The customizer is a powerful tool that allows users to make changes to WordPress themes and preview them live. Because it is native to WordPress, many theme authors are starting to employ the customizer exclusively, instead of creating their own option panels.
Although the customizer is a frontend tool, it slides into view with a generic design that matches the backend of WordPress. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could style the customizer to be a more natural extension of your theme?
Kirki Plugin Lets You Theme the WordPress Customizer and Add Advanced Controls
Kirki is a new free plugin that adds advanced features to the WordPress customizer, including the ability to style it, add your own custom header, and include more advanced custom controls. It’s essentially a framework for the customizer.
While many theme option frameworks add a new panel to the admin, Kirki was designed to do one thing: extend the customizer. If you’re using a theme powered by Kirki, you won’t even know it’s there, because it doesn’t brand itself or add anything additional to the WordPress admin.
Kirki packages more than a dozen different types of fields that you can add to create advanced controls, such as multi-check checkboxes, sliders using the jQuery Slider UI, buttonsets, layout selection, and more.
There are two ways to incorporate the Kirki framework into your creations: You can use it as a plugin or embed it within a WordPress theme you are building. Theming the customizer is easy with just a few lines of code, and the documentation offers a sample array.
If you want to check out a demo of a bunch of Kirki-powered controls in action, you can install the Shoestrap theme, which doesn’t require the plugin. This will give you a feel of how the customizer can be themed and how various controls can be implemented. Full documentation for all of the fields is available on the kirki.org website.
Kirki was created by WordPress developer Aristeides Stathopoulos, author of the Shoestrap theme. He built it to help theme developers reduce the time spent writing custom controls so they can focus on creating beautiful, user-friendly themes.