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The WordPress Customizer is a new advancement in WordPress that gives theme developers the opportunity to present a theme options panel that can be consistent with other un-related themes.
In the past, many theme developers were choosing to build complex options panels into their themes. When the site owner switched themes, all the previous options that were contained in their custom theme options panel were forever lost in the visual view, but also orphaned in the database.
Someone on the WordPress team got the bright idea to build a Customizer panel into WordPress that developers could hook into, so that all developers use the same rules. Of course, not all will use the complete feature set the Customizer enables, but the very least, if you switch themes, you'll still keep some level of detail from the previous theme. Nothing is guaranteed, but some things should just match up.
Let's talk about the Customizer, how it acts as a rudimentary staging environment for your site, and what kinds of features are being built into the Customizer by different theme developers for you to use.
We'll look at the Make theme from Theme Foundry and how they have opted in fully to employing the WordPress Customizer as their theme options panel.