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WordPress® All-in-One For Dummies® by Michael Torbert, Andrea Rennick, Kevin Palmer, Cory Miller, Lisa Sabin-Wilson

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Exploring Theme Options

One of the key features of an advanced theme is a Theme Options page. A Theme Options page allows the theme user to supply information to the theme without having to modify the theme files. Although a single-use theme could have this information hard-coded into the theme, it's an inelegant solution. If the theme is used more than once or is managed by a non-developer, having an easy-to-change setting on the back end allows changes to be made quickly and easily.

Use a Theme Options page when the information is specific to the user and not the theme design. Web analytics code (such as visitor tracking JavaScript from Google Analytics or Woopra) is a good example of this user-specific information. Because hundreds of analytics providers exist, most analytics providers require the JavaScript code to be customized for the specific site. The theme could have a number of different header and footer files, providing easy-to-use theme options. Adding JavaScript code to the header and the footer rather than requiring theme file modifications can make using your theme much easier.

Advanced uses of a Theme Options page vary widely and include design editors, color pickers, font options, and settings to modify the theme layout (switch a sidebar from one side of the theme to another, for example). The options offered depend on the project and the design. Early in the design process, consider what a user may want to modify.

Understanding theme options basics

Before jumping ...

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