David Vongries, developer of the Kirki Customizer Framework plugin, announced he is sunsetting the product and will discontinue development and support. Vongries bought the plugin in 2020 from its original creator, Ari Stathopoulos, and grew its user base from 400K to 600K active installs. He launched Kirki PRO with additional extensions in March 2022.
“When I first acquired Kirki in early 2020, I had big plans for it,” Vongries said. “Although we were able to execute on step one of the 2-step plan we had for the plugin, as time went on, I lost passion for the project mainly due to the direction WordPress core has taken with Gutenberg.
“It’s clear to me now that I was too ambitious in taking on the project.”
Kirki’s customizer framework enabled theme authors to add custom controls and advanced features to the customizer, including the ability to style it, and add a custom header. Although block theme adoption has been a slow process, the death knell for the Customizer rang years ago.
In 2020, Vongries said that exploring how Kirki could potentially extend Gutenberg was one of his goals. Stathopoulos had also discussed the possibility of moving away from the customizer to work with full-site editing and global styles, helping themes that use Kirki transition to global styles. These goals did not materialize but the potential for them is still there.
Vongries is now looking for someone to acquire the plugin but is committed to providing limited support to users in the meantime, including fixing critical bugs and compatibility issues that happen as the result of WordPress core updates.
“The current active install count in the WordPress repository is 600,000, which presents a great opportunity to revamp the plugin and get it in front of actual users,” he said. “I believe that there’s still great potential in Kirki, and I’m looking for someone who shares that vision to take it forward.”
Vongries has put a price tag of $30K on the plugin, which includes all the assets – the website, GitHub, and PRO extensions. No further active development or updates are planned unless Kirki gets acquired by someone who wants to carry it forward.