Last week, Emil Uzelac launched a new theme review service targeted at WordPress developers and companies that want their products to adhere to best practices. Just one week after launch, Justin Tadlock, a fellow member of the WordPress.org theme review team and author of the Hybrid Core framework, is joining forces with Uzelac to provide professional reviews to customers.
“I’m interested in seeing where this goes. We (DevPress when I was there) were going to offer this service. It never took off because the business itself didn’t,” Tadlock commented on the original announcement. In the past he has conducted paid reviews privately for commercial theme vendors. Uzelac noticed his interest and pounced on the opportunity to partner with him.
“To quote one of my all time favorite businessman, J.C. Penney: ‘Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together,’” Uzelac said. “Justin and I exchanged a few ideas in my launching interview and that is where I learned from Jeff that he had this idea back in 2011.”
Since this idea has been on Tadlock’s mind for several years, he didn’t hesitate to get involved. “It’s something I pretty much immediately hopped on. We already have a bit of a working relationship as admins for the Theme Review Team. I believe it’s a good fit,” he said.
Based on his experience at ThemeForest and his service on the WordPress.org Theme Review Team, Tadlock is convinced that developers of all experience levels can benefit from professional theme review:
Professional theme authors who want to bring the highest quality theme to market need assurance that their code is solid. There’s nothing worse than spending months building an awesome theme only to have it break for a bunch of users because you missed something minor. Even the most experienced theme authors (myself included) overlook problems that a fresh, second pair of eyes could easily find. We have editors for books, newspapers, and so on for the same reason. Authors, whether they’re writers or theme developers, are going to miss something.
Although themes have always been critical to the success of WordPress, theme review is just now emerging as a service for which one might want to hire a dedicated professional. Tadlock attributes this to the increasing complexity of theme development. “Themes are a lot more complex than they were just 5 years ago, for example. This isn’t just because theme authors are packing in more stuff,” he said.
“Part of it is because basic WordPress theme development has gotten more complex. WordPress has been packing in a lot of new things in recent years, and themes need to account for a variety of possibilities. Just having someone running through unit tests will be a big help.”
Several readers commented on the original announcement to suggest that Uzelac consider offering a certification or badge of some sort for commercial theme authors to display once their themes have passed a professional review. Tadlock is open to the idea but sees it more as a marketing tool for their customers to employ.
“That’s probably a good idea, but I don’t think that’s what really matters,” he said. “I think the focus should be on giving our clients (theme devs) peace of mind. Once we are seen as a legit and well-known service, a badge or something will most likely become a useful marketing tool for theme authors.”
The Theme Review service has already gained traction, and Uzelac reports that he completed his fourth review today. “I’ve taken only what I could handle alone and in time. Now that Justin is in, we will do more,” he said. “In only few days after the initial launch the response and support has been overwhelming. This confirms that our community is in great need of experienced reviewers.”
When it comes to WordPress theme review skills and experience, Uzelac and Tadlock’s forces combined are unparalleled in the WordPress community. Tadlock hopes that together they can expand their efforts to serve more commercial theme providers. “I’d like to see regular business from some of the major theme shops,” he said. “That’s probably the biggest goal I’d shoot for at the moment.”