1. Scott Bolinger

    As soon as the API hits core, you’re gonna see some crazy stuff start to come out. How about a dashboard like Pickle but it works offline as a desktop app? All possible with the API. Can’t wait to see what people come up with.


  2. Brian Meagher

    A beautiful design. I only wish it weren’t so restaurant-centric.
    Kudos to Jason. And thanks, Sarah.


  3. Frankie Jarrett

    This is one of the most exciting projects I’ve seen since front-end editing was all the rage. Pickle’s unapologetic focus on UX is pretty compelling, and honestly, should be a breath of fresh air for WP product engineers.


  4. maikii

    According to the details page (https://pickle.pub/details), it doesn’t seem to be released under the GPL. I won’t be able to recommend it to my clients, and I won’t be able to use it in my provided services. And it may not be legal.


  5. jpelker

    If the project eschews standards, let’s fork it and make it use best practices.

    How hard would it be to borrow this code and turn it into a plugin?


  6. jpelker

    While I don’t fully support the approach that Schuller took with building Pickle, I agree with the basic premise of pushing the boundaries to simplify WordPress for the user. Pickle is inspirational, despite its technical drawbacks. It is a groundbreaking example of a WordPress-powered content editing experience that is perfectly tailored to the frontend design.

    What if there were different modes for using WordPress?

    Meaning, as an author, you’d be limited to a front end writing experience similar to that of Pickle but if you were an admin, you might see the default WordPress admin experience (which you could switch back and forth from)?

    Does anyone see any value in that? Obviously, themes would need further standardization, but that’s not a road we haven’t been down before. I think it could be done and I think it would be awesome for writers to be able to have a more streamlined and pleasurable writing experience, a la Medium.


    • TheGryphon

      I quite like the idea of keeping writers and editors out of most of the admin pages. There are some options that they should be able to control themselves, but some of the admin stuff isn’t that far removed from rocket science as far as the general public is concerned. Having control over who gets to see/do what would be useful for sites that have multiple administrative responsibilities as well.


  7. zu

    @TheGryphon how the admin looks for whom is quiet easily already possible to customize. Use user roles and the help of some plugins. Search for (user role and custom admin or admin customin the WordPress plugin directory.
    Sorry, no detailed information or review handy, but I guess this gets you started.


  8. Samuel "Otto" Wood

    I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with making a specialized system for a specific case, and doing things that would be outside the scope of a more general theme.

    Instead of thinking of it as a “theme”, think of it more along the lines of using WordPress as a sort of platform upon which to build something else. How it’s implemented internally isn’t really the point. It’s all just code, after all. WP as a platform offers several advantages over a more do-it-yourself approach.

    Heck, even I’ve done crazy things with WordPress outside the more traditional scope. If I need to write some quick code to automate some one-time task, and I want to do it in PHP, then I’ll frequently just include wp-load.php so that I can get all the little handy time-saving WP functions I already know how to use… even if what I’m doing is more of a command-line oriented thing. Saves me a bunch of time. It’s obviously not suitable for general use, but for a one-time need, sure, why not? The platform I know lets me develop quickly and easily.

    If you’re building a custom-website-creating-engine, then building it on top of WordPress makes good sense. You get a fully functional post and page system, taxonomies for various forms of categorization, arbitrary key/value data storage mechanisms, a complete user management system, an extension loading mechanism, and loads of helper functions. The fact that he’s implemented this “as-a-theme” is rather secondary. He could have written the same thing entirely from scratch and nobody would bat an eye.

    So, yeah. Looks pretty neat to me.


  9. Brin Wilson

    Wow…now this is exciting/innovative! Really interesting and a great writeup too. Nice ideas at work Jason!


  10. glenitc

    It’s wrong to think of Pickle as a theme. As was mentioned, it’s a SAAS solution but because it’s also available as a self-hosted platform, it’s going to be labeled as either a theme or a plugin. Jason isn’t the first to do this; Studiopress offers New Rainmaker as a SAAS platform. The admin is simplified and very customized, the feature choices are limited and there’s no provision for adding additional plugins. Both are solutions for a specific audience. Splitting Pickle into a theme and a plugin would add additional complexity that goes against the goal he’s after – simplifying the admin UI and setup UX for the average Joe Restauranteur.

    Frankly, I also see a need for these niche-specific solutions. I’ve been working on one myself, and I’ll be buying Pickle to take it apart so I can learn how Jason approached solving the common setup/data entry challenges new users always have questions about.


  11. Jason Cramer

    I like the idea. I actually like it a lot. This notion of being unconcerned with whether or not people know it’s WordPress has been something I felt useful all along. My first WordPress sites eliminated all traces of “wordpress” verbiage too. I feel it’s a bit tacky sometimes. It says “I didn’t build this site from scratch, or from the ground up….I installed something and customized it.”

    I hope modularizing things will come soon. I have wanted to tinker with some public plugins that I’d build, but felt I don’t know enough about the right ways. This inspires me to go about it differently, so maybe I’ll build them anyway.

    As for the inherent problems with the theme security, There’s another reason why this may be less of an issue, which was always another reason I’d remove all WordPress branding from early sites. It’s security through obscurity. If hackers don’t KNOW it’s WordPress, then they aren’t likely to even try. I’ve always tried to obscure things like the wordpress admin login for this very reason. This sounds like it accomplishes much of the same thing. So WordPress updates aren’t needed so much in that case. Granted, they should keep improving the theme so that WP Core updates do get that opportunity to show up and be done… just that it’s not nearly such a pressing issue.

    I feel the pain that the author of this theme feels. The admin side of WP is definitely too cluttered and makes way too many assumptions. It needs the ability to be modularized in order to disable what a site really doesn’t need. Maybe somebody should make an admin plugin that does this, and then try contributing it to core? It would be best to be able to pair down the entire site so that I can show a client that there’s just the main features they need and nothing to distract them or get in the way of just getting right to it….make it easy for them to update their own site so they don’t feel intimidated by the massive plethora of features that they don’t understand.


  12. Justin Tadlock

    Pickle isn’t really a WordPress theme. It’s a full-on solution for running a restaurant. It’s a platform. I don’t see any conflict between it and the “standards” that we normally preach. Users of Pickle wouldn’t be switching themes in the traditional sense. Doing so would be like switching from Magento to WP + WooCommerce for your online shop.

    Jason also isn’t promoting it as a theme. I think it’d be wrong to call it such.

    If I had coded it, I probably would’ve started from the plugins folder in my dev install rather than the themes folder. I think there are a few advantages of doing this, but they probably don’t matter since I didn’t build it.


    • Ryan Hellyer

      That hits the nail on the head ^

      I think people get to stuck in their “you should do things the WP way” mindset, without thinking of the broader picture, in which backwards compatibility and the ability to change themes are often irrelevant.


  13. Nick Haskins

    Niche type solutions like this are definitely going to excel. We took this same exact approach when building https://story.am. The entire “admin” area is a plugin; everything was gutted. Core is untouched. Themes are just themes. Super admins just see a normal WordPress backend so we can still manage it.


  14. sarmenhb

    Am i the only one who thinks this was a bad idea? the idea is great, but i kind of feel like its messy. I hope he ends up building that on top of a framework or something because the long run wont be fun.


  15. content771

    If we were selling hardware, we’d call this an “embedded system.” It’s where we take a computer and use it as part of an instrument’s core. The outer case may only have a few buttons to press. The complexity is hidden from the end user. Functions are relabeled to match their specific niche jargon to reduce the learning curve. WordPress is becoming an embedded system for several reasons.

    1. It allows niche marketing which always is more profitable.

    2. WordPress has come to be synonomous with cheap or free. It’s hard to maintain a living when clients know you have little or no parts cost. Not knowing WordPress is involved allows for higher fees. Admittedly, WordPress has insistence value for some clientel. But they are not willing to pay extra for that. They expect a price reduction.

    3. It allows simplification of the user interface (UI).

    4. The UX can be customized for the expectations and “pain” of the niche market.


  16. Dave Chu

    I’m very glad to see unusual WP configurations – it gives you an idea of what is possible. There are quite enough clone themes out there, thank you very much. :)

    If someone doesn’t follow “the WordPress way”, it doesn’t hurt my feelings any (unless someone’s doing actual harm) – to me, the only downside is for the author, who might take flack for doing things in unusual ways, as well as maybe not being able to upgrade something that doesn’t work with his/her unique scenario.

    I’m a huge WP fan, but I used loads of systems before arriving there – there’s a lot of great stuff out there. And I have my own private collection of WP annoyances, but none have led me completely astray. That Jason went on walkabout and still came back is a big compliment to WP. I might have guessed that he’d have grabbed one of those PHP frameworks.



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