OptionTree Plugin Review

option-feat

Derek Herman just released OptionTree, a plugin that makes it easy to set up theme options in WordPress. You can easily add uploaders, colorpickers, radio boxes, text inputs, textareas, etc to a panel- and even more advanced stuff like post, tag and page selectors.

The interface as a whole is really nice- similar to GravityForms for the options set up and the WooThemes options panel in terms of actual design. I haven’t dug into the code too much, but it seems well written and commented.

My only criticism so far is that it would be difficult to include this plugin for a released theme. Most end users wouldn’t be able to set up new options without some programming knowledge, and in that case, they could likely add it to a hardcoded array.

Maybe that’s just a personal gripe. I would love to see a slimmed down version of this plugin that doesn’t have the settings interface so I could include it with PortfolioPress. It’s awesome that Derek put it up on Git so it can be branched and modified easily.

Let me know your comments. You can find the OptionTree plugin here. I also made a quick video demo of it at work:

YouTube Preview Image

4 Responses

  1. Mssbee

    Thanks for the demo and introduction to the plugin. I agree with you, it would be great to be able to to hide the Settings panel when developing a theme.

  2. Thanks for the review Devin. In response to you issue, I created it as a plugin so you could get updates via the WordPress Directory. It’s extremely important that theme developers on ThemeForest, or anywhere else, use the latest version. If you have this included in your theme as a stand-alone framework your users wouldn’t get timely updates and whenever WP changes something it has the potential to break the plugin. It would suck if you used this as a module and it was throwing errors because you didn’t release an updated version with you theme. As well, you’d be responsible for updating it. I’m toying with the idea of there being a file with an array that sets the defaults and hides the settings panel and documentation about the settings panel. If the file is in your themes directory it will hide all of that and make the plugin more like a framework where you don’t have to modify the files.

    As for the issue regarding an extra DB table, it’s necessary to function properly the way it’s built. There are two sets of data. One that is the settings (extra table) and the other that is saved as an array in the wp_options table. Also, adding a table is not a bad thing.

    Anyhow, thanks for the writeup and glad you’re getting some use out of OptionTree.

    1. Thanks for the comments Derek. I agree with your point on forward compatibility. There’s also a good argument for keeping the functionality in a plugin and the presentation layer in a plugin.

      I think having the plugin scan the theme folder for a preset options array is an excellent idea. That would also allow theme authors to roll out updates to the options array in their theme releases- which would also help keep themes compatible and up to date and give authors much more flexibility.

      Again, great work on this! Really appreciate the release.

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