Proprietary WordPress Themes & Coding - GPL License

GigaBot

Administrator
I don't know how many of you who use WordPress generally know what Proprietary WordPress development is?! Why is it important for you to know it anyway?!

Because many of you will want at least once to buy some Theme or Plugin or will hire a developer about your Web Sites, Projects ...related to WordPress. You can get your self in a specific unpleasant situation where Proprietary coding will be used. It is still rare situations, but you can never know , so you can get stuck in it. You can really get stuck, because there won't be way out of there...mystery..ha:shock: ...

To avoid such situation you must know and be aware of two things:

1. What kind of license your WP extension use.

2. What is Proprietary coding at all.

These two are unseparately connected to each other.

People generally don't pay much attention on license agreement or disclaimer...but it is VERY important. These are one of the most important regulatory obligations on the Internet. In license basically you can read what can you or your service supplier do or what can not.

For WordPress the most important is GPL (General Public License). these are four rules of GPL:

1. The freedom to run the software for any purpose.
2. The freedom to study how the software works and make any desired changes to it.
3. The freedom to redistribute the software.
4. The freedom to distribute copies of modified versions of the software.

WordPress is generally published under GPL. This does not mean that things can not be charged to you, this means that things should be 100% shown and open for you. The only thing that you can not mess with, are Copyrights. But Codes and everything else ...you can.

But there is non-GPL compliant codes and extensions. What is non-GPL compliance ...something that can limit or restricts the four rules above! Now you can make conclusions about non-GPL compliance ,to your self as well. Some very respective People on the Internet consider non-GPL compliance even illegal. Especially when it comes to be used on products like WordPress (Joomla and other free CMS too) which are generally made under GPL.

Proprietary Code is non-GPL compliant.
But that is not the biggest problem, it is also Non-Portable Code!
This is mean that it is either compress or encoded to avoid being read. You can not examine codes, you can not change anything...you don't know what that code is doing at all. That way you might get stuck, being disabled of further continued use of some product. Such theme may have non-portable shortcodes or plugins. If you do much work with them, it is very hard to switch to another plugin or theme, and you can either do all the things again from the scratch or just continue use non-portable extension. 'Cause you can't change anything and WordPress core can not read it properly and include it in desired changes.

What to do and how can I know that it is non-portable code (Proprietary extension)?

Just a little notice, there is some extensions that use so called Split GPL License, it is a slightly modified GPL so it could cover elements such as codes or code libraries not directly tied to WordPress core functions that might be included in it. But in their License Agreement there must be pointed to what is modified. Theme Forest let Split GPL License to be added to their Directory.

Well, use Websites like whatwpthemeisthat.com or wpthemedetector.com, they check quickly what WP theme and Plugins any Website use (if it's installed on WP Platform of course). If it is Proprietary Extension, you'll be noticed about it.

Then, AVOID IT!!!




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Yozora

Moderator
Thanks for that great post @"misharnet" ! As someone who usually ends up heavily modifying themes, even if I don't make them yet (maybe someday), it's still helpful to know. Is there an example you could show of a proprietary theme, by any chance? I'm wondering what it would look like in Firebug.
 

GigaBot

Administrator
Yozora said:
Thanks for that great post @"misharnet" ! As someone who usually ends up heavily modifying themes, even if I don't make them yet (maybe someday), it's still helpful to know. Is there an example you could show of a proprietary theme, by any chance? I'm wondering what it would look like in Firebug.

Firebug can't help you much. It shows HTML, CSS , Javascript output. You are able to change style. With Proprietary Coding, problem is not with those three. The problem is in WordPress codes, core functions ...especially shortcodes, you can not see Loop and Function definitions...

Let's say you are good or very good in PHP, but it won't be of much help if you would have to deal with WordPress Files if you don't know their own coding, because it is not pure PHP it has to be done through WP core functions and definitions. If WordPress didn't show us their own way of coding it would be like Proprietary Codes. We wouldn't know what to do with it, even if know HTML, PHP ...
 

Yozora

Moderator
@"misharnet" Ah, got it! I'm just starting to work with PHP in WordPress, but I'm guessing the first place to look for it in the code would be functions.php?
 

GigaBot

Administrator
Yozora said:
@"misharnet" Ah, got it! I'm just starting to work with PHP in WordPress, but I'm guessing the first place to look for it in the code would be functions.php?
If you want to do it in a developer way, you will look for it in functions.php or other Theme's or Plugin's files. Remember it doesn't have to be Theme it could be Plugin as well or even Plugin or Widget within Theme's files.


misharnet said:
Yozora said:
@"misharnet" Ah, got it! I'm just starting to work with PHP in WordPress, but I'm guessing the first place to look for it in the code would be functions.php?
If you want to do it in a developer way, you will look for it in functions.php or other Theme's or Plugin's files. Remember it doesn't have to be Theme it could be Plugin as well or even Plugin or Widget within Theme's files.

p.s. no need to say, but if you need any assistance in dealing with WordPress core and files, you can always ask me.
 
misharnet said:
Yozora said:
Thanks for that great post @"misharnet" ! As someone who usually ends up heavily modifying themes, even if I don't make them yet (maybe someday), it's still helpful to know. Is there an example you could show of a proprietary theme, by any chance? I'm wondering what it would look like in Firebug.

Firebug can't help you much. It shows HTML, CSS , Javascript output. You are able to change style. With Proprietary Coding, problem is not with those three. The problem is in WordPress codes, core functions ...especially shortcodes, you can not see Loop and Function definitions...

Let's say you are good or very good in PHP, but it won't be of much help if you would have to deal with WordPress Files if you don't know their own coding, because it is not pure PHP it has to be done through WP core functions and definitions. If WordPress didn't show us their own way of coding it would be like Proprietary Codes. We wouldn't know what to do with it, even if know HTML, PHP ...

Firebug will work with the core files. Its what I use to fix errors in PHP. But I find firebug slow and doesn't catch as much as the dev tools in Chrome or firefox.
 

GigaBot

Administrator
strokerace said:
misharnet said:
Yozora said:
Thanks for that great post @"misharnet" ! As someone who usually ends up heavily modifying themes, even if I don't make them yet (maybe someday), it's still helpful to know. Is there an example you could show of a proprietary theme, by any chance? I'm wondering what it would look like in Firebug.

Firebug can't help you much. It shows HTML, CSS , Javascript output. You are able to change style. With Proprietary Coding, problem is not with those three. The problem is in WordPress codes, core functions ...especially shortcodes, you can not see Loop and Function definitions...

Let's say you are good or very good in PHP, but it won't be of much help if you would have to deal with WordPress Files if you don't know their own coding, because it is not pure PHP it has to be done through WP core functions and definitions. If WordPress didn't show us their own way of coding it would be like Proprietary Codes. We wouldn't know what to do with it, even if know HTML, PHP ...

Firebug will work with the core files. Its what I use to fix errors in PHP. But I find firebug slow and doesn't catch as much as the dev tools in Chrome or firefox.

Alright maybe I wasn't too precise about Firebug, but the point is still the same, it is either compressed or encoded and like that can not be read, especially if it's shortcode. It is opposite from Open Source it is Closed code. Only the creators can see it and change it.
 
misharnet said:
strokerace said:
misharnet said:
Yozora said:
Thanks for that great post @"misharnet" ! As someone who usually ends up heavily modifying themes, even if I don't make them yet (maybe someday), it's still helpful to know. Is there an example you could show of a proprietary theme, by any chance? I'm wondering what it would look like in Firebug.

Firebug can't help you much. It shows HTML, CSS , Javascript output. You are able to change style. With Proprietary Coding, problem is not with those three. The problem is in WordPress codes, core functions ...especially shortcodes, you can not see Loop and Function definitions...

Let's say you are good or very good in PHP, but it won't be of much help if you would have to deal with WordPress Files if you don't know their own coding, because it is not pure PHP it has to be done through WP core functions and definitions. If WordPress didn't show us their own way of coding it would be like Proprietary Codes. We wouldn't know what to do with it, even if know HTML, PHP ...

Firebug will work with the core files. Its what I use to fix errors in PHP. But I find firebug slow and doesn't catch as much as the dev tools in Chrome or firefox.

Alright maybe I wasn't too precise about Firebug, but the point is still the same, it is either compressed or encoded and like that can not be read, especially if it's shortcode. It is opposite from Open Source it is Closed code. Only the creators can see it and change it.

Actually no. If you can't see the code, then its been parsed already. Firebug and others only show the code that isn't parsed. So then you would need to go to that file and open it up to read and edit it. Unless its been encoded with Ioncude, then you can only see it from from your online editor.
 

Yozora

Moderator
@"misharnet" Ah, that's right. Good to know.

Also, thanks! I don't need any currently, but if I ever do that would be really helpful!