Theme Review

VIP Go platform specific

This document is for sites running on VIP Go.

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Overview #

Every line of code committed to VIP Go is reviewed by the VIP Team. This document covers the theme submission and review process, typically for new clients getting set up on VIP Go.

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Preparing for Theme Review #

When you open a ticket to notify us of an upcoming review, please include the following information:

  • Name of Theme:
  • Expected launch date:
  • Short description of theme
  • Brief architectural overview:
  • What plugins does this theme use?
  • Does the code follow WordPress Coding Standards?
  • Have you checked the theme for “Blockers” as listed in our documentation?
  • Is the code GPL compatible, or custom-code written in-house?
  • Who are the main representatives from your team responsible for launch and should be included in communications?

A few helpful tips:

  • It’s very important that you perform your own code review on the theme, checking carefully for any “Blockers” we have listed.
  • VIP does not accept off-the-shelf, commercial themes since they tend to be overloaded with excess functionality and code which are potential security and performance risks. If you have an off-the-shelf theme that is lean, mean, secure, and performs well then let’s talk. If you’re looking for something robust to work from, we recommend selecting from one of the 300+ pre-approved WordPress.com themes. The code for all the free themes are available here.
  • If you’re running a number of sites on a multisite, you’ll want to take the common theme approach – it’s a single theme used across multiple sites. If each site contains some unique functionality you can add that via Child Themes. Learn more about child themes here.
  • We review all plugins you include in your theme. We have reviewed a small, but growing list of plugins, and modified some of them to make them more stable, secure, and performant.

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Theme Review Process #

During VIP Go setup, you receive access to a Github repository. You will want to start setting up your theme and plugins in this repository, and when you are ready for review, notify our team via support ticket.

Once your Theme Review begins, your theme and plugins are reviewed to ensure your code is secure, optimized, and well-architected. It typically takes 10-15 business days for a full theme review, but this can vary depending on complexity of code and the size of review queue.

Important: During this code review window, only WordPress.com VIP team members should merge branches or commit to the master
branch. All fixes and new feature development should occur in new branches, with pull requests for WordPress.com VIP to review, feedback on, and merge. This helps the review go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Here’s the process:

  1. A VIP Engineer will be assigned to your review. We’ll open issues on Github and assign them to you. If you have any questions about the issue itself, you can add comments to the issue in GitHub.
  2. To address each issue, you can branch off master.
  3. When you have a branch that you’re happy addresses the issue, submit that as a Pull Request (or “PR”) for merging into master.
  4. Reference the issue in that PR so that Github picks up on the association.
  5. Assign the PR back to your VIP Engineer.
  6. We’ll review the PRs and so long as there is no additional feedback, we’ll merge and close the issue.
  7. If there is additional feedback, we’ll add that to the PR and assign it back to you. You can update your branch to refine the code, or you can ask us for clarification in a comment on the PR.

If you have additional code (such as new features) while we’re conducting the review, you can continue working in a separate branch, and submit updates as PRs against the master branch. That way, we can review those separately from issue fixes.

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Review Labels #

When we create an issue, we add labels to help you understand the severity of the issue. Here is a list of labels and their meanings:

  • VIP Blocker: Issues that must be addressed before we can launch. E.g. serious security or performance issues.
  • VIP Warning: Issues that should be addressed before we can launch. E.g. Security and performance issues that we strongly suggest are fixed.
  • VIP Notice: Other miscellaneous advice/recommendations that we’d encourage you to look at.

All of these will be assigned to a Github milestone called “Launch” so you can easily track progress. You can read more about VIP Blockers, Warnings, and Notices here.

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Post-Review Process #

Once the initial code review is complete, we’ll switch the GitHub repository to use the VIP Go Github Pull Request workflow.

Ready to get started?

Drop us a note.

No matter where you are in the planning process, we’re happy to help, and we’re actual humans here on the other side of the form. 👋 We’re here to discuss your challenges and plans, evaluate your existing resources or a potential partner, or even make some initial recommendations. And, of course, we’re here to help any time you’re in the market for some robust WordPress awesomeness.