Questions for WordPress Theme Developers

Every theme developer should be able to answer most, if not all, of the following questions. Let me know if I’ve missed anything obvious. This was a quick mind dump.

If you plan on hiring a theme developer at your organization, ask some of these questions. They matter.

  1. What are the primary differences between theme frameworks, starter themes, and parent/child themes?
  2. What primary languages make up WordPress themes?
  3. What is template hierarchy?
  4. What are custom post types?
  5. Are custom post types more appropriate in themes or plugins? Why?
  6. What are post formats?
  7. What is the GPL? What are its primary freedoms?
  8. Does the GPL require you to give away your themes at no cost?
  9. What practical implications are there in using GPLv2 versus GPLv3 licensing for a theme?
  10. At a minimum which files are required for a functional theme?
  11. Are themes required to be 100% GPL?
  12. What are template parts?
  13. What is The Loop?
  14. What practical considerations should be taken into account when creating a post editor stylesheet for a theme?
  15. What is RTL? What are two primary ways of RTL’ing a theme?
  16. What’s the best way of implementing scripts and styles in a theme?
  17. What’s the best way of implementing non-standard fonts in a theme?
  18. What is infinite scrolling? Are you in favor of it or not? Why?
  19. Do you prefer px units or rem units? Why?
  20. What is debouncing in JavaScript?
  21. What is throttling in JavaScript?
  22. Explain theme internationalization.
  23. Explain your favorite methods for debugging themes.
  24. What are transients and give an example of how they’d be used in a theme.
  25. What is prefixing? Why is it important?
  26. What are hooks? What is the difference between actions and filters?
  27. What is a theme setup function?
  28. What’s your favorite template tag? Least favorite? Why?
  29. Explain sanitation and validation.
  30. What drawbacks are there to the Customizer-only approach for theme options?
  31. What do you hate most about WordPress themes? How would you fix it or how are you getting around it?
  32. What practical implications should theme developers keep in mind on theme switch?
  33. What performance considerations should be taken into account when developing themes?
  34. What SEO implications should be taken into account when developing themes?
  35. Give an example of what you feel is trivial post meta versus non-trivial post meta.
  36. Should theme screenshots reflect themes at their best or themes immediately post-activation? Why?
  37. What standardized theme hooks would you like to see added into WordPress?
  38. What are page templates?
  39. Explain the differences between how themes treat “home pages” versus “front pages”.
  40. What makes a theme premium? Why?
  41. What one thing do you wish were baked into WordPress that would make themers’ jobs easier to do?
  42. Explain a few differences between postMessage support and refresh within the Customizer.
  43. How do you prefer to deal with featured images in singular versus non-singular views?
  44. Explain theme mods.
  45. Explain a few methods for making themes more accessible.
  46. How would you improve the WordPress theme taxonomy?
  47. Explain how content width is handled by themes.
  48. What’s your favorite theme? Why?
  49. Where’s the first place you look for answers when building themes?
  50. What does it mean when we say that a function is pluggable?

Author: Philip Arthur Moore

CEO at We Cobble. We build digital products for people.™