offer to pull this automatically, but only do so if the user installing the theme agrees.

    • This topic was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Andreas.
Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • After my opinion, a theme that is installed on an existing website with content, settings, menus etc. should never mess with those.

    The Twenty Tweny-Three theme does not add any new content (Post/Page/Media) on activation. Here’s a video of a sandbox I setup to test this: there’s no post, page, or media before and after activating the TT3 theme:

    In fact, no theme installed directly from WordPress.org should add any dummy content, unless you install and activate a companion plugin for that specific theme and import one of its starter sites.

    Can you provide an example of a WordPress.org theme that adds sample data automatically?

    As for menus, settings, and whatnot… these are features that are dependent on the specific theme. A WordPress theme can have only ONE theme active at a time. So if you activate a new theme, the old theme, along with its features and settings are deactivated, and the new theme’s settings and features become active.

    So, by definition, changing themes should set these features and their settings to the defaults defined by the new theme, while the old theme and its features get completely deactivated.

    Again, I like to test out a theme from WordPress.org that added such sample data as you describe (post, pages, media files, etc)… other than the default configuration of the new theme’s settings.

    As for custom or commercial themes that you need to UPLOAD before using, WordPress is an open-source project, and there’s no way to technically control what code users upload to their site and what that code does. (Actually, there can be technical restrictions to prevent this, but whatever controls you put in can as well be easily removed by the custom/commercial theme’s developer… because, again, this is an open-source project with all the code open for anyone to completely change as they wish.)

    Please note that I’m not saying or even implying that what you’re asking for — with respect to menus, features, settings, etc — isn’t desirable or a valid feature request.

    I’m simply explaining that these settings and features (other than the dummy content stuff) are tied to the particular theme. And since only one theme can be active at a time, changing themes necessarily changes these things.

    So, perhaps, an interesting feature request would be a two-stage theme activation process, where you can activate a theme and change its settings to fully configure your site… while the old theme remains active… before committing the new theme to production to replace the old theme.

    WordPress currently doesn’t have this.

    Moderator tobifjellner (Tor-Bjorn Fjellner)

    (@tobifjellner)

    @gappiah

    an interesting feature request would be a two-stage theme activation process, where you can activate a theme and change its settings to fully configure your site… while the old theme remains active… before committing the new theme

    That sounds like an interesting idea.
    In Core Trac (where we follow up on bugs and enhancements for WordPress core) I found at least one ticket about this: https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/22880 Customize Themes without activation

    Obviously, the environment around this has changed enormously over the 10 years since that ticket was added, and it’s not totally clear what the corresponding administration flow would look like, so this ticket may not be near implementation yet. And there may be other tickets out there with various key elements to a solution.

    Moderator tobifjellner (Tor-Bjorn Fjellner)

    (@tobifjellner)

    @westzipfler

    For that reason I suggest to implement a rule that a theme should ask before integrating sample data or may be even have these things in a separate plugin and offer to pull this automatically, but only do so if the user installing the theme agrees.

    For free themes hosted at wordpress.org this is usually the case. The theme contains what is needed to show whatever content you’ve got on the site, but any demo content, etc, would need to be installed using some kind of “companion plugin”.

    Since almost 10 years, themes are not allowed to directly include any “content changing functionality”.

    But WordPress is a very open environment with lots of hooks, filters, and other possibilities. And the community here has no control over what is included with themes (usually commercial ones) that are distributed elsewhere.

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