Error: options page not found!

I would like to talk about a little experience I had working with WordPress’s Settings API, section which I use a lot since I’m a backend developer.

Here’s the thing, we create WordPress themes and we provide a “Theme Options” page for our clients where they can manage some theme features. This page is created with the API I told you above.

One day we get a support ticket from a client where he tell’s us that the Theme Options page can’t be accessed and he gets this error: “Error: options page not found!”

There is a note on WordPress’s codex about this error. It seems that registering a page option with register_setting() might trigger this error if you don’t match the $option_group parameter with the $option_name one. I never encounter this but if the codex says …

But in my case those to parameters were the same, so I’m back to 0.  After digging more, I find out that there is a filter for “whitelist_options” and I’m actually using this filter in this theme like so:

function a_random_function( $whitelist_options ) {
   array_push(
      $whitelist_options['media'],
      array('portfolio_thumbnail_size_w', 'portfolio_thumbnail_size_h', 'portfolio_thumbnail_crop')
   );
}
add_filter('whitelist_options', 'a_random_function');

Here I simply add my custom image size options in the whitelist options but, God damn it, I think I forgot something.

This is a filter function, it gets a variable which should be filtered and it should return it, yeah I forgot to return it. This is the correct way to filter a variable in WordPress:

function a_random_function( $whitelist_options ) {
   array_push(
      $whitelist_options['media'],
      array('portfolio_thumbnail_size_w', 'portfolio_thumbnail_size_h', 'portfolio_thumbnail_crop')
   );

   return $whitelist_options;
}
add_filter('whitelist_options', 'a_random_function');

I got tricked because I am using PHP 5.4 as a development server and it worked like a charm but my client  uses PHP 5.3 and it seems that back then the global variables passed to filters weren’t actually so “global”.

In my opinion this is a poorly named error message, it mislead me in so many wrong directions, since it tells me that the options page is not found I thought this might be a problem with the options page itself or there’s a problem with one of my registered options.

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