Say Hello to X 5.0 and Pro 1.0

April 10, 2017

Today is an exciting day. Without a doubt this release is the culmination of our most ambitious project to date and charts the course for the future of Themeco!

We are pleased to announce both an update for X (v5) and a new product called Pro (v1). Existing X customers have the option of switching to Pro for free.

Wait, What's Happening to X?

Don’t worry, X isn’t going anywhere. Over the past three years, X has developed quite the devoted following with everyone from new bloggers to government agencies depending on it daily to power their websites. We have counted it a privilege to work with each and every customer.

It is a priority for us to strengthen that product while offering the customers who want more advanced control the option to do just that.

Takeaway: Love X and want to continue using it? You can, and it was just updated!

The Poll

Several months ago we ran a poll and discovered that approximately 40% of our customers build only one website. They are generally looking for quick, easy, and for it to just work out of the box as most of these customers are small business owners or professionals in other fields who want to build their own site but would rather not get into the nitty gritty details.

The other 60% fall in a group who primarily build sites for clients. Their main concerns are a very high degree of customizability and cutting edge features as they DO want to get into the details.

Many times, those different customer profiles can create challenges when there is one product. Too simple and it's not giving the creative professionals the control they desire. Too many options and it's beyond the scope of what most DIYers care to use. It's a fair distinction, and we see an opportunity to do something about it.

Takeaway: We have two distinct customer profiles who want different features.

So, What Can You Tell Me About Pro?

Where to begin… πŸ™‚

The heart of this product is about introducing several new interconnected builders and advanced features. The header and footer builders will provide you with unprecedented control over these most important parts of your site.

Instead of just giving you options, we have crafted a tool that will allow you to create all of the standard layouts in modern headers and footers in addition to many of the complex layouts that (until now) were only available in highly custom solutions.

Looking for the simple stuff like logo on the left, right, or middle? No problem. Hero images and mixing different headers/footers with different pages? Yep.

But imagine when you can create multi-sticky bars that interact with your visitors on scroll eventsβ€”you know the type of functionality you see on high-end sites. All of that and more is now available natively in Pro.

We believe you should be able to build your header or footer just like you build a page. This means an entire new library of Elements from nativation to buttons to toggles to off canvas content and more. But that's not all.

One of the biggest requests we have heard is people's desire for more control over individual Elements. Sure it's great to add custom CSS, HTML, and Javascript (and you still can) but what about more powerful control natively in the tool?

As a professional, this is where things will really start to click. From Flexbox controls to that ability to manipulate each Element in a truly unlimited number of ways, you will quickly discover that Pro is not just a solution with new β€œfeatures,” it is a digital canvas.

Pro is unlike anything you have ever seen and yet we expect you to feel right at home the first time you use it. Sure, it will take some time to get used to the workflow (and we always recommend going through the documentation), but since we ALL want to just start using things we buy, a great deal of time was spent thinking through a connected experience that allows you to discover as you play.

This is an important part of the creative process, and was confirmed to us by many of you over a year ago.

After Cornerstone was launched, countless customers told us they flat out did not use design tools any longer. As a matter of fact, we heard it so many times that it got us thinking, 'How can we lean into that workflow by streamlining the tools needed to both be creative and build a site?'

After seeing how people were designing natively with just our first vision of Cornerstone, we knew with the proper vision and engineering we could take that idea even further.

Takeaway: Think of Pro as a β€œnative app” for WordPress. While still a theme, it provides an end-to-end experience for both designing and building.

Other Pro Features

There is an incredible new Font Manager for quick, site-wide management of fonts. This will allow you to update font families and weights used throughout your site in one place.

There is a slick new Color Manager (similar to fonts, but for various color palettes used throughout your site).

There are Section Dividers for creating dramatic, angled transitions from one section to another.

There is an entirely new Theme Options panel that is always just two clicks away and accessible without leaving the app.

There is our new 30-pixel friend aptly named β€œThe Bar” that will help you get to ANY part of your site building experience.

There are Keyboard Shortcuts for our power users and contextual help in the app as you're using it.

And of course there are the new Header and Footer Builders with advanced, native controls (plus much more).

For Pro, you will no longer need or use Cornerstone. What you formerly knew as Cornerstone is now just a small part of Pro (the content builder) with all of these interconnected builders being native, lean, and optimized for performance. You should not have any issues with Cornerstone elements or templates when switching from X to Proβ€”they will continue to work.

For X, you will continue to use the standalone version of Cornerstone as you always haveβ€”included with every X purchase.

Takeaway: There are many advanced features in Pro including a family of interconnected builders.

Presets & Templates

These are two buzz words you’ll hear a lot in Pro (soon in X), so we’d like to take a quick second to explain what this means.

Think of Presets as the style kit to your Elements. With so many new design and layout controls, Presets allow those configurations to be saved and quickly applied with the click of a mouse.

For the 1.0 of Pro you can only used the provided presets and templates, however one of our first major features that is already in the works is a completely new templating system that will allow you to create, export, and even sell your own Presets and Templates (more info on that a little later).

This library interface will be universal so it will be the same experience whether you are using X or Pro allowing you to re-use all your β€œstuff.”

We are in talks with many in the community about also streamlining the use of approved 3rd party tools that will further enhance your X or Pro experience while not sacrificing on stability or the user experience.

Takeaway: This is a powerful tool with many professional features.

X or Pro: The Choice is Yours

What does all this mean for you? Choice! Choice as to which product you would like to use for which project. Choice as to whether you want to stay on the X path or whether you're ready for Pro. Either way, our commitment to you remains the same: quality products, world-class support, and an overall experience that is second to none.

X will continue to be sold at ThemeForestβ€”on sale for a limited timeβ€”and we are pleased to announce a 5.0 update. Pro is sold through us, and we are pleased to announce the 1.0 release of this powerful new product. Both X and Pro will continue to be updated, supported, and further developed.

You can switch any current X licenses to Pro for free (or not, decision is up to you), and we have a detailed article covering all the important details below.

Takeaway: These are distinct products. You can switch for free or continue using X.

Will Switching from X to Pro Break My Site?

In most circumstances, no. If you elect to switch your current license/site from X to Pro, we have built an entire system to automatically help with the process.

With that said, there ARE things that can happen in an update that are completely outside of our control and there ARE a couple of steps we have outlined if you have done heavy customizations to your X site that you will need to be aware of prior to switching and in order to insure a seamless transition.

Please know that we do detailed and extensive testing internally and with hundreds of beta testers prior to a release, but even with that there will be issues.

Imagine iPhone updates where customers could change the operating system in addition to the normal bugs and issues that come with software. This can be vastly complex to solve and frankly is impossible to take care of all use cases since customers have so much control over the code.

What we can commit to you is that we will work with you as fast as humanely possible to sort out any issues that may arise (and we have a new paid service linked out to below if you'd like us to take care of the update for you).

If you are going to do it yourself be absolutely certain that you have a backup of your site BEFORE upgrading and that you have read our step-by-step article referenced further down this page.

Takeaway: Make sure you have a backup, but switching should be smooth.

How Can I Try It Out?

We have provided a provisional license of Pro in your Themeco account dashboard for testing (bottom of page). Feel free to play around and familiarize yourself with all the new options. You can not validate this provisional license, install Extensions, or get updates. It is only for testing purposes in a local environment or test site. From there you have two options:

  • Option 1: Convert current X license(s) to Pro for free. Converting the license in your Themeco account will not affect your live site, it is purely an administrative process. It IS a one-way street however, so make sure you want to use Pro and that you have read the upgrade article referenced below as it explains the process after switching your license.
  • Option 2: Keep old sites on X and start building new sites on either X or Pro. You will still need a unique license for each project as always.

Takeaway: Play around with Pro first before making the decision. There is no right or wrong choice.

What Is The Main Difference Between X and Pro

Pro includes many advanced features starting with native header, content, and footer builders. In addition there is a color manager, an efficient new way to manage CSS, flexbox controls, and a true β€œapp-like” experience that is native, fast, and built to be a workhorse.

X includes more opinionated design options that allow for quick prototyping through features like our Expanded Demos. These demos recreate the exact look of what you see including all pages, text, sliders, images, etc and are exclusively available in X (with several new ones in V5).

These are distinct products that cater to varying customer needs and preferences. As such, we do not recommend one over the other nor do we think you have to only use one product or the other. As many of our customers are creative professionals, this ultimately means an option based on the needs and budget of the project. Either way, we'll support you every step of the way.

If you are interested to work with Pro, you've made the right choice! If you are interested to work with X, you've made the right choice!

Takeaway: Pro is not better than X, it is different.

Are You Phasing Out X?

No. Let me make this abundantly clear and in no uncertain terms: this is not a strategy to phase out, give up on, forget about, or do anything else even remotely negative related to our flagship product. Quite the contrary, actually.

Think of it like a push mower and a riding mower. Suppose you were in the market for a push mower and weren't really that interested in mowers themselves, you just knew that you needed one.

Imagine that the lawn care place told you that instead of a push mower what you really needed was a riding mower. Because after all it's faster, better, and can cut grass faster!

But what happens if you have a small yard? A riding mower not only wouldn't be appropriate, think what you would say if someone tried to tell you this was what you needed?

Now imagine that the company offered you a hybrid, push/riding mower. That would solve everyone's needs, right?

Sure, that's an option. But I'm guessing you already know what happens in the long run. Both the people who just need a push mower and the people who need a riding lawn mower are sacrificing functionality because one product is trying to be all things to all people.

We would rather that not be the case for our customers and products. Instead of making just one product and telling both groups to sacrifice their needs, we would rather uniquely cater to both segments with products that either can use.

We love creative professionals who obsess over pixel perfect layouts just as much as we love the DIYer who just needs something quality at an affordable price. We also love the DIYer who wants to become a creative professional and is simply looking for the right mix of product, community, and support to help them on their way.

So can a creative professional use X? Absolutely...they already do! Can a DIYer use Pro? 100%. It may take more time to learn, but ultimately the decision is now in their hands.

On our end, we have a clear vision and roadmap with a growing development team who wake up every day passionate about websites and the people who need them.

Takeaway: Don't buy a hybrid push/riding mower.

Learning Curve

If you opt to go the Pro route, keep in mind there is a LOT of power so be prepared to play around, do some reading, brush up on you terminologies (especially Flexbox), and remember we’re here to help.

In many ways, we view the support our development team provides as our best β€œtheme feature.” We understand people come into site building from lots of different backgrounds and with lots of different goals.

Our team is standing by to assist with any questions you may have, but please also make sure you have first read the changelog for this release and any additional changelogs these first few weeks after release as we expect there to be several.

Takeaway: There is always a bit of a learning curve, and we're here to help.

Future Development Timeline

There will most likely be several updates these first few weeks to address bugs and small improvements. This is normal and expected when something of this magnitude goes live.

Feature wise, the two biggest ticket items we are building next for X and Pro are the revamped templating system referenced above and V2 Elements. You can think of V2 Elements as the advanced controls you see in Pro but for all β€œpage building” Elements in both X and Pro plus new Elements. There are many other items, but those are two of the biggest.

Our changelog includes detailed notes about everything you need to know from a technical point of view so be sure to read through that as many times as needed.

Takeaway: There will be bugs. We will squash them. Mankind will prevail.

Quick Note on Naming

If you are referring to the X Theme, please refer to that as β€œX” from now on. If you are referring to the Pro Theme, please refer to that as β€œPro.”

If you see someone confused, please help them out so we can all be on the same page with the naming. It may take a little while as not everyone will update at once.

Takeaway: Either way, we're all Themeco πŸ™‚

Final Thoughts

Whether it is your 500th license of your first, our entire team is thankful for the opportunity to serve you and your business. We are committed to keeping you on the cutting edge of website creationβ€”in WordPress or beyondβ€”through a product and service line that allows you to work faster and smarter...all backed by your friends at Themeco.

There has also been a lot of pent up demand for these features so please remember a) you need to determine if this type of control is right for you and b) your patience as we work through initial bugs will be rewarded. With our roadmap and your feedback, these products have very exciting days ahead!

There are many more announcements coming soon (including a full explanation of what this mysterious β€œApex” is that you may have heard about), so even though this stage is complete it ultimately just marks the beginning of the next phase.

We are in the process of rebuilding our community site and forums, and we look forward to sharing that with you when it is ready. Our primary goal is to modernize all communication systems and curate the support topics better so you can quickly find answers to your questions and connect with our staff/others in the community.

I'd like to end by sending a very heartfelt thank-you to Kory Wakefield and Alexander Rohmann, the lead developers of this project. They have put in an inordinate amount of work, including many late nights and weekends to bring this new vision to life.

To their wives, children, family, and friendsβ€”thank-you for graciously sharing your quality time with these quality men.

To the future,

  • Pro – Overview of all the new features in Pro. Existing X license holders can convert for free or stay using Xβ€”both products will continue to be developed and supported. There is a trial license in your Themeco account to test Pro as converting your license is a one-way process and cannot be undone. You should not have any site issues switching from X to Pro, but do make sure you read the changelog and conversion articles below.
  • How to Convert from X to Pro – Detailed article covering everything you need to know. Or you can sit back and relax while we take care of it for you from just $99 (must be logged into Themeco account). Note: The update itself is free. The $99 is an optional, paid service where we do the update on your site. If you are updating your own site DO NOT do so without a backup first. Things can and do go wrong.
  • Pro Tutorials – There are many new articles on the Knowledge Base under the Pro section heading. We are also going to be adding many new Q/A articles to the Knowledge Base in the coming weeks based on frequently asked support questions for both X and Pro. These will all be searchable and on-demand.
  • Changelog – We expect several updates these first few weeks to address bugs and improvements, so make sure you visit the Changelog for all technical notes related to X (v5) and Pro (v1). You are more than welcome to hold off on updating until the dust settles.
  • Version Compatibility – This page on our Knowledge Base lists the latest supported version of all of Themeco products, Extensions, and integrated plugins. Get to know it well and reference this if you are curious when support for a particular version of a plugin is live.