Version 5: Progress Report

- 80 Comments

x-version-5-update

I wanted to give everyone a progress report as to where we are with Version 5 of X and some adjustments we’ve made along the way. First off, there have been several sneak peaks along the way, so if you have not had a chance to review those first please do so here (must be in the X User Facebook group to see this one) and here.

A Quick Analogy

Imagine you are on an island surrounded by water on all sides. For all intents and purposes you have the necessary tools needed to get off that island, however you are responsible for not just building your own bridge but for all the future people who will use that road. You know enough to know you want to get off the island, but since you physically can’t see the land on the other side (yet), you start building.

Somewhere along the way, the other side starts to come in to view. There IS land over there! But you realize that the bridge you have built thus far is not going to be suitable to make it to the other side. You trek back across the bridge already created to begin anew with this new found knowledge.

As you get back to the spot you originally stopped you notice something astonishing. There is a friend on the land you are trying to reach building a bridge out to you! You work all the harder and realize that with double the effort, the gap will be shortened in half the time! Both sides work hard only to meet in the middle and discover they are not properly aligned. While they could patch something together and get across, they both know this would not best serve the many people in the future who will use this road.

Resolute and re-committed they each go back to their respective sides and begin again.

Building the bridge

Building the bridge

In many ways, this represents both the challenge and opportunity of our plans for V5 of X. Creating the construct for what we are going to introduce in this latest version does not exist anywhere in WordPress and in many ways is like starting to build a bridge to land you can’t fully see.

Along the way, we’ve had to make adjustments and at some points complete rewrites of thousands of lines of code. Whole ideas we developed had to be scrapped and re-imagined. While on some level this is challenging, this is what our customers pay us to do, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.

Each new challenge presents a silver lining with the proper perspective, and each of these silver linings create a stronger product for you to use.

Thankfully, we are past the point in the story where both sides have seen each other and we are well underway with connecting the bridge :) Here are a few more specifics.

The Footer Builder

One of the exciting updates is that the footer builder will be included in 5.0! All things considered, it felt incomplete to not offer this other builder from the outset even though we had planned it for a later release. Much of this new building experience is about seamlessly jumping from world to world (global to on page to header to footer), and being able to build your footers with the degree of control you will be able to build headers felt important.

While not in our original scope for V5, we are pleased to announce you’ll now have two new builders to utilize in 5.0!

Mapping In Modules

We are to the stage of actually mapping in the modules. Modules are like Elements in the page builder but for headers and footers. These modules are developed in such a way where you will be able to manipulate virtually everything in a powerful control panel (in real time of course) to create beautiful new orientations and layouts.

We want to be extra careful with this step as we have had the markup for the modules written for months, however now that we are building them into the builder, we are painstakingly going through each control to insure everything works as intended. There are many creative decisions still made in this time as we see that certain decisions made previously need to be tweaked, could be done better, or don’t need to be there at all based on what we know now.

V2 Elements with Advanced Controls

For quite a while we have planned to bring more advanced controls to Elements in Cornerstone. These new controls will not be in V5 (for the page building part – they will for headers and footers) BUT the foundation that you will see in headers and footers is exactly what will be utilized to bring you V2 Elements. What we have built – and what will be debuted in V5 – is the blueprint for how those advanced controls will be brought to Cornerstone’s Elements.

I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself at this point, but the important takeaway is that the foundation we have built here is for the next several years of X and Cornerstone development. It is strong, powerful, and built for the future. We have a very clear roadmap here, and this is one of the key reasons proper execution here is so critical.

New Senior Level Developer

Starting November 1, we are bringing on a new senior level developer to assist with production on our timeline. Developing at this level in a team setting can be a real challenge if the proper processes are not in place (which is why many products have one main developer), however we have an ambitious future roadmap (remember, 100% of the theme market) :) so we are excited to expand that team to three. His first month will be working through some fringe but important projects, and we are excited to grow the pace at which we can bring you future core developments.

How Long?

We have approximately four weeks of work to map in all of the remaining modules and a week of final polish. There will no doubt be some further refinements in that window including complementary work being done on the live preview and live editing side of things while those modules are being mapped, but that is our final punch list. Either way at the end of that time frame you will receive another update from me, and it is my hope that update will be announcing the beta. Please keep in mind that there may be some new discoveries in this final push that need to be addressed. As much as we want to get this release out yesterday, we want it to be done right and to the highest of standards. After the beta and addressing any final bugs and kinks discovered in that time, we’ll be ready to rock and roll.

I’ll have more substantive info for you on the process during our beta, but thank-you in advance for your patience through this season. To say we are excited about what this will mean for our current and future customers is an understatement! This will not just be an exciting leap forward for the future of X and Cornerstone, it will be an exciting leap forward for web building as a whole.

All my very best,
Kyle

UPDATE: December 1, 2016

80 Comments on “Version 5: Progress Report”

    1. Tedd

      This ongoing rapport is what puts X on par with the better theme makers. Elegant Themes for one, has always been excellent and makes it a point to send out surveys on large theme updates to get input on what developers would like to see in the next version. I recommend that the developers responsible for X will do this more often. X is a great theme and I will continue to use it, but there are other themes that have greater flexibility. Out of respect for Themeco, and the X developers, I will not mention any of those themes. Still, you guys are great theme developers and I’m very much looking forward to what I will be able to do with V5 of X.

      1. Themeco

        Thank-you, Tedd! I’ve been friends with Nick from ET for years and think they are a wonderful company. We are most excited about the future of X and what this update will provide and look forward to you getting to experience it as well!

    1. Themeco

      Yes sir, those will stay until advanced controls are done. Basically all the existing elements will continue to use inline style attributes, and new elements released won’t require them. Inline style attributes have the highest CSS precedence, so removing them outright could break peoples existing pages.

  1. Alex

    What a great analogy! Going to steal it for my next panel or talk that I give. 😉 Great news. Keep up the awesome work guys! X THEME rocks. We like it so much, we even flipped up a dedicated THANK YOU page for all your support guys/gals here –> http://fit.farm/thanks-for-all-the-help/ <– , who are second-to-none. Great stuff. Can't wait. Cheers.

    1. Themeco

      Wow, Alex that is AWESOME! I will be sure to pass it along to the rest of the team!! (and steal away)

  2. Roland

    I’ve been trying several new themes recently but none compare to X.

    Sure, there are themes with cool elements and design features.
    But when you look at how robust those themes are, and how well structured/tested the product is, they leave a lot lacking.

    While X may not be the flashiest theme, it has a phenomenal workflow, amazing support, rock solid reliability, and is well thought out.

  3. Premier Web Development Tempe

    We’ve started using X theme for our last few new clients. We’re definitely going to be moving forward with putting as many new clients on X theme as possible, especially with these enhancements. I found myself having to tweak the header on client sites and I’ll no longer have to do that with these changes. Extremely helpful! Thank you.

    1. Themeco

      Thrilled to hear that, and that is exactly right! Building headers (and footers) will be a wonderfully new and creative experience.

  4. Daylan

    I am really excited about all of the improvements advancements being brought to X. I am curious as to how I would be able to sign up for being a beta tester?

    P.S I also just simply enjoy reading your updates as They tell a story not just a bunch of technical jargon.

    Daylan

  5. Tony

    All of this stuff sounds fantastically complicated. For me, and I suspect many others, X would be a lot more user friendly if you would just include a straightforward WYSIWYG editor in Cornerstone!

  6. Mike

    Hey guys great theme. Looking forward to the future release.

    Please take WCAG 2.0 into consideration for accessibility features that you guys say your theme follows. I like in Ontario Canada and we have some strict rules to follow with something called AODA.
    If the x theme and all the components like cornerstone followed these best practices I would use this theme for every project. So intuitive and easy to use/customize.

    Please please please. More wai-aria and wcag 2.0 support. I think you would gain more customers and your theme would become huge here in Ontario.

    Thanks again. Great theme. Can’t wait to show off a site that is in development.

    1. Themeco

      Thanks, Mike!

      While we have always included WAI-ARIA roles to better mark out sections of content for the user and strategically layout our page content to ensure best practices, X has never claimed to adhere to any specific set of accessibility standards. That being said, many items relating to accessibility are up to the user of the theme while designing the website itself, such as text color contrast, et cetera.

      We do have an issue open in GitHub that has some notes related to this to further investigate down the road.

      Cheers!

  7. Nikki

    I was wondering if the option of being able to integrate different elements from other themes within the x theme could be used. Example, let’s say I like something in one stack and needed it in another stack. Can you mix and match different parts from one stack and use it in another stack to make it just how you want it..
    Thank you!

  8. Todd

    Super excited about your commitment to the product we love. That said …PLEASE enable body copy on portfolio pages. I had to hard code it myself which was a bit of a pain

    1. Themeco

      Hi Todd,

      Portfolios are a bit of their own world currently due to how they are setup and intended to work, however if you have any feature requests, feel free to share them in our forum as our team there has a process for managing customer feedback. Cheers, my friend!

  9. Marten

    Hope we’ll ger options to use portfolio items in cornerstone too. There isn’t even an element for it, just for posts :( as if you shouldn’t use it. and a builder for portfolio and post pages would be nice too!… just a thought.

    1. Themeco

      Hi Marten,

      We do have some plans for portfolios and grid building in general that we’ll be looking into down the road.

      Cheers!

  10. Angela Monroe

    I’m so excited now! Thanx for communicating the process so well. It makes us trust you and believe we made the right choice using X for our precious clients.

    I totally get that the current focus are these major changes. Once they are in place, I believe many designers with so so front end skills would very much love two more elements – testimonial slider and client logos.

    <3

    1. Themeco

      Yes ma’am! We know there are some Elements that need to be added and look forward to addressing those once these big structural developments are in place. Cheers!

  11. Johan Schack Petersen

    Keep up the good work!

    I once had a dream of finding a theme, that didn’t require any skills in coding. After years of search and long breaks of defeat, I finally found you! Thanks for being the best, and thanks to all of your support staff.

    Best,
    Johan

    1. Themeco

      Hi Johan,

      That is wonderful to hear, my friend…thank-you! I’ll be sure to pass this along to the rest of the team.

      Cheers!

  12. Steve

    I remember reading the original post on Envato – The last WordPress theme you will ever need. *Chortle Chortle.

    Who’s laughing now. I’ve not touched another theme for the last two years. By focusing my attention on one product and offering one core service I’ve managed to take my failing business that I was about to close and transform it into the UK’s leading authority on website strategy and planning. In a recent video, I recorded there is mention of this and there is a reason that the “as featured in” banner on my homepage has Themeco with the biggest logo. I love them like a child, always nurturing and full of happy surprises as they grow.

  13. Harish

    Hey Team,
    Thank you for the update and the X theme. I have bought one license and I am happy about it.
    I just wanted to know, are you planning to add any new elements in the X page builder in Cornerstone?I am anxious to know that.

    1. Themeco

      Hi Harish,

      We do have some plans for new Elements after V5. Most likely we will first start by adding the V2 Elements with advanced controls (think the Elements you have now but with much more granular control in the builder).

      Cheers!

  14. Bonnie from Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

    These new updates to X Theme sound excellent – the header builder looks wonderful. I’ve been using X Theme (with Slider Revolution) for our website since April this year with great success, but the new features in Version 5 look incredible and I can’t wait to implement some of them on our website.

    Thanks again to the team for everything you do!

  15. Dawn

    This is so cool! I’m using X exclusively these days for all my customers as well as for my partner’s customers. Just to be sure – the new rollout of 5 isn’t going to cause breaks or having to rebuild pages on older sites, right? I ran into some of that when I started using Cornerstone.

    Thank you for all you do!

    1. Themeco

      Hi Dawn,

      Creating a seamless update experience is priority 1, 2, and 3 for us :) Having said that, there are certain times markup changes require some edits on the customers end. While we do not foresee the need for that on this particular update as virtually everything is additive at this point, if there do happen to be any important things related to V5 and existing sites we will be sure to spell that out in detail on our Changelog. Markup changes like that are very rare and only if absolutely necessary. It’s also important to keep in mind that the vast majority of issues people run into when it comes time to update have to do with how they have customized core theme files and is not something we could have prevented as it was changed by the customer.

      We’re thrilled to know you are using X exclusively these days, and we look very forward to continuing to work together on all your future client sites!

  16. Guido

    We love X-theme and we sure appreciate a good update. We’ve switched from Avada to X when Avada went to version 4 which created so many problems around other plugins like Yoast. Their answer was “just use another plugin” and “it’s Yoast’s fault, not ours”. Although Cornerstone is very promising we prefere Visual Composer because Cornerstone still lacks in several areas and because VC has update packs like Massive Addons that give great flexibility. We’re a bit conserned that X will completely fase out Visual Composer. Hopefully Themeco won’t remove the ability to use VC but give us the choice. This way we will be very pleased customers for a long time to come. As soon as Cornerstone is as complete as we feel VC to be we’ll switch over immediatly. Will v5 of X still support VC?

    1. Themeco

      Yes sir, VC will continue to be supported for those who wish to use it. We do recommend people use the native VC option so the experience is familiar to how VC works across the board. We have many improvements in store for Cornerstone of which this V5 update will begin to introduce (and are necessary for the future additions to Cornerstone). Things like V2 Elements with advanced controls are a big part of that as referenced above.

      We appreciate the current and future business, Guido!

  17. Drake

    Seriously can’t wait for v5. Header/footer builder is the biggest request by far. I imagine many of us will take great joy in switching from Ubermenu across various sites.

    Again, glad to see that the goal toward lean, performance-driven code, is the focus. I know more features means more code, but code is art. Keep up the great work!

    Oh and when is the next X summit? I sent R a suggestion and really want to see if it is possible!

    1. Themeco

      Hey Drake,

      Powerful, performant code is the name of the game, and Kory and Alex have done a phenomenal job! I can’t wait for everyone else to see it live :)

      I’ll check with Rubin on your suggestion, keen to know what it is. We are thinking late April (tentatively) for the next Summit and look forward to seeing you there! Thank-you for the continued partnership, my friend…we look forward to many years to come!

  18. Henry

    Hey Kyle and Team! Very excited to follow the progress towards v 5! Thanks very much for sharing and keeping us all updated, look forward to trialling the beta. You guys are amazing. Henry

  19. Verena Vaid

    Hi, as a “stupid beginner” in everything I love just the informations about what’s coming up – even if I won’t be able to use them 😉
    Thanks, team !

  20. Meng

    Any chance Cornerstone will be supporting custom elements when X version 5 is launched? A lot of us working with X are eager to start including our own objects into Cornerstone for optimal end-user friendliness :)

    1. Themeco

      Hi Meng,

      People have been able to map in their own Cornerstone Elements for almost a year now :) There are several for sale on CodeCanyon and there is a big Addons product in the works by a well known company. You can find more info on custom elements in this article from our KB.

      Cheers!

  21. len Chappell

    A friend of mine introduced me to the X Theme, when I was struggling with work flow on https://www.forcesonline.org.uk which is a large UK Armed Forces Sign posting site, and the interaction between X Theme and Cornerstone has really changed the way we work, enabling us to finish the styling and now we are finally in content phase, and although we still have a long way to go we are on track thanks to X Theme

    1. Themeco

      Thank you for sharing, Len! We love knowing that our products have helped move you towards the finish line :)

  22. Keld

    I am considering buying X for our new site, but makes me hesitate is all of the examples have a fixed top header menu. I am wondering if it is possible (or will be possible in v5) to have a basic header that just scrolls up… like e.g. on newrelic.com?

    1. Themeco

      Yes, you can select now from static (disappears out of view when you start scrolling) or fixed – that’s been an option since 1.0 :)

  23. Jesper

    If we purchase v4 today, will v5 be a free update? And will it be possible (easy) to update all content from v4 to v5?

    1. Themeco

      Yes sir, updates are free! Updating from V4 to V5 shouldn’t be a problem, and we’ll be sure to list any potential notes of consideration (if there are any) at time of release.

  24. Aaron

    X is are go to wordpress theme for websites, and marketing efforts. In addition, VSF Marketing is currently utilizing X for all websites under management. We are very thankful and appreciative of Themeco!

    1. Themeco

      And we appreciate you, Aaron! Looking forward to seeing you again at the next Summit and continuing to work with VSF!

  25. Ian Gordon

    My biggest fear is that pagespeed will take a hit from all of the scripts that have to load when using different modules. I think this is a huge concern for many developers.

    I am sure you always consider page weight and ability for the websites to load quickly and work well on mobile devices.

    1. Themeco

      Hi Ian,

      Version 5 won’t introduce any new script loads. Our current pre-optimized scripts will have some extra added to them to support the modules, but that won’t have any measurable effect on your load time. We do always take into account how the various development decisions affect performance as that is a chief concern.

      Cheers!

  26. Vasily

    Heh, exactly what i’m looking and waiting for with X. Thank you for adding such an amazing features!

  27. Imran Mughal

    Stoked and eagerly awaiting the next update. My volunteer work consists of building sites for fairly large non-profit organizations, and over the last year I’ve moved them all to “X”. Much of it has to do with how clean and purpose built the theme is – performing superbly. It has made my life easier especially with the real-time preview using the customizer. Thank you again, and keep up the good work.

  28. jessie

    hope this update will release soon as i need this very badly for all my site :)
    after this release x theme will be a perfect theme for me

  29. Jens

    Hi gents,

    have you got a release date already? I am close to redoing my website and I was wondering if I should wait for version 5. I got the 4 right now.

    Cheers, Jens

    1. Themeco

      Hi Jens,

      We’re posting weekly progress reports on our Facebook page as we head towards the finish line. We appreciate you, Jens!

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