Most theme authors have their own habits. Most habits will have a positive effect on themes, or least on the time it takes to develop themes. Developers sometimes forget, though, that there are Theme Development Standards everyone should use while coding themes. Some are more obvious than others, but none of them are that hard to stick to.
In the last few months I’ve heard of theme developers making silly mistakes. To name a few:
header.phpinstead of using proper functions,
- including a sidebar directly into
header.phpinstead of using
sidebar.php(via Ryan Duff),
- and hard coding menus in
header.phpinstead of using WordPress menus.
For these mistakes and others popping up, consider this a reminder: there is a Theme Testing Process you can use to test your theme. Yet many themes out there aren’t even close to checking all the boxes on that list. Even on massively popular marketplaces like ThemeForest, there are themes that fail in the first few steps.
The WordPress.org and ThemeForest theme review team are already using the Unit Test to limit the number of poor quality themes out there. The next step is for theme developers follow these coding standards by default. With WordPress improving every single day, it’s time to improve the quality of all the great looking (but poorly coded) themes out there.
So with the new year closing in pretty quick, what are other New Year’s resolutions for theme developers? Just how high are we going to set the bar for WordPress themes in 2012?