Should Themes Have Plugin Functionality Built-In?

While monitoring twitter today, I noticed a few prolific theme designers agree with a point that Chris Pearson made today.

Now that I’ve built the platform, I see why Thesis can do plugins’ jobs more efficiently than the plugins themselves. There’s no comparison. – pearsonified

I think I understand the reasoning behind the statement. Instead of using a plugin that may have more functionality than is needed, ONLY the functionality that is needed can be built into the theme making more efficient use. However, I’ve always been a fan of the idea that themes should be about good design alongside flexibility while leaving anything that can be handled by a plugin, to a plugin. Sure, a theme that provides all sorts of plugin functionality built-in provides a ton of convenience, but the distinct difference between a plugin and a theme is that when the theme disappears, the plugin and it’s options are still there. The same can not be said for a theme. What’s the difference between putting a wall around me, and building in a bunch of functionality that is typically left to plugins? I don’t see much of a difference. If the theme is built in a way that semi-locks in the user, that theme is doing it wrong. But, I’m not the one with a theme business so perhaps I’m wrong.

At the end of the day, the user has to decide on whether they want convenience, or flexibility.

Should Themes Contain Plugin Functionality Built-In?

  • Some (39%, 32 Votes)
  • No (37%, 30 Votes)
  • Yes (24%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 82

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Who is Jeff Chandler


Jeff Chandler is a WordPress guy in the buckeye state. Contributing writer for WPTavern. Have been writing about WordPress since 2007. Host of the WordPress Weekly Podcast.

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