A long-awaited update to the official WordPress Themes Directory is in progress. Contributors on the Meta team for WordPress.org are picking up speed on the effort to move the theme repository away from bbPress and into a new plugin, comprised of a custom post type for the repository package and a theme uploader.
Konstantin Obenland posted a project update to inform contributors that both the theme and the plugin that help to power the directory are now open source and available for anyone to view on meta.trac. The plan is to match the new directory design to the WordPress admin themes browser, allowing users to filter themes in a similar way.
As you can see in the screenshots above, much of the same UI from WordPress is being re-purposed for the directory. Users will be able to select from all available filters in order to narrow down results.
Timeline for Launching the New Themes Directory
There is no set timeline for launching the new directory, though some of the larger tasks have already been accomplished. All the necessary API changes are complete, along with the upload process, theme suspension and approval capabilities, and theme version handling.
Obenland identified a list of important tasks that will need to be accomplished before launching the new directory. These items include things like importing existing themes from bbPress, rewriting the theme API and downloads handling to work with WordPress, synchronizing theme review results as a cron job, etc.
Matching the UI to the admin themes browser means that users will have a consistent experience, whether they are searching on WordPress.org or browsing in the WordPress admin. It also speeds up the process by enabling contributors to reuse work that has already been done for the core software.
If you are interested in contributing with the WordPress Meta team, now is an exciting time to jump in. All of the code for the project is public on meta.trac, and you can offer feedback on the Make.WordPress.org/Meta blog.