WordPress To Combine Its Long-Neglected Theme Previewer With Starter Content

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Six weeks ago, WordPress 5.6 release lead Helen Hou-Sandí breathed new life into two almost-forgotten features around the WordPress website and platform. The idea was to take the starter content feature, which themes can optionally add for new installs, and apply it to the WordPress.org theme preview system. It was not a new idea. However, it finally had some teeth because a core lead was making it a priority.

“I’m revisiting this in the context of 5.6 and Twenty Twenty-One — could we possibly consider a combination of starter content (the core feature) and the existing theme unit test data (with room for more later)?” wrote Hou-Sandí in a ticket that seemed to be going nowhere after seven years. “I don’t think we’d want to have just starter content, as that should ideally be a much more limited amount of content pieces, but unifying somewhat would help with the overall goal of aligning the demo with what users can actually accomplish on their sites.”

Yesterday, Hou-Sandí formally announced the launch of the project. Currently, the Twenty Twenty-One, Twenty Twenty, and Twenty Seventeen demos display their respective starter content.

Twenty Twenty-One WordPress theme demo/preview screenshot.Block-based starter content in the Twenty Twenty-One theme preview.

The initial goal was to turn the feature on selectively, testing it with a few default themes. This would give the meta team time to iron out any bugs. It would also give the Themes Team time to decide on any additional guidelines considerations before opening it to everyone.

The Themes Team reps do not seem to think there will be any need for new guidelines, so there should not be much to do on their end.

“I’m up for having a discussion


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