Justin Tadlock, founder of Theme Hybrid, is looking for beta testers for a new plugin aimed at theme developers. The plugin is called Theme Designer and allows authors to manage themes in the WordPress backend. It also displays them on the frontend similar to WordPress.com and WordPress.org’s theme pages.
Tadlock has moved beyond using WordPress pages to display and manage themes, “I’m not sure what everyone else is doing, but I’ve been building and tweaking a custom solution for a number of years. I’ve just never packaged it up and made it useful for others,” he said.
Under the hood, it uses a custom post type, taxonomies, custom metadata, and a number of hooks. Theme Designer can pull data from the WordPress.org theme directory API and store it on your site. There’s also a built-in feature set for adding custom meta fields to the edit theme screen.
In addition to managing themes, Tadlock plans to create add-ons and integrate Theme Designer with other plugins. He’s already created an add-on for Easy Digital Downloads and it’s possible he’ll create one for WooCommerce.
Tadlock’s First Commercial Plugin
During the beta testing period, Theme Designer will be free of charge. When the beta is complete, Tadlock will charge for access making it his first major commercial plugin. Theme Designer will come in two flavors, a supported and non-supported version.
The supported version gives customers a developer level membership to Theme Hybrid which is currently $35 a year. The non-supported version contains the plugin only. Both versions will have free lifetime updates.
To participate in the beta testing process, grab the free plugin from GitHub. Pull requests and reporting issues are welcomed. It’s important to note that Theme Designer is only compatible with WordPress 4.4 and is a work in progress so it should not be used on a live site.