ThemeCheck.org is a new site that provides a free validation service for WordPress and Joomla themes. Visitors can upload themes and templates and the service will analyze the files and run tests to verify security and code quality. The site gives each theme a quality score along with a list of alerts and warnings.
For example, the Responsive theme, which has been popular on WordPress.org, gets a validation of 95%. Automattic’s Circa theme validates 100%. Critical alerts can bring a theme down to a zero validation score.
The site displays scores for recently checked themes, both free and commercial:
ThemeCheck.org creates a badge for each theme to display its validation score and link back to the report. Theme authors or sites that distribute themes and templates can embed the badges on their websites.
The validation service uses a forked version of the Theme Check plugin to validate themes. This plugin allows WordPress theme developers to make sure their themes are up to the latest theme review standards. It’s the same tool used for automated testing of new themes submitted to the WordPress Themes Directory.
After finding that the service was not able to accurately score WordPress child themes, I spoke with Guillaume Baudhuin, the site’s creator. He responded to my concerns by updating the validation service in the following ways:
- Changed the score calculation algorithm. It is more severe with critical alerts counting for -20% and Warnings counting for -1%.
- Some critical alerts were downgraded to warnings (in checks for screenshots, metadata, etc.)
- Child themes are managed correctly. Some checks no longer apply to child themes.
- Improved management of template overrides
It’s not surprising that the service would have problems with child themes, since it uses a fork of the Theme Check plugin. Unfortunately this plugin doesn’t accurately account for child themes and will throw a bunch of warnings that often do not apply. I’d be curious to know if ThemeCheck.org’s changes regarding child themes could be applied to the original Theme Check plugin.
A Useful Tool for Consumers Shopping for WordPress Themes
The team at ThemeCheck.org seems dedicated to providing the most accurate validations possible, given their attentive response to concerns raised by their users. Scrolling through the recent results you can see that most of the themes are free, but there are a few commercial themes peppered throughout.
While anyone can validate a WordPress theme using the Theme Check plugin, many don’t want the hassle. This service makes it convenient for anyone to perform a validation. If you use it to validate a theme and you don’t want it to store any information about the theme’s score, you can select that option when uploading.
ThemeCheck.org could potentially be a very useful site for consumers who are shopping for WordPress themes, if more commercial themes are added. It empowers non-technical consumers to approach theme developers about the critical warnings discovered through the validation tool. In the future, the team plans to add an option to sort themes by score, i.e. to display all themes that score 100%.
If you have any feedback about the service or want to inspect the code it uses to perform validations, ThemeCheck.org is open source and hosted on github.