I wanted to give you an update on the goings on at Themeco and what you can expect in the coming months. First off, we are excited to finally announce today an exclusive partnership with SevenSpark, makers of UberMenu. X is the only theme on the market licensed to distribute a copy of UberMenu with each validated X license, and it’s a deal we’ve been working on for nearly 8 months, so we are excited to make it available to our customers as our 23rd Extension.
Related to this, allow me explain how Extensions work and our vision for them both now and in the future. Each Extension is a licensed version of a WordPress plugin either developed in-house at Themeco or through a 3rd party. They play a key role in our product offering, and we have resources devoted to the management and curation of this environment. While we are very selective with what tools we make available via our Extension library (we get many more requests to distribute products then we allow), we do see this as an important aspect to providing our customers with a well-rounded development environment – all supported and backed by your friends at Themeco for free with each license purchase.
There is no other theme or company on the market that provides anything close to this offering, and we we have many more partnerships and announcements in the works. In the future, look for even more elegant integrations with both industry and Themeco tools allowing for additional functionality and development options when using X in both a performant and well developed manner.
Of late, we’ve noticed that some 3rd party plugins will create additional bonuses you can get if you purchase the product directly from them, but this is optional and not required. At Themeco we will continue to update the products as updates are made available plus provide support for them in our forums.
We have also noticed how many 3rd party plugins (not just within our Extension library but 3rd party plugins in general) are getting somewhat aggressive with their messaging in the WordPress dashboard. This can create both a cluttered WordPress interface plus confusion to customers. We are systematically working with our partners to do what we can to clean up that process with the understanding that at the end of the day 3rd party tools will have some autonomy as to how they ultimately present messaging related to their plugins/tools.
There are new internal policies in place that we are going to manage for any future tools we integrate with so as to make this experience as streamlined and non-confusing as possible to the degree that we can control it. We may also not integrate with certain plugins in the future if their messaging is deemed excessive or misleading as some of the ones we have seen recently have been. While we reserve the right to remove Extensions from our library, it is our goal to keep all Extensions in the library indefinitely and there are no current plans to remove any Extension. For today, the important takeaway to remember and to share with other customers when asked are:
- Each Extension is a full version of the plugin but there may be some bonuses or extra functionality not available unless you purchase directly. Generally speaking, these are addons and not tied to core plugin functionality.
- You do not need to purchase a copy as we will support and update the product.
- You are welcome to purchase a copy if you would like support from the developer but this is optional and not required.
Advanced Custom Fields PRO and Superfly are our 24th and 25th Extensions respectively, and we are currently working through their integration processes. We are aiming to have them ready for release around late June or early July (UPDATE: They are now live, and you can learn more about ACF and Superfly here and here). As always, it is our desire to get approved tools out to you as quickly as possible after they have been thoroughly tested and reviewed.
Did Someone Say Headers?
Now let’s move on to the much anticipated header update! We have been deep in the building process of what is shaping up to be incredible new options for headers within X. We won’t be able to go into more detail then what is listed here, so kindly save your questions for headers for later as there is always a balancing act of wanting to share what we’re working on while wanting to let some of it be a surprise, but for today, here’s what we can tell you.
The project of “Headers” was actually part of our 5.0 roadmap which we announced late last year at our Themeco Summit. As we got into it more, we realized that 5.0 was simply way to big to do all at once so we determined to break it out into individual pieces. As we got into the weeds of headers, listening to your feedback and doing our own research, we determined the best path was one that would end up taking longer but in the end would be worth the time investment creating both a well thought out and scalable approach to building highly custom headers within X. We’re excited to show you this “builder” in due time.
We also realized that in order to do what we wanted to do with headers, it was a good time to think through the X options framework as the two are very closely tied together. After a great deal of research and brainstorming, we are in the process of creating the framework for the next level of X development that we are sure you are going to love (with Flexbox, Ember, and Stebri as the key buzz words). While the options bit is more foundational, it will allow us to connect the worlds of global and on page editing in a very elegant way while continuing to give our customers a high degree of control.
As you can imagine, a project of this magnitude takes quite a bit of work. We have an incredibly talented development team that have to have an understanding of design, development, math, and patience to mythological proportions in order to solve some of the challenges presented, but the creative process is something we truly enjoy, and we are excited for you to see the finished product.
With regards to timeline, this is always a tricky proposition on several fronts as some things we don’t know at this point may take longer to solve then originally planned. Having said that, we’re shooting for a late July/August timeframe. While this may change, it is what we are working towards. We will have an extensive beta testing process for this prior to launch, and we’ll let you know more about that at the proper time. We’ll also be looking for opportunities to share a sneak peak or two along the way.
Hopefully this gives you a bit of an insight into a few of the key projects we are working on as our commitment remains the same: to continue to earn your business through incredible products and helpful support. We have more people working on X now than at any time in its history and a very clear roadmap before us that we are most excited about (and you should be too)!
On a personal note, it is very special to me to see such a vibrant community that has formed around X. Many of the ideals we strive for at Themeco I see on display in many parts of our community, and it really is a pleasure and honor to be able to work in a community like this.
Press on towards the goal, my friends!