Daniel James is putting his Dark Mode plugin up for adoption.
“I’m stepping back from plugin development (and WordPress contributions) and would like to see someone passionate about it pick it up,” James said.
Dark Mode has 2,000 active installations and is the most popular among a handful of dark or “night mode” plugins in the official directory. In August 2018, James submitted a merge proposal for including Dark Mode in core, but it was shot down the same day it was published. Gary Pendergast said the proposal “seemed premature” and noted that the project was lacking several merge criteria outlined on the Handbook page for feature plugins. He cited a lack of weekly chats, no kickoff and update posts, and no testing from the Flow team, among other concerns.
“I decided recently that because of the direction WordPress is going in with the move towards React with Gutenberg that I should probably focus my efforts elsewhere,” James said.
“That’s mostly to do with the merge proposal getting rejected fairly quickly without any helpful next steps on how to improve it. Plus, with how rapidly Gutenberg is being developed, I’d have to pretty much work in tandem with the Gutenberg team to ensure the Dark Mode plugin styled the UI correctly. That’s spare time I just don’t have.
“I feel like WordPress leadership is another reason. It’s really difficult (I think/feel) to get something like Dark Mode pushed through. It’s very much near the bottom of the priority list, which I get, but sucks a bit when you’re volunteering in spare time of course.” James said the plugin currently requires a few hours per week in support and maintenance.
The popularity of dark modes for applications has taken off after macOS Mojave introduced a dark mode, and has also been spurred on by the news that Apple’s 2020 iPhone lineup will be produced with OLED screens. Many popular applications, such as YouTube, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Google Maps already have a dark mode that either works automatically based on light conditions or can be manually enabled. Chrome also recently added a dark browsing mode for Mac users. Fans of dark mode claim it is easier on the eyes and conserves battery.
Users who tend to gravitate towards dark mode are still a small subset, but the feature is gaining momentum. A dark mode may one day come to WordPress core but it doesn’t seem likely in the near future. Daniel James’ Dark Mode plugin isn’t ready for core, since it doesn’t support the new editor, but he said he hopes the new owner will find the time to take it where it needs to go.
“I’m happy to transfer the plugin to someone else to continue it, as long as they’re well known/respected,” James said. “I won’t just be giving it away for security reasons. It would be great for it to be included in core one day, but at the very least it would be nice for someone who really likes it to just continue it.”