Once upon a time in a WordPress far far away, there lived a single individual adding themes to the repository, there were almost no real rules or requirements besides being secure, not a copy of another theme and programmed halfway decently.

Then without warning, the Theme Review team was formed, Guidelines were updated/modified, and members of the WordPress community formed together to take on the daunting task of assuring the themes that go on the repository are up to a certain specification.

The Theme Unit Test to help designers make sure their themes are up to visual compliance was updated.  Plugins like Theme Check, Log Deprecated Notices and Debogger were created to help with making sure themes are created to the best potential they can be.

Those hopeful band of militant code raiders who review every theme on the repository even established their own world on the web, the WPTRT (WordPress Theme Review Team)’s Website even got a couple people looking it over once in awhile.   Weirdly enough, those WPTRT team member’s even reached out the community as a whole for their input!

So? You want to add your theme to the WordPress.org repository?  Well guess what, .. there are requirements, they need to be met.  With the advent of 3.1 the requirements are getting more involved.

It has been discussed amongst the community leads and theme review team that the WPTRT is going to start focusing more towards recommending and even requiring that themes submitted utilize as much of the core API as possible when creating your themes.

This includes utilizing the core Settings API for theme’s options pages as well as the usage of add_theme_page() instead of add_menu_page() or add_submenu_page(), custom_header, custom background and more.    If  WordPress has the code to do it, the WPTRT wants you to use it instead of creating your own.

THIS IS NOT A BAD THING.  The more WordPress API is used, the slicker, faster and better running your code will be.   The more ‘familiar’ WordPress users will be to find the location of what they are looking for.

While a lot of the theme review is recommendations, please read the Theme Review guide thoroughly because there are some serious requirements.   When uploading your theme to the WordPress.org repository you’re only wasting the theme review teams time and yours by not following the guidelines, just sitting in the queue waiting to be rejected because you didn’t use the Theme Unit Test or any of those plugins aforementioned is really a let down.

  1. Read the guidelines of what the Theme Review team (WPTRT) is asking for.
  2. Use the plugins to verify your theme will pass BEFORE uploading your theme to the repository.
  3. Verify your site will look good and pass the Theme Unit Test
  4. C o m m u n i c a t e.  Ask questions on how to if you need to.
  5. Make sure that after the_content() is used that you clear:both; you clear floats. /happens to everyone/
  6. Do *NOT* Upload the same theme but with a different ‘look’ on it.   The WPTRT will not accept themes that have the same programming just different ‘look’.    Pick one to be a parent theme and learn how to create child-themes and make those different looks child-themes instead.

Remember recommendations don’t mean you have to, they just mean you should, while required means the theme “must” be done that way.