What’s New ?
Everything has been going quite well these last two months. I have a lot to get to, so let’s jump right into it!
To start, I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Tara and Liam on Hallway Chats. Give the episode a listen if you’d like to hear us talk about WordPress, business, themes, family and work/life balance.
I also published two new pieces on my personal blog concerning WordPress theme design and development: Designing Highly Functional WordPress Themes and 10 Practical Tips to Building Quality WordPress Themes.
I started writing
daily nearly daily and I’m starting to see the fruits of those efforts coming through. One of my goals for 2017 was to simply write more.
Checked that box. ✅
Tabor — A WordPress theme for writing and sharing
If you’re a blogger, writer, content marketer and are looking to grow your audience, I made Tabor for you. I use it myself day-in and day-out, so you can bet it will remain top-of-the-line when it comes to writing and sharing.
Wonder received quite a few updates improving the masonry grid and responsive nature of the theme’s layout. Isotope was migrated to the latest v3 version, which sped the theme up quite a bit and improved it’s filtering capabilities.
I’ve also included support for adding content to the portfolio template pages. It was a popular request, and seems so fitting!
Wonder is one of the oldest themes in the catalogue (just over four years old) and I’m not done with it yet. I have plans coming up early next year for Wonder, including a migration to the latest framework build and baked-in support for the upcoming Portfolio Professional plugin.
York Pro 2.0.8
York Pro received a wide array of updates, mostly migrating the theme to the latest WordPress core technologies and taking advantage of the new and upcoming WordPress features.
There were a couple UX improvements related to the fixed logo (which is no longer fixed) and the sidebar flyout, which is much more streamlined and cleaned up. I’ve also baked-in support for Portfolio Professional, so it works flawlessly right from the start.
York Pro received the new ThemeBeans v1.2.0 framework, which includes custom logo migration, the Merlin WP beta, and wraps all of the framework’s functionality into separate hooks which may be easily disabled from a child theme’s functions.php file.
Over the last two months, Designer received quite a few updates (as per the nature of WooCommerce supported themes). Aside from WooCommerce 3.2+ support, I migrated the custom “back to top” functionality to use jquery.scrollTo, which is super lightweight and affords improved cross-browser capabilities.
You’ll also notice that the parallax scrolling on individual pages has been updated to be much smoother and cleaner. I’m been stepping up my CSS animation and website UX game lately and it’s starting to show.
Designer also now supports the Portfolio Professional plugin’s extended portfolio capabilities, which I’m looking to release early 2018.
Charmed Pro 2.3.4
Lately I’ve been experimenting with “next-gen” lazy-loading, where your content loads lazily, but does not lead to a jarring effect, when content finally loads. Having originally built this new lazy-loading functionality for Liam, an upcoming portfolio theme of mine, I went ahead and migrated Charmed Pro to take advantage of those same techniques.
There is a lot that goes into making a WordPress theme fast. Even more so for portfolio websites, which typically render many high-quality assets per page. Developing a next-gen lazy-loading technique was a must, and so far it’s been well received.
I also updated Charmed Pro for improved cross-browser SVG rendering, new Customizer live-preview partials and a few other Customizer-related UI/X improvements. And as with most themes updated these last two months, Charmed Pro received the latest framework update and Portfolio Professional support.
With this latest update, Spaces is 100% WooCommerce 3.2+ ready. There were a few minor templating issues resolved over the month as WooCommerce pushed updates, though nothing major.
Spaces will likely receive a major update in Spring 2018, to add the new framework build, live-previewing and stylistic updates to bring it up-to-speed with 2018’s style.
Ava is also 100% WooCommerce 3.2+ compatible. And due to popular request, I added a new Site Editor option to enable Prev/Next pagination on portfolio posts. You may also customize those text labels within your child theme, using these new filters.
I’m also proud to announce that Ava now supports WooCommerce Currency Switcher, which lets your visitors switch currencies on your site in real time.
This was also a popular request, which wouldn’t have seen the light of day without your feedback. If you have comments, ideas or general feedback — reply to this email. You have great ideas and I want to hear them.
What’s Upcoming ✨
Finally! The techniques and skills I’m developing with building Liam has been working it’s way throughout the theme catalogue. I can nearly pick out a new feature within each theme that is directly derived from my experience working on Liam. Those are the kind of projects I like working on.
Challenging, yet highly developmental and essential to growth.
We’re looking at a launch date mid December. The holidays are always a busy season, so hopefully it stays on track. I’m excited to get it into your hands.
Want to beta test Liam, reply and let me know!
The brunt of the work for Portfolio Professional is adding support for existing themes in catalogue. I’m still working on support methods so that when Portfolio Professional launches, each theme will work flawlessly with it. You can expect Portfolio Professional to launch early 2018.
In closing, 2017 is coming to a fine close, slingshotting ThemeBeans into 2018 . I’m thrilled about launching Liam, Portfolio Professional, and a new upcoming project I’ve been dabbling in (more on that soon).
Have any questions, ideas, thoughts, theme ideas, or feature requests? I’d love to hear them! You can find me on Twitter.