Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Theme Preview Plugin

Early in the development of the “themes” support in WordPress, I bugged Ryan Boren for a “preview” feature. Instead, he wrote a Theme Switcher Plugin, which wasn’t what I wanted (but was still a cool thing to have). Now, he’s finally written a Theme Preview Plugin.

The thing is, I had already given up on him and written my own, weeks ago. I just never got around to documenting it and writing it up.


  • Ryan’s has user-level checks (only level 8 or higher can preview), mine doesn’t
  • Mine does error checking to ensure that the theme actually exists
  • Mine allows you to separately specify which theme to pull the CSS from. This is because the themes themselves allow you to specify the style separately from the templates. This is actually somewhat redundant, but I tossed it in for experimentation, in case I wanted to override the stylesheet.

There, now you have a choice. And choice is always good. Ryan, feel free to add my plugin’s biological distinctiveness to your own 😉

Update 2007-07-26: Since the question keeps coming up — this plugin is compatible with any version of WordPress higher than or equal to version 1.5. This includes versions 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2, and it should continue to be compatible with future versions. It’s only about a dozen lines of actual code, it uses standard WordPress API calls (one function and two filters), and it doesn’t interact with the database. It’s vegan-safe, has a low carbon footprint, and uses recycled bits for maximum ecological friendliness. See the comments for examples of using the plugin here on this site.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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