twitter: @pdclark

Brainstorm Media

  • Clients like:
    • The Wall Street Journal
    • Iomega
    • California Attorney General
  • 7-person web agency specializing in WordPress

Paul Clark

  • WordPress core contributor
  • Developing WordPress sites since 2006 (~2.0.1)
  • 10 plugins on, 20-something on Github
  • Created Styles, a plugin that abstracts porttions of the WordPress Customizer API.
  • Speaker at TEDxAnchorage and WordCamps in LA, Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix.

About the Customizer



  • Live previews
  • Standard interface
    Reduced support because users don't learn a new interface for your theme
  • Core API
    Your theme grows with WordPress
  • Code Reuse
    Benefit from controls shared by core and other developers
  • Extend with plugins


  • Add a section
  • Add a setting
  • Add a control
  • Use the setting value!
  • Required skills:
    • Advanced PHP & CSS
    • Understanding of storing settings in wp_options
  • Alternative: Styles plugin
    • Create color pickers and font pickers with CSS only.

Sections & Controls

Sections & Controls

Add a section

Add a setting

Add a control

Theme Mods vs. Options

Theme Mod

  • Handles array of values for you.
  • Scopes settings to your theme.
  • Same data structure as Option (array), but with convenience function get_theme_mod
  • Think of them as invidivual options, not an array!


  • Single, generic setting.
  • Typically better to use an array.

Option (array)

  • Many settings in one wp_options row.
  • Think of it as an array, not serialized data!
  • Basically the same as theme_mod, but generic.

Data Structure

  • Serialized data is preferred.
  • Don't manually edit serialized data!
    • Unless you *really* know what you're doing
  • Don't think about the serialization!
    • WordPress handles it for you.

Use the data!

Generated CSS


Step 1: Change Transport

Step 2: Write JavaScript

Step 3: Enqueue JavaScript


Core Controls

Moar Controls!


Why use Styles?

Styles Setup: customize.json

Thank You!