Experimental WordPress theme
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In botany, the radicle is the first part of a seedling (a growing plant embryo) to emerge from the seed during the process of germination. The radicle is the embryonic root of the plant, and grows downward in the soil.

In WordPress, it's an experimental MVC style theme that is just crazy enough to work.


This theme was ported over from a production version that wasn't originally build with open-sourcing it in mind. It was made for a specific use case: a simple mobile theme for a WP Multisite install. It also contains some code to enable CDN assets to work correctly while using WP Total Cache.

The odds are very low that you'll be able to use this theme as is without modifications.

Theme Architecture

There are 3 files required by WordPress which must remain in the theme root: style.css, functions.php, and index.php.

  • style.css contains meta data about the theme that WordPress parses. No actual CSS should be included.

  • index.php is left blank and shouldn't be modified.

  • functions.php gets loaded before anything else. Right now this file just acts as a bootstrap to load all required files.

lib/init.php is the next file to run. It performs a few WP theme configurations and sets up our views. See below for more.


WordPress "templates" are always found in the theme root (without folder organization). We've worked around this limitation by hooking into the template_redirect action and bypassing the default template hierarchy.

Our custom template loader is found in lib/init.php. Add additional mappings as needed. Mappings just consist of a conditional tag function and a view file to load if true. Read ViewLoader class for documentation.

WP templates now act as a kind of Controller + View class. WordPress hits these files first, and their purpose is to load Model data and then render to an actual template.

View classes extend from the base View class. To render a template, the view class only needs to implement the data function which returns anything to be passed down to the template.

The class needs to be instantiated and rendered. This isn't done automatically since there's no router.

Example of a View


  class HomeView extends View {
    protected function data() {
      $blogs = get_last_updated_blogs();

      return array('blogs' => $blogs);

  $view = new HomeView();

WP Query

Although this theme bypasses a lot of WordPress default functionality, it still leaves the complex stuff alone.

For the home page, we are doing manual SQL queries since we're displaying posts across all blogs.

However, for the individual blogs, we leave that up to WP_Query. WP_Query automatically queries your database for objects based on the request URL.

It will return posts, a single post, categories, comments, pages, etc. Here's an example of how to access WP_Query for a blog post in a view:


global $wp_query

$post = $wp_query->posts[0]


Under the models directory are models for a Blog, Post, Author, Comment and Thumbnail. In order to get around WordPress Network Install (WPMU) constraints, there's some manual SQL queries are done in these files.

Currently, the models are plain classes that don't inherit from a parent Model class since they don't have much in common right now.


Templates are found in the templates directory. They use a real templating language instead of PHP mixed in with HTML. Twig is used as the templating language. It's basically a PHP port of Jinja which Django uses.

These templates work just like any template/view would in MVC since they only have access to the data passed down to them. There's one big exception to this: all built-in WP functions are available through the wp object to make our lives easier.


All assets (css, js, img) are under assets/. To reference them in a template, use the asset_url function. It takes a relative path to an asset: asset_url('css/app.css'). An md5 hash of the file will be appended in a query parameter for caching purposes.


This theme contains a lot of WPMU specific code. It assumes that there are multiple blogs being used. If you want to use this on a normal single blog setup, any code referencing blogs or blog ids will need to be removed.