What is the Deal with the WordPress Theme Viewer?

By Daniel Scocco

I am a big fan of WordPress, there is no denying on that. When other companies and platforms attack it, I am among the first to defend it.

That being said I also believe that we should be impartial with our opinions, and there is one issue that is bugging me for some time already: the WordPress Theme Viewer.

wordpressthemeviewer.png

The theme viewer is essentially a place where WordPress theme designers can upload their themes, and users can download themes. It is a feature-rich website, so you can filter your research with several parameters, leave comments, rate themes and so on.

I used to love this website, and would visit it almost daily. Somewhere near the end of 2007, however, they just disabled the upload feature, so no new themes could enter the system. Then they posted a note on the website, on December 11th. Here is a quote:

Just wanted to do a quick update for those wondering when you’ll be able to add new themes or update existing ones here in the directory. We’ve been working very hard on a new Subversion-backed database for themes that will allow you to upload themes as you did before, as a plain ZIP file, and we’re transparently check it into SVN so changes can be tracked just like we do for WordPress development.

Cool, I thought, a revamped website is coming with new and better features. So I waited. Then I waited some more, but nothing happened. We are already in April and the Theme Viewer is still closed to new themes, and that note is still there.

I know that the WordPress team is probably working hard to put the new site live as soon as possible, but perhaps it would be the case to get more people involved? For one thing, I tried to use the contact form on the current website, without much of a success. I sent more than 3 emails, asking updates and related questions, and I never got a reply back.

Do you know what is going on there or when the new website should go live?

P.S. I am not only pointing a problem, I am also willing to help. If there was a donation box over the website I would be glad to contribute to the cause. If you know any other way where we can help, just let us know.



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14 Responses to “What is the Deal with the WordPress Theme Viewer?”

  • Leland

    @Nathan: What do you mean starting a competing theme viewer is pointless? The official one has been broken for a long time. Noone can sign up for an account or add new themes, and the test run is broken. Just search “wordpress themes” in Google and you’ll see all the other “pointless” competing sites, which offer functionality in ways themes.wordpress.net isn’t doing right now.

  • Michael

    @Daniel Sococco and Dazzlin Donna I’m having no problems with Test Run, I’ve clicked on Test Run for several different themes and it is working great.

    I really would love to see what they have been working on when it comes to the theme viewer, there are so many web designers that spend so much time making all of these great themes and the theme viewer has always been one of the best places to look for really good themes, but since they quit letting people upload new ones or update old ones it has gone down hill pretty quick.

  • Nathan Rice

    alrighty then, Matt.

  • Matt

    @Nathan Rice: Read my comment again and you’ll see I never mentioned starting my own theme viewer. Also, if you use a simple little tool most of us like to call ‘Google’ you can see there are other non-official theme viewers with more hits, higher rankings, and more users than what you call the ‘official’ theme viewer.

  • Genuine

    The theme viewer doesn’t even work for the themes already on the site and it’s driving me crazy. Argh!

  • Adam Pieniazek

    What I don’t get is why not just leave the old site up and functioning while they working on getting a new and improved site up? Why break the site and then tell us to wait?

  • Nathan Rice

    Matt,
    I really wouldn’t attempt to start your own theme viewer. Trying to compete with the official one is pointless.

  • Matt

    I used to enjoy checking out the themes there months back. But then everything went to dirt and searching has been screwed up for months.

    Because of that I no longer even bother with the theme viewer and instead use wpthemesfree and other 3rd party sites like that.

    Maybe you should create a site for your daily network. Something like “DailyWordpressThemes”

  • Nathan Rice

    Daniel,
    Yep, and I’m not saying it’s not frustrating, especially for us theme designers! Many of us have severely outdated themes on the Theme Viewer, some of which have bugs. Users are still downloading these themes, and then running to the theme designers to fix the bugs!

    If we simply had access to update out themes, I’d be happy. But alas, no such luck.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Nathan, if I am not wrong 8 months passed since they closed the website to new themes and designers, right?

  • Nathan Rice

    Daniel,

    Here’s the deal …

    I wrote a post about this on December 10th
    http://www.nathanrice.net/blog/wordpress-theme-viewer-still-crippled/
    and Matt responded via the Theme Viewer blog the next day.

    I’m hesitant to be too critical at this time though, because some of the features he mentioned at WordCamp for the theme viewer seem very promising.

    Evidently, they are wanting to replicate the WordPress plugin directory, but for themes. And to me, that sounds like a great idea. But it’s gonna take a lot of hard work.

    Some of the points I made in my original article are still valid, but I’m pretty sure they’re working on it as hard as they can. I guess we just have to continue to be patient.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Yeah the Test Run is disabled for everyone apparently.

  • DazzlinDonna

    Not only is that functionality disabled, but (for me, at least), so is the “Test Run” feature. Every time I click on Test Run to preview a theme live, all I get is the ugly blue default theme. Now, maybe that’s a problem on my end, but I can’t imagine why. The Test Run feature used to work for me.

    It’s a real shame that they’ve mangled this so badly.

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