Nearly three years ago I've released my first WordPress theme, called Gitsta, inspired by the GitHub blog. To be honest it got more attention than I'd have thought - more than 600 active installations are pretty okay I guess.

But let me be honest here: I just can't stand the WordPress environment. It drives me completely nuts. I've written a post about why I actually dislike WordPress, but theme development for the official theme register is just a pain in the ass.

Before someone now rages and shouts at me for criticizing the (probably worlds biggest) theme archive let me explain that.

Everything depends on your reviewer

Everytime I submitted a theme update the outcome was dependent on the reviewer. Things which were absolutely no problem in one version became suddenly the reason for getting rejected in a latter version (e.g. shortcodes). I do understand that requirements do change over time - but they should never be dependend on who's reviewing. Everytime I submitted a new update it was a bit like playing Roulette - you may win, or you don't... It's not that easy to influence.

Rules from hell

Another thing which drives me completely insane are the weird rules and requirements you need to match to get approved. Some examples:

  • Loading jQuery over CDN? Nope. Even though there are some good reasons to do that.
  • You need to define a variable named $content_width. I still don't know what this thing does - and I don't want to know that.
  • No minified files.
  • You need to prefix your variables. Probably because of fear of breaking some global bullshit.
  • One of the funniest things: since my theme suggested markdown usage it includes a small markdown help guide. Theme got rejected because the "link" syntax linked to my blog - and you're not allowed to link to authors website more than once.

I (gladly) haven't submitted that many versions - but I'm sure there are a lot more useless rules which makes you facepalm really hard.

What makes me deciding in not maintaining my theme anymore was the last review. Five months ago I submitted a very small change, which changed the theme to load jQuery via CDN. It got rejected, but as always I just reverted my change and submitted the theme again... and didn't get an answer for five months.

All of a sudden I've got an entire new list of requirements I need to fulfil. All I've done was reverted my CDN changes - and then this... And you know what? Screw that.


I like my theme and don't want it to let it die. But one thing's for sure: I will not support nor maintain the of it. With that I can get rid of all these weird rules and implement a clean and neat piece of software. It surely will take some time, but it will be way better than the current version of it.