Using gitattributes to make releasing WordPress themes easier

Zuari releases have been few and far apart in the last year. While I work on Zuari often, I cut a release only when I know I’ll have time to fix things in case they break for someone. This has meant that I haven’t paid much thought to the release process. Till now, I would create a copy of the directory, go through my list of files to delete, delete them and create an archive to upload to WordPress.org. As you can see this process is manual and error prone.

While looking at David’s syndication-links repository I saw a .gitattributes file. I had seen it before but never looked into it. Turns out, that among other things, you can use it to define a list of files to ignore when creating a git archive!

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🔖 Thoughts on Themes (archive)

Gutenberg is meant to be the common interaction point for making and customizing your website’s elements — navigation, content, site elements. It is not meant to take agency away from themes. Themes will continue to provide templates, designs and layouts. Blocks only make these things more portable and easier for the user.

Themes make overarching decisions of typography, color and design, this should make it easier for the user to make specific decisions for their website. The customizability that Gutenberg provides must be guided by themes.

🔖 The Good WordPress Theme (archive)

WordPress.org themes and premium WordPress themes differ in scope. The former is narrow and only handles styling and layout, the latter is supposed to be a one-stop-shop for a website. Good premium themes:

  • Solve a specific problem. They don’t try to do everything and instead, decide their limitations based on the use-case they’re solving for
  • Are integrated with plugins that help solve the said problem
  • Keep the users safe from themselves — by helping them take good design and plugin decisions, and itself — by not locking the users in.

By adding extensive customizability Gutenberg seems to be shifting these responsibilities from the theme to the user. Premium themes have long been responsible for moving the WordPress platform forward, the changes brought by Gutenberg might negatively affect this landscape.