My Child Theme Technical Hurdle

As most of you are aware, I ended up choosing to edit a child theme of the Theme Hybrid framework called Hybrid News. Out of the gate, using a child theme that is built on top of a framework certainly has a learning curve. For instance, if I installed a plugin where the directions told me to place a line of code in a certain theme template file, I couldn’t do that in this child theme since it’s primary purpose is to be compiled mostly of CSS without touching the core of the framework which holds the theme together.

Instead, it’s up to me to figure out how to add that plugins code to my child themes functions.php file. Something which requires I as an end user to know about filters, hooks, or other weird developing terms. In this instance, I believe child themes have raised the technical bar. I know if I put in a support query, Justin will be right there to answer it but I feel like a loony for having to rely on support in order to accomplish something which was easy before hand. I know some would argue that functions of a plugin should be added to a custom functions.php anyway to prevent it disappearing if a theme upgrade were to occur.

Other than this hurdle, I don’t have much to complain about. The experience has gone over rather well and it was nice to just edit the CSS of a theme for once without having to edit 5 separate template pages.

So should their be an easier way to customize where and when a plugins output will show up in a theme by implementing an interface of sorts for these plugin functions or should I just buckle down and learn a thing or two regarding functions.php, hooks, filters, and those other funky terms?

6 Comments


  1. I’m working on something right now that I can’t share in detail but you’ve just given me an excellent idea. Thanks Jeff.

    I know that doesn’t help :-)

    I think, honestly, there is a problem with plugins that expect you to put any code anywhere. Can you be more specific about the what you had to add and why? (I’m not offering to help, I just want to know).

    Andrew’s last blog post..WLTC Plugin Competition: WP-Devel

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  2. Definitely learn to create and edit your child theme’s functions.php.
    Justin (Hybrid) and Ian (Themeshaper) have a few great posts on the subject.

    In fact Ian just posted a piece at Themeshaper which is a real eye opener for me as far as writing functions and using action hooks.
    It’s here

    One beauty of both of these frameworks is that they provide you with a lot to hook into.
    Once you start to get the basics – it’s actually pretty fun to do.

    UGh – sorry -I’m obviously having problems posting a link!

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  3. I personaly don’t like plugins that ask you to insert code into your theme. This is why multiple widget areas are always a good thing.

    As far as the theme hooks, filters and function.php goes… I don’t think they were intended for the absolute end user. That’s why they are called Theme Frameworks!

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  4. I reckon that it should be fairly simply to create a plugin that lets you match a hook to a function.

    As long as the theme had sufficient documented hooks…

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  5. I like plugins that either:
    – go where they are supposed to go just by activating them (or via a plugin admin panel)
    – go where you want them to go as a widget

    Plugins that require direct coding are my least favourite but some good ones require this so you live with it. This is where learning a bit of coding or learning to code for a framework becomes a necessity. Its also a nice earner for those that can do it.

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  6. I agree with paul…. im in the middle of learning coding to develop my own plugins. Im not sure I could charge tho… I think more learning is neaded :)

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