ThemeReview.co partners Emil Uzelac and Justin Tadlock announced over the weekend that the service is expanding to include plugin reviews. The professional theme review service launched at the beginning of January and has been growing steadily, thanks in part to strategic recommendations from Envato and StudioPress.
Uzelac and Tadlock are both senior reviewers at WordPress.org, and Tadlock is also a prolific plugin developer and co-author of Professional WordPress Plugin Development. The two are currently testing the waters in branching out into plugin reviews and will only be accepting a limited number of customers until they’ve nailed down a definitive pricing structure.
“People have been asking about plugin reviews since day 1,” Tadlock told the Tavern. “It’s something we’ve both been thinking about. Therefore, we decided to do a soft launch of the service. We need to get a few reviews under our belt to standardize our service, so to speak.”
ThemeReview.co will be using WordPress Coding Standards as the basic criteria for plugin reviews. However, plugin architecture is less rigorously regulated than theme code.
“Obviously, there’s no standard set of guidelines like we have with themes,” Tadlock said.
“I don’t think you could create those guidelines. Plugins are so vastly different that there’s no way to know what we’ll be reviewing from one plugin to the next. However, some things we’ve done with theme reviews will carry over into plugins such as using standard WordPress APIs, validating/sanitizing data, and licensing.”
If you’re in the WordPress code quality review business, then plugin developers are a vast market you would be remiss to leave untapped. If you take WordPress.org as an example, themes make up roughly 10% of listings (~3,000) as compared to plugins (~37,000). Outside of WordPress.org’s small selection of extensions, there are thousands more products, both commercial and free.
So far, the theme review aspect of the business has been moderately successful. “We’ve made more than Theme Hybrid, my first foray into a professional WordPress service, did in it’s first few months,” Tadlock said. “However, we’re not quite at that point of where Emil and I could do this full time yet.”
As plugins are the very close cousin of themes, their addition is a natural pivot for the theme review duo. Plugin products have also increasingly become a larger portion of the profits for theme development shops, such as WooThemes and iThemes.
“I’m actually more excited about plugin reviews because it’s a bit like venturing out into the Wild West,” Tadlock said.
While respected plugin developers such as Pippin Williamson have offered contract assistance in helping plugin authors review and improve their work, no business has tackled plugin code reviews as one of its primary services. ThemeReview.co will be the first to attempt to standardize this process. For the time being, the company will provide custom quotes for reviews, based on the amount and complexity of the code.