Framework/Parent/Child theme clarification

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Mark Gray 5 years, 2 months ago.

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    Mark Gray

    Hi, I just want to check that I understand the use of the word child theme here. Is your framework considered to be the parent theme? It seems to me that the created child theme is much more comprehensive than most child themes and the files don’t have direct equivalents in the parent theme.

    My apologies if I am being a bit silly :)

    Cheers, Mark



    There are no silly questions Mark. Only silly people. :P

    It’s actually a great question. You’re correct that the framework in this case is the parent theme. The child theme should be files specific to the theme options and design or other theme specific functionality.

    The way we picture the work flow, after Runway generates a new child theme you would add the design/theme specific code to the child theme directly. Theme options generated with the built in Options Builder are also stored in the child theme. You can add and enable Extensions, these are theme specific so whatever child theme you have active will be associated with the currently activated Extensions. Switching to another child theme will also switch the Extensions. When it’s all done and you’re ready to publish or distribute the theme you would “package” the theme (that’s our term for generating the ZIP file) by clicking the “Download” button in the “Runway > Themes” area. The “Standalone” theme is the one that is best for distributing in most cases. This version of the theme has all of the Runway functionality plus your child theme combined into a single theme. This way you don’t need to instruct users to install Runway first and it is easier to install and use.

    We also see a lot of potential for the child themes, especially for distribution to other developers. If a theme is built with Runway it makes it very easy to customize the permissions and theme options for any custom admin structures. If I were a developer that setup sites for my clients I would prefer the ability to modify the admin options specific to my clients needs using a nice admin interface like Runway rather than having to learn a new code structure and dig through the files of each new theme I purchased. Making a child theme available in addition to the default theme can be a big bonus to these types of users because it makes their job easier and gives the opportunity to customize the interface for a client possible in a way that was not previously possible. At least not possible without a lot of hacking the code and many hours of work. I think this is one area with a lot of potential.

    There are a few things that need improvement in the standalone theme packaging right now. I’ve identified a short list of updates such as stripping the “Child Themes” area from the code, removing some Runway specific menus, Extensions manager needs to be removed, activated Extensions should load automatically and some other features that are unnecessary outside the Parent > Child structure. When it’s finalized the standalone theme will have the appearance of a custom developed theme without any reference to Runway or it’s development structure. We’re not trying to spread our name to your clients. Instead we’re working on some custom branding Extensions now that will let you do the branding from the admin to embed in your themes.

    I hope that helps a little. So much of this is just a concept in my head or new in terms of the typical WordPress structure that I sometimes have trouble explaining it clearly. Hopefully having to do it more often now that Runway is beginning to get discussed will help me to find the right words to best explain these concepts.

    Please let me know if this makes sense, you have other questions or need clarification on anything.


    Mark Gray

    Hi Andy, yes most of it made sense, and what didn’t I am sure will once I get playing some more. I have some more questions but will create another post to ask them.

    Cheers, Mark

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