46 Comments

  1. Steven Stern

    Or one could just use the “Simple Custom CSS” plugin.

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    • Jeffr0

      What’s proposed would allow users to not need to use most of the CSS Editor plugins out there and would provide a standard way of applying minor style changes.

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    • Nick Halsey

      The author of that plugin is leading development of the feature for core, actually.

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    • Jon Brown

      Having just worked on a site that had 5 Custom CSS plugins installed… 3 of which were actively in use… centralizing this all into a single core feature makes a lot of sense to me.

      For those wondering, 5: 1 built into the theme, 1 from VIsual Composer extension, 1 from JetPack (module enabled), 2 other stand alone custom CSS plugins installed by who knows.

      Personally, I could care less about the customizer front end previewing aspect. I get some people do, but I think the win is from separating CSS editing from PHP editing (the later I’d just as happily see permanently removed) and of building this in as a core feature to get away from the fractured custom CSS experience I mentioned above.

      I think it of a bit like the custom menus getting built in after a bunch of conflicting custom menu plugins became popular.

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    • Ryan Lindsey

      I used that plugin previously, but noticed that it was adding significant load time to my sites, so removed it. That doesn’t mean several seconds, but enough to say “Do I really need this?”

      I really liked the plugin, but felt it better to implement using files and child themes.

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  2. fwolf

    So, when the theme is being switched, all goes to hell? Perfect idea.
    And people keep wondering about where the “us vs. them” comes from. Guess who’s gonna have the “fun” in explaining it all to the users? Definitely not the Core developers ^_^

    cu, w0lf.

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    • Ryan Hellyer

      The problem you just described can be easily solved by simply connecting the CSS changes with the current theme. When it’s changed, the CSS changes would disappear.

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      • fwolf

        The theme switch resetting all settings made with the customizer I quit fumbling around with the customizer. Explaining THAT to the average end user turned out to be a total support nightmare.

        So when its switched, this actually means your CSS changes won’t resurface if you switch back. Sounds like fun. … not.

        Aside of that, I agree with Steven – there is already a nice plugin (or two ..) for this :)

        cu, w0lf.

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        • Matthew Zalewski

          But why would you want your CSS changes to work between themes? You’d have the same issue when using child themes – you lose your CSS changes when switching to another theme.

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        • mark k.

          @matthew, because you want the banner shortcode you use for your “call to action” to be styled with a yellow background instead of white. Many HTML entities are not added by the themes.

          Not sure that it is different in practice from what happens with child themes though.

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        • Jon Brown

          Why? because people customize lots of little things that transcend theme changes, like shortcode call to action buttons, etc…

          BTW, the proposal ties the CSS to a theme, so each theme gets it’s own post object to hold it’s CSS data, but that makes it recoverable/copyable between themes.

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    • Per Søderlind

      You should read https://make.wordpress.org/core/2016/10/12/customize-changesets-technical-design-decisions/. If (hopefully i 4.7) it’s implemented, you can switch themes without loosing settings.

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      • fwolf

        Thanks. That looks quite promising. Always wondered why they never went with that right from the start.

        Yes, I do see the logic in the current behaviour from a programmer’s perspective, but from the UI / UX perspective it always seemed utter crap ..

        An afterthought: Or maybe it really WAS how I always feared all of this came to life: Just some Frontend Developer geeks fiddling and chopping away, not thinking about the rest .. o.O

        cu, w0lf.

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  3. Ryan Hellyer

    This sounds like plugin territory to me.

    I foresee this being just another thing I need to deactivate in core :/

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    • Jeffr0

      Perhaps, but I believe it will be beneficial for a large subset of users and it’s only the first stage of what could become a great alternative to the Theme file editor which many believe is plugin territory.

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  4. Madcore

    Child Themes is much more than only one extra style.css and one extra functions.php. I use them to make and fix css changes and some php functions (i don’t like to use plugins for some reasons) that, like fwolf said, when update the main theme, those changues don’t get lost in the way.

    The Custom CSS on the customizer is a great idea, don’t get me wrong. But for lot of users and WP devs, child themes is mandatory on some cases.

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  5. Andre

    Although I applaud for “trying” to create user friendly functions and features for the end-user, do we seriously need to keep cramming in more into the customizer? I swear they are trying to move the whole admin into the customizer. I’m already getting theme customers confused on the customizer as more and more elements are stuffed in which gets mixed in with my own theme settings.

    I still say that the customizer should have been only for theme settings and options; leave out the admin stuff.

    When it comes to customizing a theme, I let my users know of three options:

    1. Simple Custom CSS for just CSS changes
    2. If they use Jetpack, then they can use its own Custom CSS feature
    3. Child theme

    Based on the demo of the custom css in the post above, working with CSS, especially if you have to use media queries to override, is a very very tight space to work in.

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  6. Tada Burke

    I think a raw dev mode is valid in a controlled env. Rollback/Undo is imperative. With these types of layers, you have to consider the Users time more than anything. Lastly, teaching CSS is a non-option.

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  7. Mark Fayard

    Just not seeing the need here. Is joe public clamoring for a css editor be added to the core? Devs and DIYs aren’t.

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    • Gary Bairead

      If it’s added to core, it’ll make life a lot easier for theme authors who have to deal with providing css tweaks in support tickets. It’ll also make it easier for users.

      The Simple Custom CSS plugin is active on over 300,000 sites. Other custom css plugins are used on a large number of sites.

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      • Norris

        There are around 75 million WordPress sites out there. Adding “custom css” to the core because of 0.4% websites doesn’t sound appealing to me. People who need only small custom CSS tweaks can install a plugin, advanced users use child themes. Why bloat the core ?

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        • Gary Bairead

          50% of the sites you mention are hosted on WordPress.com, which has a paid option for custom css.

          JetPack, which is active on over 1 million sites, has a custom css option.

          A lot of themes also contain an option for adding custom css. These range from the “mega” themes on Themeforest to more simple themes like those by ArrayThemes.

          The reason for ‘bloating’ core is to make things easier for users; core committers and the lead developer for this release have outlined why they want it added on trac, Slack, and this blog post.

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        • Norris

          The fact that Jetpack has 1m installs doesn’t mean that 1m people installed Jetpack due to custom CSS. Same goes for W.com – 50% of the sites, doesn’t mean that they all are paying for Custom CSS.

          And yes – themes provide custom CSS options ( I do too ), and plugins do that as well. Which is why I don’t think that this is a direction the core should be moving. WordPress is a flexible, extendable platform. The purpose of a plugin is to add functionality that some users might require. That sounds like a perfect fit for Custom CSS.

          Using analytics like “1m people want X and Y” to add features to Core can quickly go down a rabbit hole. Have a look at popular plugins – tons of things to add to core – Google Analytics, Regenerate Thumbnails, etc.

          When you’re saying “easier for users” you mean “easier for advanced users”. For people who don’t know what CSS is – this is just another item in the menu they don’t understand.

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      • Gary Bairead

        When you’re saying “easier for users” you mean “easier for advanced users”.

        I mean the exact opposite. This will make it easier for novice users who might be provided with a css snippet to tweak something, like hiding part of the entry meta. It’ll makes it easier for volunteers in the WP.org forums to help users with css tweaks too.

        An advanced user who wants to add more css can use a child theme if they want to.

        The reason for mentioning WP.com, JetPack, and themes with a custom css option, is because you appear to suggest that there’s only a demand from 0.4% of all WordPress sites. That isn’t accurate. It’s difficult to gauge how many sites would use a feature like this.

        One of original purposes of the customizer was to allow users to preview real-time changes to the appearance of their site. Adding the ability to do that for css tweaks seems like it could potentially help a lot of people.

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        • Gary Jones

          you appear to suggest that there’s only a demand from 0.4% of all WordPress sites. That isn’t accurate. It’s difficult to gauge how many sites would use a feature like this.

          It’s certainly nowhere close to the majority.

          From the Philosophy page:

          Design for the Majority

          Many end users of WordPress are non-technically minded. They don’t know what AJAX is, nor do they care about which version of PHP they are using. The average WordPress user simply wants to be able to write without problems or interruption. These are the users that we design the software for as they are ultimately the ones who are going to spend the most time using it for what it was built for.

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  8. Timothy Jacobs

    Great work. Should make things a lot easier for end-users. Very excited for this first step and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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  9. Allon Sacks

    I never understood why people who have more than minimal CSS skills use a text box in a themes settings to add CSS. You lose having a local copy but more importantly you use the convenience of editing in your IDE or even in a simple text editor with some formatting. CSS text boxes are for people who have problem connecting with ftp and usually those people barely know CSS so sure, some basic users with a basic site might benefit from it but in no way should a discussion of this becoming a standard make headlines.

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  10. WDC

    When I work with the CSS editor in WordPress.com I end up copying and pasting the code back and forth. This because the browser search function doesn’t work for me in the field A.F.A.I.K. (It did with an earlier version I.I.R.C.)

    Also having such a small field to scroll is really a pain. It is slower than a dedicated program or text processing program.

    It is nice to be able to just add CSS changes, when on wordpress.com because it adds quite a lot of functionality en customizing to the appearance of a website.

    The put it in Jetpack as plugin option sounds like it could be the better road. This because I do believe core should remain as lean as possible (and this arguably is not user functionality but developer functionality). This is all stuf that will have to be maintained and updated, possibly by a volunteer crew. Which knowing open source will not get any/ little development if not enough people are interested. This could lead to product quality degradation, which could lead to less user, inciting a road to the bottom.

    The argument that makes it easier for a user with no experience? I’d rather see a service that people can hire for an affordable price to do small changes. This would also put food on the table of developers. Explaining something like this can take quite a bit of time, and most often the questions I have seen in the forums, the people knew how to make the changes. Some webhosts have easy file manager access, so that’s copy and paste, with search functionality.

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  11. andymci

    I see people citing “bloat” as a reason to exclude a CSS editor from the customizer. But what’s the actual impact of including it in core?

    My gut reaction is that a simple CSS editor makes WordPress even more useful out of the box, and the performance impact would be negligible.

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  12. Mike

    I’ve used the “Custom CSS” option in Jetpack, as well as two standalone CSS plugins: Simple Custom CSS and SiteOrigin CSS. The SiteOrigin plugin is, by far, the best.

    But in most cases, I back up my CSS manually to a text file that I save offline. That makes sense no matter what online CSS option you use,. It negates any issues you’ll have if you switch themes. If the CSS changes don’t port over to the new theme, then just copy in the ones you want from your saved file.

    To the first-time WordPress user, this addition to the Customizer will make a lot of sense. CSS edits belong in the same place you’re customizing other parts of your theme – and that’s where I’d look for them if I weren’t familiar with the WP dashboard. And they should have live previews.

    Meanwhile, you can back up all your Customizer settings via a great free plugin made by the friendly folks at Beaver Builder. It’s called “Customizer Import / Export” and it adds a backup option to the Customizer itself. It’s easy for both experienced and novice users to understand and implement.

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  13. Davide De Maestri

    That’s not a good idea. These fields are badly stored into db, and you can easily lose them during website migrations. I thinks child should be used as first, and for so stupid-css changes you can use a plugin.

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  14. Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with sketch)

    Putting the feature into the Customizer makes sense, but I’m fairly sure that most of those who would use that feature were not creating child themes. People who create child themes don’t use the Customizer by choice, but I’d never bother with a child theme for a few minor CSS changes. That’s what Simple Custom CSS or the Custom CSS module in Jetpack are for.

    I don’t have user data (and would like to see some, because I always want to see real user data), but I’d bet that the people most likely to take advantage of CSS in the Customizer were far more likely to be using Jetpack’s Custom CSS module, or some kind of plugin to let them adjust CSS without code, than to create a child theme, even a very simple one.

    All of which is to say, the feature idea is interesting, but I don’t think the headline reflects reality.

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  15. Kristin

    Is anyone going to mention that the Customizer frequently doesn’t display correctly? Now we have good options – plugins or child themes. We’ll lose those in favor of a solution that will confuse people and not work as well.

    I use the plugins on most sites and have bits of CSS that are not theme-specific. Other tweaks will be theme related. I can comment those out when I want to change themes but am not ready to lose those theme-specific changes just yet.

    I understand WP.com wants to compete with Squarespace and the like . . . but so much more important work could be happening for small business website builders.

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  16. Gary Jones

    From https://wordpress.org/about/philosophy/:

    Many end users of WordPress are non-technically minded.

    The rule of thumb is that the core should provide features that 80% or more of end users will actually appreciate and use. If the next version of WordPress comes with a feature that the majority of users immediately want to turn off, or think they’ll never use, then we’ve blown it. If we stick to the 80% principle then this should never happen.

    Different people have different needs, and having the sheer number of quality WordPress plugins and themes allows users to customize their installations to their taste.

    It might only be a “rule of thumb”, but I don’t see how a CSS Editor is something that a majority of people would care to use. Where’s the evidence to support this?

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  17. Christian Zumbrunnen

    It’s definitively not something most user will want. Yes, they want to style buttons, headings and other parts of their sites, but they really don’t want to use CSS-code to do it. If they’re advanced enough to install a plugin, they should (like the ones mentioned or even Child Theme Configurator
    It would be enough and much better to have the possibility to add a class to an element and maybe have a customizer control to define color, background-color and the like for the class.

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  18. Allon Sacks

    If this does become a standard then at least the biggest issue with it should be resolved. Revisions :)

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