In light of the WordPress Theme Review team’s recent decision to enforce the use of the native customizer for themes in the official directory, the folks behind the Redux and Kirki frameworks are joining forces to better support developers for the new requirement.
Redux, which is built on the WordPress Settings API, is one of the most widely used options frameworks for themes and plugins, with WordPress.org reporting 90,000+ active installs. It supports a multitude of field types, custom error handling, and custom field and validation types, but is not currently compatible with the Customizer API.
That’s where Kirki is stepping in to offer a framework for advanced controls using the customizer. Kirki, created by Aristeides Stathopoulos, makes it easy to style the customizer to be a more natural extension of your theme and add panels and sections with more than 20 different field types.
Both open source frameworks and their developers will be working together to offer “the most powerful WordPress frameworks under one roof.” They are currently working on making the data output the same as well as creating a converter API for Redux developers. The eventual goal is that Redux will cover both custom settings panels as well as the customizer, while Kirki will be focused purely on the customizer.
Redux lead developer Dovy Paukstys was one of the most vocal opponents of the decision to make the customizer a requirement for WordPress.org theme options. His position is that it limits developers and cannot provide a complete replacement for the Settings API.
“The announcement of April 22, 2015 regarding the requirements for WP.org theme submission bothered me,” Paukstys said. “I had a decision to make; work to make Redux work fully in the customizer, or reduce our community.
“I then remembered the Kirki project and decided to ping Ari. We discussed the possibility of bringing Kirki into the Redux organization and progressing from there.” Kirki is joining Redux as part of the team, but it will be maintained as a separate framework.
“Kirki will always be light, with a smaller footprint,” Paukstys said. “There are no plans to turn Kirki into the Swiss army knife that Redux is. However, Kirki will be modified slightly.”
The Redux and Kirki teams plan to share concepts and development time in order to ensure that they can mirror the data output between the two frameworks.
“I am also in the process of creating the Kirki API, which will allow Redux devs to take their current config and use it with Kirki, rather than Redux,” Paukstys said. This will enable developers who have built themes using Redux to easily port their theme options over to Kirki for compatibility with the customizer.
Eventually, Redux will support both custom options panels using the Settings API and the customizer. In the meantime, Paukstys took the initiative to partner with Kirki to make sure Redux users won’t be hung out to dry with the new WordPress.org requirements.
“Kirki is a great solution for Customizer only themes,” Paukstys said. “There’s room enough on our team for both frameworks. Both serve a unique audience.”
As the WordPress Theme Review team seems firmly set on upholding its controversial decision regarding the customizer, Redux and other frameworks have no other choice but to fall in line.
“This community is too divided,” Paukstys said. “We prefer working together, rather than working apart. We believe greater things will come in the future moving forward together, as a team.”