customizer theme setting guidelines

On the 22nd of April 2015, Justin Tadlock announced on that:

Themes are now required to utilize the Customizer API if the theme has custom theme settings. This means no custom settings screens.

The decision was ultimately made on two fronts (so we are told):

  • Having a consistent experience for users
  • Standardizing the theme review process

As can be seen from the comments on his post this is quite a controversial decision.  One of the issues seems to be that many developers will have to rewrite their themes to remove their theme options page. This is because the statement from Justin says:

Then, 6 months from yesterday, all existing themes submitted to the repository [] fall under this guideline. So, mark your calendars for October 21, 2015

The other issue from reading the comments is that there seems to be a feeling the the Customizer doesn’t have the controls and screen space to be able to provide and decent user interface to the user. It seems like the options will be squashed up against the left hand side and the right hand side of the screen will be used to display the current website page. This is because the “best” feature of the Customizer is that the screen automatically applies the changes made in real time (using JavaScript) without having to save the settings. In this way the user can see if they like the changes they have selected or not.

It will be interesting to see hows this all works out.