I am Justin Tadlock. Ask me anything

You use FeedBurner though, which offers a subscribe by email feature.

Ah, alright. The titles are just too similar then.

Would love to read or even contribute to a new book which could cover WP-API and the Customizer in depth. Maybe there’s a need for self-published eBooks or books focusing on specific topics alone, what do you think?

I’d forgotten I have a FeedBurner.

As for e-books, I think you’re right. There’s a huge market there that hasn’t really been explored. It’s something I’ve considered doing myself for a a number of reasons:

  • Easier to write than a full-fledged book.
  • Keep nearly 100% of the profits.
  • Less “red tape” than going through a publisher.
  • They’d be more useful than larger books that cover many topics.

Hey! It was fun catching up on all the questions. Here’s a rambling one.

In general I think page builders are a nightmare. But I build products for a niche where I can increasingly see the end-user benefit of some kind of layout management, at least for the homepage. With WordPress, it seems my choices are to a) dump some kind of markup hell (like shortcodes) into a post content blob or b) pull in bits and pieces of content scattered around the database which won’t be exposed very well to searching.

WordPress themes do blogs, articles, excerpts and archives really well. But every time I have to implement the kind of content presentation you find in things like this and this, I struggle to find a good place to store the content and define the layout.

How do you approach complex page layouts with the WordPress theme system? If you could make the ideal page builder or layout manager for WordPress, how would it work? Where would you store content snippets and layout data? Is it all a pipe dream?

I realize this a potentially very large question to address. But I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on how to deal with this problem, particularly in the products space where a solution needs to fit well with the ecosystem now and in the future.

Here’s a few easier ones:

  1. Do you think the WordPress.org theme repository might allow theme demos to show something other than the blog index some day?

  2. You’ve been a leading voice in the theming world. Do you have any particular theme developers you admire? Or any particular themes that really impress you? (and, of course, why)

  3. You said you’d like to see the admin panel simplified. I wholeheartedly agree. But what do you think the prospects are for that? It always seems hard to remove things.

  4. I’ve totally lost track of the content type standards project. How’s that going? Are you happy with the progress?

I’ve probably used up my fair share of questions now!

This is a tough question. Having never built such a system other than for my own custom pages (not user friendly), I’m just going to roll with an idea.

The first step when creating a page would be to choose a type of page layout. You could page templates for this. Or, have a custom system. The “default” layout would show the normal post screen. Else, I’d have a custom screen with different boxes. These boxes can be moved around based on the layout and so on. Each box would represent a section of content on the page (text, videos, galleries, etc.). The UI would need to be hammered out; this is just some ideas on what the user might see.

Behind the scenes is what ultimately matters for dev. Everything would be saved as an array as metadata. The ordering, content, etc. Obviously, that’s not portable. So, on post save, I’d auto-build everything with HTML (based on the metadata) and save it in the post content field. The metadata is simply for the page builder. What’s output on the front end is the regular ol’ page content.


What do you love most about gardening?

I hope. I don’t see that as a reality any time soon. I’d almost be willing to say that they’d never allow self-hosted demos based on my experience. For it to really work, WordPress.org would need to host the demos.

I’d love to see a system where theme authors could do that plus choose the plugins they want active.

I pretty much learned everything from Tung Do about theming when he ran WP Designer as Small Potato. We’ve since become great friends. He’s the best theme designer in the WordPress world to me. I mostly admire him because he’s not afraid to take chances with design.

Ian Stewart is next on my list. We’ve always had a lot of the same philosophies, but I learned tons from him. I owe a great debt to him. I don’t think I would’ve ever launched Theme Hybrid without his ideas and feedback way back in the day. Also, he designed my original logo when I first launched.

I’m not sure it’s likely to happen. I think to realistically do it, core WP needs a cycle or two where the focus is not on new features. We need to refine our current features and take a hard look at what’s really needed.

I really started it in hopes that I wouldn’t have to do much work on it. My hope was that the community just gathered around and came up with solutions since so many had been asking for standards. Right now, we have 200+ people who have starred the repo but only a tiny fraction contributing.

If anyone read my original post, I actually said I wasn’t a fan of the idea: http://justintadlock.com/archives/2014/07/25/custom-post-type-standards

I think the solution to the problem exists in the solutions that we build. If you build a new e-commerce solution, you better make sure WooCommerce users can port their data over. WooCommerce is the solution to e-commerce. Any new plugins already have standards because they better be following Woo’s or have a reliable way to port the data over.

Fresh tomatoes. It’s next to impossible to find a good tomato at the supermarket. Tomatoes should actually taste good. I feel for folks who have never had one straight from the garden. They probably don’t even know what a tomato is supposed to taste like.


Hello, until when can we ask questions? I am on a completely different timezone, so please let us know. Thanks.

For beginners, what parent theme do you think is the most suitable to create a child theme for?

Hi Justin,

Glad to see you here.
Can you please recommend me a plugin or theme for video focused site?


Thanks @justintadlock. I hadn’t thought about rendering the layout on post save. That sounds like a good idea and would ensure the content was discoverable via default searching.

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Whats your favorite book(s)?
(Not your own)

If you write your own book, and sell them (you are the only author)

What would you do if someone share the book for free (in digital format).

Theme hybrid 5 years from now?
(And hybrid core)

36 hours have passed which means no more new questions after this!

You should pick a theme that does 90% or more what you already want it to do. At that point, you have the parent them I’d recommend starting with.

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It’d really depend on some more specifics. I have a theme, Socially Awkward, that’s meant for social sharing (videos, music, photos, etc.) that I think would work for some video-focused sites: http://themehybrid.com/themes/socially-awkward

Outside of that, Press75 is the first thing that comes to mind: https://press75.com/

  • Empire Falls
  • White Teeth
  • Atlas Shrugged

I don’t worry about things like that. People have been stealing since about the dawn of time. I believe the majority of people are good and will not steal.

If I had one wish, it’d be that I could open Theme Hybrid up to be completely $free. It’d be nice to have my finances covered in other ways and to keep things at zero cost for users.