Back to the Future

- 213 Comments

bttf

Aside from sharing a name with one of the greatest movies ever, this post is not about the venerable Marty McFly or Doc Brown but rather the future of X and the Themeco ecosystem.

But First, The Past

My foray into the WordPress ecosystem was more out of necessity. It was around 2007, and I needed a solution for building sites for my internet marketing business. After breaking my teeth on FrontPage and Dreamweaver (yes, FrontPage), having a CMS that could take care of the heavy lifting was like seeing a mirage in the desert that turned out to be real.

Keep in mind, this was the WordPress of 2007. But the alternative for me at the time was FrontPage. From Microsoft.

As I learned more about the WordPress ecosystem, I was fascinated. Here was this powerful technology that anyone could take, build upon, and even potentially use to create a business. At the time I was only concerned with using this tool. The thought hadn’t even entered my mind for anything beyond that.

But then something happened. A sudden detour in my business that I didn’t see coming. Quickly, I found myself in uncharted waters, scary waters, and my eyes opened to new opportunities. Looking back, while that season was extremely challenging and not something I would have asked to go through, I can honestly say that Themeco would not have come into existence had that sovereignly appointed season of life not taken place. But that is a story for another day :)

Fast forward a few years, and there I was sitting with a couple of people telling them about this marketplace called ThemeForest and how someone was selling 100 units per week of their theme! Why couldn’t we sell 100 units of a theme? What if we could sell 150 or 200?!

Fast forward another couple years, and the decision had been made. We were going to make a theme.

Now for those of you who are in business for yourself, you’ll know this next feeling quite well. I remember many a meeting and discussion sitting around talking about ideas, hopes, and dreams for this business. Ideas are great, but so is hanging out with friends or going to see a movie. There is something about putting work into something where nothing is guaranteed in return that is both exhilarating and terrifying.

What if WordPress goes away? What if we put all this time and money into something that doesn’t sell? Do we really know what we’re doing? This and a thousand similar thoughts were ever present in my mind, but on we went.

(There is much more to this story and for the sake and purpose of this piece I won’t go into those details today. If you’d ever like to learn more about that time and what I learned from it, reach out to me anytime. It’s a story I love to share).

Fast forward to 2013, and X finally hit the market. I remember very well sitting in my office the night X was finally approved on ThemeForest. It had been an especially trying final few months as we made the push to get it launched, and as I got that email saying “Your product has been approved,” I was nearly in tears.

The story since then has been an incredible whirlwind. We have expanded our team from just a couple to nearly 30. We have answered over 100,000 support threads. We have released 145 updates, 25 Extensions, hosted our first Themeco Summit (the second is in the works) and much, much more.

This represents just a portion of our past – a past for which I am very thankful.

The Future

Let me start off by saying that our goal for the future is rather simple. Ambitious, but simple. WordPress has a goal to earn 100% of the web building market, and we want to earn 100% of the theme market.

Now as we all know statements in and of themselves do not create reality, but I believe it is in the spirit of a goal like this that we can do our best work.

Big challenges need big ideas. Those ideas need to be thought through from every angle, and they need a combination of cynical reality mixed in with lofty “What ifs.”

For our part, we want to be about the business of continuing to innovate – not just for innovations sake – but to help our customers solve problems and to push our products and platform forward. This is why thousands of people turn to X (many for the first time) each and every month.

While some theme companies simply wait for others to spearhead key advancements then copy and call it a day, we would rather lead from the front and not rest on our popularity. Big challenges not only need big ideas, they need thoughtful consideration, good execution, and then observing the results and adapting as needed.

Chicago

In April, our leadership team got together to put pen to paper about the next wave of feature and product releases for Themeco. For several days we reviewed notes, read feature requests, analyzed bottlenecks, and planned for the future.

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As we narrowed down the scope of projects we felt would best serve our current and future customers, we settled on two paths: the easy way and what I’ll call the it’s so hard we’re not even sure it’s possible but if we can pull it off it will be incredible way.

While challenging, this speaks very much to the heart of our company and what we hope to be known for. We are not a shortcuts company. We take a very long term approach to all decisions and want to earn your future business.

Sure there are things we could quickly pull together that would give some cool bells and whistles, but how does that work out in the long run? What future things can we not do or not do to the degree we’d like to since we took the path of least resistance? How do these decisions affect performance, compatibility with other tools, or what people expect when using WordPress? Do these solutions actually help our customers make more, sell more, or do more?

The outcome of that meeting was essentially the next year of development projects for X and Cornerstone with the past six months being devoted to creating what we planned. We’re excited to share these upcoming features with you today!

The Tech

First, for those interested in some of the new underlying technology for X and Cornerstone, we wanted to share about how all these new features are powered and what went into the decision making process. With something this ambitious, there are major challenges to overcome starting with perhaps the most important, state management.

Traditionally, when navigating between pages, the web server will render the page and determine it’s state. When working with apps that need to work at lightning speed, it’s hard to justify having the server do all that work when it can be done in the browser.

The new challenge this creates is managing application state in the browser. When working with a suite of features that span multiple contexts and data sources, all without refreshing the page, state management is critical. You need to keep your data clean, while updating the page markup and URL in accordance with user interactions. The original page builder solved this with a combination of Backbone + Marionette. This served us well, but we felt it lacked the ability to scale into running multiple separate features in a single application. Enter Ember.js.

Ember allows us to keep all app markup and presentation logic inside the browser, only communicating with the server to fetch or update data. It’s also the brain that remembers what URL you are on and what data should be used for that screen. There are advantages outside of state management as well. Before the app can run, hundreds of files and thousands of lines of code need to be built into a single application script. Ember helps us keep this environment organized and modular.

This and many more advancements including Flexbox are all part of the upcoming technology powering X and Cornerstone.

Theme Options

The foundation of X, theme options are responsible for all the global aspects of your site chrome. As we reviewed our current theme options, we found several shortcomings. While we were one of the first themes to pioneer usage of all theme options in the WordPress Customizer allowing for 100% front-end editing, its architecture was holding us back in many ways.

We wanted to flatten the world between global and on page. Trying to shoehorn the Customizer into that relationship was not going to work, so we set out to re-build a completely new theme options panel that will be debuted in our 5.0 release.

x-theme-options

Borrowing conventions from the current layout, you’ll notice on first pass that nothing appears to be different. This is by design however the inner workings of how theme options work are now much more streamlined and built for the future.

For starters, we wanted to lean heavily into being able to search for theme options. After all, who likes to be endlessly looking for controls when you can instantly search and have it presented to you? You’ll really enjoy this new feature!

Next, we felt it was important to incorporate many of the controls you were familiar with in Cornerstone. Things like our color picker with alpha transparency to many other UX conventions you are used to will make the on-boarding a predictable experience.

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Finally, you’ll notice our new friend “The Bar” on the left. This trusty companion will help you jump back and forth between global options and our builders in a way that is wonderfully effortless.

No longer will theme options and building feel like two separate worlds, they will be connected together and only a couple clicks away at any time.

The buttons at the bottom will be contextually smart based upon the screen you are on reinforcing a consistent workflow and being further strengthened by the availability of keyboard shortcuts. Everything will remain 100% on the front-end allowing for real time viewing as changes are made.

The first release of this options panel is about achieving three things.

  1. To create a seamless transition from the old theme options to this new one. The Customizer theme options are not being removed and for several releases you’ll be able to use both the Customizer and our new Theme Options panel while you get used to everything.
  2. To move over the current options as they exist in the Customizer. Newer global options will be added over time as appropriate.
  3. To make the Xperience of global and on page editing effortless and connected.

Estimated Timeline: Our new theme options panel will be released in v5.0 which is scheduled for release in early fall 2016.

The Header Builder

Now, this is something to get excited about. We spent a LOT of time reviewing headers and how we wanted to architect an environment that would completely revolutionize the concept of headers and more importantly, what you can do with them when building websites.

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To provide the necessary control, a builder would be the way to go. Now before you think that just creating a header builder is a simple project, remember that the construct of a header is much more abstract then that of a page. So while there are many “page builders” on the market that borrow conventions from the realities of building a page in WordPress, we were entering unchartered waters and would need to create not just the builder but the construct – or the boundary lines if you will – for what constitutes a header and how that fits in with the rest of your site creation.

Too drastic a change and you feel like you’re in a disconnected world; not powerful enough and we’re wasting your time with another “me too” type feature.

The first unique consideration was the orientation of the builder. After all, headers typically take up the full width of a browser so while a page can vertically scroll and you don’t necessarily have to see everything at once, we felt it was imperative that you be able to actually see the entire header as you were working on it.

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This meant creating a horizontal work/preview orientation that would feel familiar but specifically created for headers. The challenge here is presentation of controls and options. We wanted to minimize both the number of clicks and horizontal scrolling which involved working through several permutations.

Next, we set out to create the world within this header builder. Similar to Cornerstone’s sections, rows and columns our header builder will have bars, containers, and modules. You can add as many bars as you wish horizontally, and you can even add a single bar vertically. Within those bars you can add containers that will hold the modules (think Elements but for headers) such as navigation, social links, calls to action, optin forms, and much more.

You’ll be able to save a header, apply it to one or a group of pages, apply it to your blog index, or basically anywhere you wish. You can create many variations of headers to create page specific functionality that will come in very handy for product and sales pages or creatively presenting content in the header.

Estimated Release: Our new header builder will be released in v5.0 which is scheduled for release in early fall 2016. Beta testing will begin in a few weeks.

The Footer Builder

We haven’t shared much about this yet as it’s fun to keep some things a surprise, but you’ll be pleased to know a footer builder will be released in short order after the header builder is launched!

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While footers bring their own unique considerations primarily due to WordPress’ use of widgets and widget styling, you’ll soon be able to build beautiful footers in X in an environment that is very familiar. The orientation will be flipped with that of the header builder so you’ll be able to see the footer as you are working on it in addition to footer-specific modules.

You’ll be able to quickly jump to other aspects of the editing experience (global and on-page) with the look of your X footers being endlessly customizable. We’re most excited for you to see this!

Estimated Release: Our footer builder will be released in v5.1 which is scheduled for release in late 2016.

Advanced Controls, Blogs, and Portfolios (oh my)

In order to give you the Element controls we have planned, it was essential for the proper architecture to be in place first. Thankfully, v5 will make that a reality which means we can start adding more granular control plus introduce several new Elements.

From new typographic controls to additional color options to brand new features that can be accessed when working with the Elements, this will be an ongoing effort.

After taking care of headers, footers, and new/updated Elements, there are a few key structural pieces we plan to revisit including additional blog layout options and new grid options for things like portfolios. We have some initial notes on how we want to tackle this and will share more at the proper time.

These are important aspects that will be easier to release once the previous updates are in place. Thankfully, there continue to be many native and 3rd party options through our Extensions that allow for the continued customization of these areas in the meantime, and we have another exclusive deal to announce soon related to one of our Extensions.

Estimated Release: You will start seeing advanced controls and V2 Elements around v5.2 with additional blog and portfolio options thereafter. These exciting new features are on the books!

The Future of Stacks

One of the most unique aspects to X is our Stack concept. Originally conceived, these were opinionated designs that combined a certain look and functionality within your X-powered site. Over time, people have requested to be able to have more global control over what were originally intended to be Stack-specific features, and we’d like to share a bit about how Stacks will function in the future of X.

They will remain selectable options, however in the future they will go through some of the many theme options and instantly configure your site to “look” a certain way. For instance with Renew everything is very clean and flat. When you select the Renew Stack in the future it will take care of all the options setting behind the scenes that allow you to then drill down into individual options you would like to change.

This will more clearly define the concept of what a “Stack” is within X plus allow us the option to release many more Stack configurations. We are also experimenting with some very unique ideas related to this that will take the Stack concept even further.

Estimated Release: It’s a little too early to estimate at this point as the release will be more iterative as new advanced controls are added. We’ll definitely keep everyone updated as there is info to share. As always, a seamless transition is our utmost priority even with considerable markup revisions as these updates include.

Completely New Theme.co

We are also underway with a complete site-wide redesign. A wonderfully talented X customer was brought on board to help with the redesign and we are looking forward to introducing you to all that we have in store including a very special new community initiative that will allow you to connect with some of the smartest creative pros across the world all from within your Themeco account!

Estimated Release: 1st quarter of 2017.

Takeaway

The WordPress theme world is an interesting dynamic typically filled with iterative releases and a lot of following the crowd with regards to feature development. We are pleased to tell you that what you are about to have at your disposal is not only not available in any other WordPress product on the market – it’s not available in any other web builder on the market!

In addition to these wonderful new features, our commitment to world-class support and a growing Extension ecosystem remains stronger then ever. Our support team consistently keep response times fast and on point – many times within an hour, and our Extension library is holding strong at over two dozen products and counting – all supported and updated by Themeco with a license of each included with every X purchase.

On their own these individual features would be reason enough to use X, however when you add them all together it truly creates the product and community you can depend on for all of your personal and client projects.

We have many other partnerships and exclusive Extension releases in various stages of development, and we look forward to also bringing those to you throughout the weeks and months ahead.

From the entire team, a very heartfelt thank-you for the privilege that it is to work with you both now and in the future. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of all the exciting things to come with X and Cornerstone over the next several months. Get ready!

Fight the good fight,
Kyle

213 Comments on “Back to the Future”

  1. Tyler

    This looks like a great venture for you guys. I can’t wait to see the results! I am glad I found the to the best theme out there, I was looking for years.

  2. Anna

    Hi guys!!!

    You are great. I purchase x theme for all my clients:) Love it, love it… Can’t wait to try out the new features.

    Go team go!!!

    1. Adam Frick

      There are many benefits to Ember.js over Angular. My favorite is convention over customization. This allows for basically any Ember.js coder to be able read and jump in to projects they have never seen before very quickly.

      I actually just went through this process with my own team of developers and we did end up choosing Angular for its wide spread support; however, it was a very tough decision to make. Would love to read a post from THEME.CO about their decision to use Ember.js over other choices.

      1. Themeco

        In the end we felt Ember was the better route to go for this application, Fabian. We’ll consider a writeup in the future about that process, Adam. We’ve discussed this in the past, it’s more a matter of finding the time :)

  3. Alex

    Awesome. Just awesome. Can’t wait guys! X theme has truly revolutionized content management, both for marketing and design people like me (who only dabble in code) and developers (like our team developer) who raves about has easy it is to implement custom front end edits. Great stuff. Looking forward to it!

    Cheers,

    -A

  4. Guillaume

    Whhhhaat?

    I wish you 100% of theme market. Just improve woocommerce please ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m already making my customer move to X…

    Anyway, you’re a f***ing awesome team.

    Thanks for all!

  5. Rob van Dalen

    Very cool to read some of the back story en the future plans. X-theme made web-building comprehensible, in reach and fun for me as a novice. And funny enough, I learned more HTML and CSS basics by means of your full frontend X-theme by carefully using the provided code snippets in the customizer and playing around with them to see what happens.

    Completely in love with X theme. Keep up the good stuff!

    1. Themeco

      That is great to hear, Rob…it’s been a real joy to hear this from customers and know that X has been as much an educational experience as it has a product for many.

  6. Knowlengr

    Thanks for the transparency about your journey. Small business agility is key, and often learned “on the job.”

    Something to think about for the future. Microservices and API-first design are catching fire elsewhere in the cloud ecosystem. Integrating practically anything else with WordPress — outside its friendly confines – is hard. The WSDL plugin is ancient, there’s little general discussion of JSON input / out.

    My standard use case to make this argument is integrating an HR system with WordPress to create an intranet. Many plugins do bits and pieces of the puzzle, but the HR systems are *way* ahead with the feature set. In other words, it’s way more than importing an employee list.

    Ideas for the future. . .

  7. Namik Eker

    I love X theme. I am thrilled with the changes that you are working on and look forward to implementing this theme to my clients. Keep up the good work!!

  8. Nick Virgilio

    Relatively new to your X theme and have been very impressed with its capabilities thus far. Happy to hear of these updates and your enthusiasm shows in the product! Thx.

  9. Hamed

    Hi,

    Great job. I spent a lot of time and money to test lots of frameworks and themes and plugins, and can’t be happier since using X. After I purchased X, I could then save lots of times customizing the site and then when needed changes, just spent a few minutes and it is Done!
    I’m totally satisfied with current features and can’t wait to see future features ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Wish you the best X Team

  10. Lindsay

    Wow – a lot of changes to look forward to. I’m particularly interested in seeing the new header/ footer builders as well as portfolio options! Thanks for striving to make building great websites possible for non-techies like me. Oh, and I’d love to hear that story one day.

  11. Pierquinto

    X theme is awesome! I think that you can improve it by focusing on leads generation and e-commerce features!

    1. Themeco

      Hi Pierquinto,

      We do have some additional plans for commerce related functionality. It’s a bit too early to start discussing that now as we want to finish this round of improvements, but it is definitely on the radar!

  12. Thomas

    Wow – this article has info enough for 10 postings *lol*. It took some time to read it but I am looking forward to see what will happen in the future. We are often several people working on the same wordpress setup and it is a bit frustrating today that Cornerstone isn’t updating live as changes are made. We have several cases where different employees made conflicting updates of the same pages. A system to prevent that from happening would be great.

    1. Themeco

      Hi Thomas,

      Regretfully things like that are to be expected at times when working out of something like a page builder as a team. It wouldn’t be wise to instantly update as changes are being made since you are working on a preview of the page, but we are always on the lookout for more ways to increase the productivity within the products themselves.

  13. Erik Westlund

    Trying to earn 100% of the market is a bad idea IMO. WordPress is used for too many use-cases to do this without, inevitably, creating bloated software that does too many things not well enough.

    I’d be happier if you stated: 100% of the market, OF THOSE PEOPLE using WP to achieve X, Y, or Z.

    Perhaps that is what you will think about in practice.

    1. Themeco

      Hi Erik,

      Developed properly, a theme like X can offer a high degree of both feature and functionality without being “bloated.” Regretfully that term is often thrown around casually and ends up confusing people who think that anything with a high degree of features = bloat or that something that has fewer features = lean. Nothing could be further form the truth and often can be the exact opposite when you analyze the underlying code and how it was written. Many of our features are developed conditionally meaning if they are not in use, they are not affecting overall performance. If you’d like to learn a bit more about our own development process for X related to that topic of bloat, I’d encourage you to check out this FAQ.

  14. Stephen Zank

    It was interesting to hear your thoughts on questioning the future of WordPress as I did in the beginning regarding the future of the X theme. I had been burned many times before as Iโ€™m sure many other of your current customers had from developers that were only interested in building something, selling it, and then moving on to build and sell something else. I am putting in a lot of time to build a site on the X theme and it would be devastating to see it left behind the next day so thank you for standing behind your product and making it better over the years!!

  15. Andre Prata

    Couldn’t expect greater news from you guys.

    I look forward to work with the header and footer builder in upcoming projects.

    Great job, as always.

    Keep up the awesome work.

    Cheers!

  16. maarten

    Yeah, Easy Woocommerce editing (lay out) is a request I support!
    And maybe add the ability to actuaually work easily with multi languages sites. The current options with WPML is not really something that works easily.

    1. Themeco

      Hi Maarten,

      We do have some ideas related to WooCommerce for down the road. Nothing in the immediate term related to languages beyond the options we currently provide, but we do also have some notes for a more crowdsourced way of dealing with translations in the future. Regretfully, there is no estimate for timeframe as of now on that front.

  17. Steven Kaufman

    Hey Kyle,
    You guys are awesome and I love your approach of radical improvement beyond what’s out there.

    I’m currently in the phase of launching a WordPress support business: valiuswp.com and i’d love to hear your story of the, “…putting work into something where nothing is guaranteed” phase of your project.

    We’re at that stage, and i’m fielding a lot of that same concern.

    Thanks to you and your team for doing what you do!

    1. Kyle

      Hello Steven,

      Creating a business is no small feat, and it’s especially felt in the beginning. Practically speaking, there are some important questions you can ask in that phase.

      Q: Am I creating something from scratch (say a new content management system) or am I optimizing within a channel (say WordPress)?

      – In your case since you are optimizing within a channel with WordPress support, you have two channels to investigate: the WordPress market and more specifically the WordPress support market.

      Q: What are the current market participants doing/not doing that I can do better?

      – The day and age we live in allow for a high degree of research to be done quite easily with some companies sharing detailed income reports on their blog. I’ve even seen this specifically for WordPress support businesses. This kind of insight is invaluable if you are looking to enter the space. Analyze their results and challenges. Review what customers are saying, investigate the viability of the business model, and most importantly determine if you truly see an opportunity to do something better through a competitive advantage – price, feature, unique selling point.

      Q: Do I have a concrete plan for execution or am I just hoping for the best?

      – This is a tough one, but you must be brutally honest. Too often, I can see that business “ideas” I have are born out of over simplifying. Once you’ve investigated the channel, developed your unique selling point, and before you develop the product you must have a go to market strategy. With Themeco ours was simple. We wanted to get our product approved at ThemeForest. They had millions of buyers, and we wanted to earn the business of those buyers by doing everything in our power to create a product and support experience that was second to none (optimizing within the ThemeForest channel).

      At this stage in the planning don’t forget to allow for experimentation when you are ready to launch, but don’t let that experimentation result in the thinking you can figure out the sales process after you’ve created the business. Make sure you’ve decided on a path first then when the research and development are complete you’re ready to hit the ground running. Many a great business have been started by well intentioned people who delay the marketing planning to after they’ve created the business or hope somehow the buyers will just show up.

      Hopefully this gives a little more insight into the decision making process on my end. These are a few of the questions I asked/determined in that time for Themeco. Drop me a line through our Themeco contact form if I can be of any further help.

      All my best,
      Kyle

  18. James

    I’ve worked with your X theme on a lot of client sites. I instantly recognize it and I am impressed at how you can easily, if you know web design, go in and edit items, customizing them intuitively. I was also impressed with Cornerstone and the integrated plugins and extras you bundle with the X theme. I look forward to future updates and releases. Keep up the good work!

  19. M Carter

    This will be interesting to watch. We’ve seen X grow into a good-sized company, yet you’ve maintained leading-edge features, almost-instant support that actually is effective, and really good ongoing big-picture communication.

    Beyond what happens with the tech, keeping the customer interaction and support effectiveness will be the real test for you guys as you grow. PLEASE don’t lose sight of that – it’s probably as-responsible for your success to date as the code is, if not more. I simply can’t think of another vendor, brand, or product where support is this effective – in fact, you guys seem to be your own paradigm of one. I’d hate it if a few years from now, X-veteran users recall these as your glory days. Which seems to be the norm.

    So, please retain your effectiveness at “not being the norm!”

    1. Themeco

      Very kind of you M, thank-you! Internally we feel that customer support is perhaps the most important theme “feature” so we have no plans to shift strategies on this most important aspect.

  20. Ishwar

    I am glad to note your update. We need to see it to believe it. However, I think you have a big competition from elegant themes. You should watch them out.

    1. Themeco

      Glad you enjoyed it, Ishwar! There are a lot of great companies in the WordPress ecosystem, and we’re very excited about the future of X and the broader Themeco ecosystem (and customers should be as well)!

  21. Larry MacDonald

    X is certainly one of the most powerful web development platforms. It is so powerful that at the same time it makes it so easy, it begs many questions as to precisely how to accomplish certain tasks. Many questions come up that unless you are a master of CSS you are left wondering and at the mercy of the support forums.

    I propose a type of overlay that can be on/off, similar to mouse-over messages that would explain the various levels of instruction and eliminate 95% of the confusion inherent in such a complex program. This could be a combination of videos indexed by the specific feature within X that is in question.

    It is perfectly normal that your company would not include such a tool, because your developers are so close to the code that they don’t anticipate the difficulty newer users may encounter.

    Just think of the potential for getting closer to your goal of 100% if you could reduce the number of users who may have given up in frustration while trying to master X.

    How can I help?

    1. Themeco

      Hi Larry,

      These are nice ideas in theory but when it comes down to the practicality of developing something that could somehow effectively and efficiently teach people what are ultimately very nuanced topics it starts to get beyond the scope of a theme. We’re definitely always looking for ways to enhance our library of instructional videos and articles to find unique ways to help customers learn in a way that helps them achieve their goals, and this is why we invest so much time in our support forums and knowledge base.

      You’ll also notice that the builders themselves are very experiential tools, and this is also by design and allows for people to get started quickly.

  22. Tyler Johnson

    I just want to say a few things!

    1. I have been building websites for just over a year and feel that I have spent way too much of my time looking at themes and learning different CMS. Then just a few months ago, I found XTheme. I was blown away by control, function, and crazy speed of the theme. So want to first thank you for that.

    2. Everything you have outlined in this post has just blown my mind. The attention you all take in creating the best creative atmosphere is unstoppable. What you all are doing is the epitome of a great tech company. I am jacked to have found XTheme, and stupid jacked about where you all are going.

    3. Way to keep the integrity level to the max. It’s posts like this and companies like this that I want to do business with and share with friends, clients, and complete strangers. Integrity is the one thing in the tech world that can be very lacking, whether it be through customer service or product creation. You all have outperformed in all areas.

    So thank you for fighting the good fight to bring us products that enrich our lives, instead to taking away.

    Tyler

    1. Themeco

      That is so incredibly gracious, Tyler and really means a lot…genuinely. Thank-you for taking the time to share!

  23. Jared

    Not only are you kicking the collective asses of all WordPress themes, but this new venture takes your ass slapping paddle to the likes of gadgety web builders that wish they had the underlying CMS brute strength of WordPress. Brilliance, folks. Can’t wait build some goodness with these new releases. Cheers!

  24. Simon

    Great article Kyle, and thanks for the updated eta’s on upcoming features. Sounds like a great journey you have been on! I’m slathering in anticipation of all these new features, and major thanks to you and your team for such a great product and a well thought out roadmap for future development. I think we can all agree, it’s not marketing mumbo jumbo when you refer to X as the ULTIMATE WordPress Theme – shortly, that should perhaps be the ULTIMATE web page builder? Great stuff, I doff my cap to you all.

  25. Austin Abell

    So exciting Kyle :)

    X theme will be the only theme I ever buy or recommend. Love seeing you guys pioneering and leading the way to the Glory of God! Bless you, brother.

    In Christ Alone,
    Austin

    1. Kyle

      Hello Austin,

      It has been a wonderfully, challenging, beautiful adventure. Blessings to you, brother.

      All my best,
      Kyle

  26. MacKenzie Whyte

    I am really looking forward to the new headers section. I love the X theme, it just keeps getting better. I cannot believe I bought three licenses and am considering another one. Oh the possibilities! Great work Theme.co!

  27. Raymond Goad

    I am an old fogie amateur self-taught duplicator (antonym of a developer), and late comer to the x-theme revolution. I am stunned by the vision Themco has, not only for advancing the technology but for a much-needed revolutionizing of the relationship between theme developer and user. Congratulations, three cheers and a crescendo of BROVO’s for your announcements. You are truly on your way to owning 100% of the theme market, starting with 100% of my meager business in the future. Can I buy some stock?

    1. Themeco

      Hey, old fogies need a place to call home too!! Very kind of you, Raymond…thank you for the sentiments!

  28. Justin

    Great work guys! I’m so pumped for the all the new features and have been excited about the Header builder and just now found out about the Footer builder coming out soon!

    Loyal customer since first X Theme license!!

  29. Debbie

    This is very exciting! I enjoyed reading your story. It’s inspiring. I’m excited to see the new release!

  30. kevin

    It’s pretty good, but nested tables… I’ll know xtheme is big time when it can build nested tables.

  31. Dora

    I’m really looking forward to these new features! And thank you for sharing the story behind how X (Themeco) began. You have all been putting in a tremendous amount of time, energy, and research into creating and improving X — and it is much appreciated.

  32. Peter

    Hi Kyle, in your article today you said that if we wanted to learn more about your backstory, that we could reach out personally to you. I’m interested in learning more about your story.

    I know that you are a Christian and so am I. I would love to learn more about how God lead you through those years where you’re future was unknown. Please feel free to email me.

    Thanks Kyle ๐Ÿ˜Š

  33. Jennifer

    Speaking of WooCommerce and instead of WooCommerce… Can it pull in images to sell on sites through Square’s (POS) System without having to write a ton of html or having it redirect to a custom Square shop? ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Themeco

        Hi Jennifer, that would be more of a WooCommerce development question then X, but we do certainly have some ideas down the road for WooCommerce improvements we’d like to tackle.

  34. Sandi

    X is already a great theme with unique features. I can’t wait to see the new header builder, which will close one of the very few mediocre parts of X. Congrats to the whole team for the great work!

  35. Ben D

    Nicely stated. This was interesting and informative for me. There are so many evolving elements in WordPress development. The insight you shared to the complexities you face was very helpful. Thanks!

  36. Elise

    X best theme ever!!! Almost no bugs, amazing support, amazing builder and the template library is stunning and saves you lots of time. Themeco hosting is amazing as well!!
    Waiting for these updates!

    Are you thinking of an app builder?

    Cheers

    1. Themeco

      Thanks, Elise…no plans for an app builder at present, but it’s great to know you’re enjoying the experience with Themeco Hosting as well! There was an exciting announcement today for all TH customers.

  37. Larry

    I too cut my website building teeth on FrontPage back in 1995. I really hated to see it go. I do not love Dreamweaver and until I discovered X last year, thought I would never again find a web builder that I couldn’t do without. Thanks guys!!!

    1. Themeco

      Hi Doug,

      There are many models and we feel the per use aligns everyone’s interests quite well. It allows Themeco to have a scalable business and customers a lot of value for each license purchase. To be sure, selling on a 3rd party marketplace brings its own set of challenges, but we have been very thankful for the efforts made by the Envato team to help us grow our business and get the word out about X and Cornerstone!

  38. John Terrone

    Awesome updates! I am def. excited about “No longer will theme options and building feel like two separate worlds, they will be connected together and only a couple clicks away at any time..”.

    Though I will never begin to understand how you do what you do, X theme makes me feel like I know a bit about making a website!

    Thanks everyone!

  39. Mike

    I think I’m a little bit in love with you guys.

    Themeco just keeps getting better and better, and it’s fantastic to see your commitment to continued development and innovation.

    In your next big update post I expect you to tell us that you’ve decided to build an entire CMS alternative to WordPress, because … you know … you can :)

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  40. Jen

    I love hearing about what you have planned – X is an amazing product. I’m a freelancer and I have more than a dozen client sites on X. I won’t use any other theme!

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned on the roadmap was universal changes via Cornerstone Blocks: https://community.theme.co/forums/topic/universal-changes-via-cornerstone-blockpage-templates/

    Letโ€™s say I create a Cornerstone page template, and then implement that template on, say 15 pages on a website. Then my client, out of the blue, says thereโ€™s something about the page styling they no longer like. Last I checked, Iโ€™d have to go back into all 15 pages to make the same correction over and over again to adjust that design element. It would be awesome if there was a way to create blocks as true “templates” where you can edit the saved block and have all the blocks site-wide that use that block template update automatically.

    I think the custom headers and footers are a step in the right direction for this. But was curious if there are similar plans for Cornerstone blocks.

    You guys ROCK!! I never thought myself a website designer until I got my hands on X, and since then, I’ve never looked back. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’ – thanks! :)

    1. Themeco

      Hi Jen,

      We do have some notes on a “global block” type feature. Regretfully there is no ETA for a release, but we do see value in a feature like that. Many thanks for the kind words as well!

  41. Chris

    I purchased my first X license in 2013 and have since purchased another 20 (some I own, some my clients own). I refuse to work with any client that will not allow me to build their site using X.

    These new changes look like another carefully choreographed first-to-market by X, focused on the needs of ordinary people like me, not on flashy novelties designed to catch the eye but are ultimately red herrings.

    By the way, I just finished a website connected with the IRS using X Theme. That may be a first…lol.

    I’m happily married, but if I weren’t I’d propose to the X Theme Team (ha ha). Y’all are absolutely the best. I feel part of a family. Keep on keeping on!

    Thanks for all you do!

    1. Themeco

      Holy Jamoly…what a great comment…20 licenses…with us from the beginning…we’ve actually gotten money FROM the IRS (indirectly)…don’t ever leave us, Chris!!! :)

  42. Jarle Indrรธy

    I just love X and use it on all of my customers sites. This is good news.

    But you can forget one thing: Cornerstone. It is far to cumbersome to work with. I use PageBuilder and its just does the job. Cornestone is like all the others; – they work from the wrong angle.

    1. Themeco

      Hi Jarle,

      Glad you are enjoying X, however if we took Cornerstone away we’d have a mutiny on our hands.

    1. Themeco

      Hi Luiz,

      No plans for a subscription or to leave Envato at present as we feel the per use model is a great way to align everyone’s interest and has allowed us to build up a great community in the process.

  43. Jacob Dietz

    This is all pretty exciting stuff, especially the header builder as this is a very neglected area in WordPress… something that is pretty strange seeing how it’s the single most seen part of every website. I look forward to the day when I don’t have to one-off header layouts in my child theme to get the client the ‘perfect’ combination of design and functionality. Keep up the great work!

  44. Laura Mirsky

    Thank you for sharing the Themeco history and so wonderfully written! Love the vision, energy, and desire to be the very best at what you do. As a very as-must-figure-out “designer” and “manager” of my site, I eagerly look forward to more simplicity! My favorite line in the whole post was “sovereignly appointed season of life….” Congrats and wishing you 100% across the board success :-)

    1. Themeco

      You are most welcome, Laura! It is great to have you in the Themeco family…sovereignly appointed :)

  45. Stacy

    Amazing how Frontpage led to all of this. I too started with Frontpage back in 1998, then over to Dreamweaver, which I like very much as it didn’t require server-side “extensions”. I’m thinking Frontpage leading to X is the best thing about FP now!

  46. Alex

    Very impressed with the scale and vision of X and Theme.co. I feel even more confident that we are working with the right company.

    1. Themeco

      Thank-you, Alex! We certainly don’t take that decision lightly and will work hard to continue to earn that business in the future.

  47. Paul

    Guys,

    These all sound like great enhancements and efficiencies. I just hope I can keep up with them as a pretty recent convert to X & Cornerstone!

    Thanks for a great theme!

  48. Susan

    Back when I scored on my first copy of X, there were only a few hundred sales. I had a feeling it would rock the community, and the concept of Stacks was enough to generate a huge following. I looked forward to creating multiple websites in WordPress, without the nightmare of theme limitations and dealing with umpteen different interfaces. But what you’ve accomplished, improved, and even invented is quite staggering. THANK YOU. For taking the scary leaps & setting outrageous goals. This monster you’ve created is truly a rockstar!!

  49. Imran Mughal

    Outside of my day job, I manage a number of sites for non-profit organizations and charities. I’ve ditched all other themes and switched all the sites I manage to X. There simply is no better theme in my opinion. Keep doing what you’re doing… I’m looking forward to the results.

  50. Andy Bee

    It’s due to posts like this that make me so disappointed………..
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    I’ve bought three copies of X for sites so far. I feel disappointed I don’t have a new site to make yet using X ready for these new additions and developments.

    Great work indeed!

  51. Steve

    Before X, I used to go on a yearly hunt for new themes. It’s nice to know I never have to look for another โ€“ I’ve got thousands of them built into one X install.

    I use X on all my sites and I recommend it to my clients. It’s hard to envision a site that can’t make use of X.

    The future of X is appears bright. I’m looking forward to the Header builder. It’ll be like Christmas without the sugar-high.

  52. Tyson

    Love the header feature. Not many themes allow us to manipulate the header as much. Well done and much needed. Thanks!

  53. Marianne

    Your theme is our go-to theme for most of our sites now. You do offer a ton of features and plugins in one place which is incredible value for the money. Am old school and don’t use Cornerstone much, except for specially formatted pages. I love the ease with which I can customize styles now. Anyway, yes, I am a champion.

    What I would like you to keep in mind is backward compatibility as you forge into the future. It wouldn’t be the first time that established, busy sites start to stutter with a theme that is not backwards compatible. I’ve been through several nightmare rebuilds in the past, because of that reason.

    So, I’ll be happy to see you claim only 50% of the theme market but stay 100% compatible with other plugins and your earlier X versions.

    1. Themeco

      Hey Marianne,

      Thanks very much for the continued business! Regarding compatibility and a seamless update experience – that is priority 1, 2, and 3 for us. At the same time, we want to be sensitive to areas that need improvement and advise as necessary about what (if anything) may need to be addressed related to those changes. It is absolutely understandable that backwards compatibility is a priority for most customers – as it is for us – and you have our pledge to continue to be sensitive to that even with the goal of keeping X the best WordPress theme on the market.

  54. Adam

    I love X (although I’d like more points for hooking in my custom code). I have two sites, one using WPMU Dev’s Upfront and another using X. X is clearly easier to use (even though we haven’t resolved our issues with Cornerstone on Dreamhost with CloudFlare) and gives me fewer WTF moments.

    For me the big issue is cost. I’d prefer to have the option to buy support for unlimited sites. I’m aware of Mullenweg’s opinions on the nature of GPL and premium themes like this, but I want to pay you for your time … I would just do it in a more cost effective manner for me and my clients.

    1. Themeco

      Hi Adam,

      We feel the value for each license is high and it is our continued focus to add additional value through new developments (such as this), Extensions, and our world-class support. The way we see it, we want the license cost to be not even a thought when you think about all that you have at your disposal with each purchase. While there are certainly many different pricing models in this space, we’ve found it greatly aligns everyone’s interest and creates the environment for a sustainable business which is also important to the many customers across the world who depend on our products on a daily basis.

    1. Eric Heymans

      Hi Patrick,
      I visited your churchbuzz website.
      Just wanted to mention the font you use looks fancy but it is very hard to read (or keep reading) actually

  55. Julius

    AMAZING! I can’t wait to see the new header/footer builders and all the other exciting updates.
    Thank you so much for creating THE BEST theme (and support) for WordPress!

    One suggestion: Make a stack directly for bloggers. Bloggers are one of the very few people I can’t recommend X to.

    1. Themeco

      Many thanks, Julius! We do have some thoughts related to new blog options that we briefly touched on above.

  56. Ying-Fu Li

    Very excited about the coming update(s) ๐Ÿ˜Š I am wondering though about something. As I see it the direction X is going will make it increasingly a website builder: Cornerstone, Header and Footer builders, founded on the backbone of X.

    I would imagine for instance that with the new Header builder we are able to create the headers we want. That would make the existence of the default header format of each Stack obsolete. Like when working in Renew and wanting to use a header used in Icon. So, would the concept of Stacks not become obsolete? Just wondering, that’s all ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Themeco

      Hi Ying,

      Quite the contrary. While the header builder is a big step in this direction of multiple builders we are creating for customers, the eventuality of that plan is a much more clearly defined Stack concept as outlined above. With new advanced controls in the future, the purpose of a Stack will be clearer (slightly redefined) and allow for a quick view of how various options can be utilized to create a certain look.

    1. Themeco

      That is our illustrious “Rubin Themeco” as he is known by those in the Themeco community. A man of mystery…

  57. Lonnie Bruhn

    One of the huge rewards I personally get from updates on the future of X is your ability to include us in on the journey and the process. You kindly make the X community customer base an extra member of the theme. It makes it so much more personal and is an amazing way to connect with us.

    Thank you for that.

  58. Deb

    I wish I was able to tell you that your own “life changing” episode that brought X into reality changed my “reality” ….. A collision of destinies …. Cheers from Perth Australia …

    1. Themeco

      Would love to hear that story, Deb…and a great reminder! We feel incredibly fortunate that we can be connected with so many new friends from across the globe…it’s for a reason.

  59. Jhonis

    I think what you guys have done so far is truly great, and there is tremendous opportunity yet. I’d be thrilled if I saw better integration with WooCommerce, I’d be even more thrilled if you created your own eCommerce solution. They’re great at what they do, but they also offer themes right?

    anyways,

    Great job so far and best wishes for your future ventures.

  60. Jonathan

    Hey Guys,
    I am excited to see what X and all that is involved looks like in the future. Since It became available, I have used it on several sites, and plan on continuing. This is the ONLY wordpress theme I use now!

    Keep up the good work!

  61. Scott

    X has allowed me to create our 2nd website ever. (with no formal training) I am amazed at how X has allowed me to create such a clean and functional website that so far has ticked all our boxes. All that without paying a website developer. We had quotes for $30K & $40K to build our proposed website excluding ongoing costs. With X and a few other premium plugins our website (excluding my time) has cost us less than $1K. Thank you very much! Without X and your amazing support I could never have achieved such a great result. Keep up the great work. I look forward to playing with your new tools and features soon…

    1. Themeco

      Wow, what a great insight Scott! It is a great blessing to know we’ve been able to help you do so much…it is most certainly our pleasure!

  62. Chris

    What an epic update! You guys are truly in a class of your own. I was thinking in the shower the other day that X represents not only the best (by a very large margin) WordPress theme ever made but I think the best overall customer experience I’ve ever had.

    The product is exceptional, the community rich and the updates plentiful. Bravo guys, you are total legends.

    Ps. Same here Deb, meant to be ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cheers from Melbourne!

  63. LARRY BLODE

    I remember when we had to do a complete re-design of our website. We had used Dreamweaver and Front Page, then Wix. My development team said WordPress. I was not convinced until I was shown some existing sites. I then discovered Themeforest and got lost in it from all the themes. I knew that there was potential, but I was a ‘drag n drop’ object baby that had little experience with CSS and others.

    Then I found X. It made a claim that no other dared. Easy to use, drag an object (this was before cornerstone too!) and then use it.

    With careful trepidation, I spent my money and placed my trust in Word Press and X.

    Five Websites later, all of the X, I cannot imagine using any other theme. The support is excellent, and the product features are near faultless, and I feel that I am part of a worldwide family.

    Perhaps you could bring your next X conference to Australia?

    Well Done X, may your journey continue to flourish and bring you rewards that you richly deserve

    Larry
    archergroup.com.au

    1. Themeco

      What a great story, Larry…thank-you! If we are ever able to have a Summit in Australia, we’ll look forward to seeing you there!

  64. Eriq Powers

    As a small business owner, I rely on my website to drive traffic and sales. I created my website years ago, and have bought numerous themes from Themeforest.com. I am not trained in coding, or design, so I rely heavily on a theme’s functionality. Finding X theme and Cornerstone has not only given me the flexibility to make my website exactly the way I want it โ€” it has given me the confidence to start making websites for friends, family, my school and other local businesses. My wife’s website (www.meledits.com) gets great feedback, traffic, and really stands out among her peers.

    Thank you Theme.co for creating such a powerful tool, and keep up the good work!

    1. Themeco

      Wow, that’s awesome Eriq…not only helped you with your own site but started a fledgling business…thrilled to hear that!

  65. Edwin Yip

    It’s great to have a plan for the future, my best wishes for you guys!

    As someone mentioned above, **keep backward compatibility** is the bottom line to me as your customer. This is most important. Thanks.

    I like the X theme for performance and flexibility.

    I like the Cornerstone builder, which is well-design in terms of user-experience – I know what I’m saying – I’m a software developer, and actually I’m using your theme for my new software showcase site: https://truesimplesoft.com

    Good luck with your plan!

    1. Themeco

      Hi Edwin,

      We definitely hear you on the compatibility front…it has and will always remain a priority even as we weigh that against our commitment to keep X the best in class!

  66. Lyle Chamney

    Hi Kyle,

    Great post! However …

    The minute you stop selling your wears through Envanto, I will start buying them. Period. I absolutely refuse to buy through them, let alone for a one site license. Stop it now! LOL :)

    You are way better than that. Set up your own store and do it yourself with a matrix of options, including a Developer package.

    Look around. See what the other frameworks have started doing. Don’t miss this boat as you have amazing products to promote!

    Cheers!
    Lyle

    1. Themeco

      Hi Lyle,

      While no relationship is perfect, we have valued what the partnership with Envato has allowed us to do in growing our business and connecting with customers from across the globe. We greatly appreciate the kind words about our products and would love the opportunity to continue to work together.

      Cheers!

  67. Mary Beth

    Whenever I see that there’s a new post from X it feels like Christmas morning. I get so excited, can’t wait to open the post and see all the new fun toys to play with. I’ve used this theme for every site I’ve built since it was released (which is a lot, lol) so at this point, every new feature, expansion, or extension integration, feels like getting a brand new toy to play with. I can’t wait. :)

    1. Themeco

      That’s awesome, Mary Beth…glad to know it feels like Christmas morning! And thank-you for the repeat business! It’s what allows us to continue to develop and support all these new toys :)

  68. Marcelo

    Hi there,
    When you think X could not be better, you take it to a whole new level!
    Thank you guys, I’m really excited and looking forward to the new realise.
    Cheers!
    Marcelo

  69. Edward

    Hi team, I love your product, it’s given me an income stream and skill I never thought possible so thank you.

    The only question I have is, will the updates be seamless and easy to implement or will we have a repeat of the changes made to child themes etc in a major release you made last year?

    1. Themeco

      Hi Edward,

      You’re most welcome! Our priority is making as seamless a transition as possible to the degree that we can control things (remember that with a customer base as large as ours there are many people customizing X in many ways and as is normal with development – code is not something you can set and forget). Having said that, we have built in processes to help address this even with a large update like this and will definitely include any additional info that may need to be known at the time of release.

  70. Alejandro

    You just made my day, I’ve been following you since v2 (when I found out about X) and I really really love the idea of ember.js IN X !

    The footer builder was an unexpected surprise which will help me remove the process of creating one of my own through widgets, CSS rules and sometimes even js or functions and that is aaaweeeesooomeeee (for me and my clients hehe). I can’t wait for the blog and portfolio ideas you have in store , although, thanks to acf pro, you have already opened a lof of awesome doors in the customization front :)

    Can’t wait for all these goodies to be on my hands >:}

    As I always say, you guys ROCK!

    1. Themeco

      So great to hear that, Alejandro! We look very forward to continuing to work with you and your clients!

  71. Dude

    If you want to reach 100% of the market you should definitely make it easier to translate X theme and Cornerstone into as many languages as possible. Have you considered something like Transifex? https://www.transifex.com/
    I’ve used it to help translate Disqus and it’s fantastic.

    Also user role restriction, control who can access which elements in Cornerstone and lock certain blocks / sections from being edited by certain people.

    This is not a feature request thread so I’ll stop here ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway this was a great “little” post of what to expect.

    1. Themeco

      Hey Dude,

      We have some ideas on translations and have been considering something like GlotPress, however we haven’t made a final decision yet as we are in the process or re-architecting many exciting developments and features.

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