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Cinematic Web Template Tutorial

Cinematic Web Template Introduces Cinemagraphs to Template Design

Cinematic is our first website template to introduce the option of a video or animated gif to be used in the header of the page. One of the latest design trends in marketing are Cinemagraphs. Cinemagraphs are basically video’s that include both stationary sections and moving sections. It’s like an image where a small part of the image is animated or moving, while the rest is stationary and not moving.

The Step by Step Guide to Updating Cinematic

The Cinematic template includes 4 different versions of the ‘index’ or home page. The default home page you see in the online demo, and in your template package uses the YouTube video loader as the default option for loading your home page video into the header of the page.

When you first download and open your template package you’ll see there is the basic folder structure for a web template including the default pages in the root, and you’ll also notice there are several index… pages.

Each of these index pages has a different option for displaying the cinemagraph in the header.

Let’s run through the list, then the reason for the different options and where or when you might ‘best’ put them to use.

index.htm

The index.htm uses the Youtube video loader as it’s default option. The YouTube video loader is probably the best option for most people. It is the fastest loading of all the options, and you only need to upload 1 video file / format to youtube to make it work. Setting up a YouTube account is free, quick and easy, as is uploading a video. You can take you own video ( try for HD 1280×720 or 1920×1080 ), upload to YouTube, copy the video id into your template and you’re done!

index-embedded-cinemagraph.htm

This is a bit of a unique page in the package as it’s the only one where we didn’t include a working example of an actual cinemagraph.

This page is designed to load a cinemagraph from an online service such as Flixel or Giphy. Because it’s a template, and we don’t know the final purpose of the website we’re not able to license an actual embedded cinemagraph for demonstration purposes or even a themed cinemagraph. For this you will need to contact the web site providing the cinemagraph and arrange your own licencing.

This template page is provided just as an option, for anyone interested in licensing their own cinemagraph.

Two websites where you can find some really cool cinemagraphs are:

Flixel: https://flixel.com/

Giphy: https://giphy.com/

Check the licensing of the images with any website where you are not the owner of the cinemagraph.

Example: Contact Flixel

index-gif-cinemagraph.htm

This page loads the animated gif version of the cinemagraph. This is where the pro’s and con’s differ the most. The pro’s are you don’t need to load from an external source and it’s the easiest to changes and update. The con’s are the file size for animated gif’s are much larger than the mp4 video format used by youtube or other embedded sources, and animated gif’s can’t be compressed, so it can slow the load time of your web page and you may also take a hit on google page speed because gif’s can not be optimized to load faster.

**NOTE** In your template package, we’ve only included a place holder ‘gif’ file for this page, not a themed and animated gif. If you want to use this page you’ll need to replace the included ‘gif’ with your own animated gif.

index-html5-cinemagraph.htm

The last option allows you to load your own video, hosted locally on your own server. The upside is you don’t need to load from an external source, so you don’t need a youtube account, or check licensing for flixel or giphy. The downside is you need to make sure your web server’s MIME type is setup to run video, and you also need to provide the video in 3 formats

  • mp4
  • ogv
  • webm

Not all web browsers support the native mp4 video format, so you’ll need to provide all 3 video formats to support all web browsers.

**NOTE** In your template package, we’ve only included a place holder ( mp4, webm, ogv ) files for this page, these are placeholders files and not themed for your template. If you want to use this page you’ll need to replace the included ( mp4, webm, ogv ) files with your own.

Sourcing Cinemagraphs

You may want to source your own cinemagraph, and most of the websites that license images, also license cinemagraphs. Such websites as istockphoto.com or shutterstock.com now have large libraries of cinemgraph video’s if you need something new for your template.

Updating your Cinematic Template

Here’s an introduction video that will demonstrate how to update the cinemagraph video in the header of your index pages:

Setup and Installation Instructions

Installation (all packages)

Planning & Preparation (all packages)

Working with Pages (all packages)

Publishing (all packages)

 

Google PageSpeed for Noobs and the clueless Part 1

When I first encounter Google PageSpeed, and tested it out I felt like such  Noob. If you’re one of those folks who’ve heard of this thing called Webmaster tools and you’ve been afraid to commit figuring it’s too complex, you’re not alone! But we’ll see what we can do to help soften the learning curve a bit.

I’ve read many articles on Google Page Speed now, but none have addressed the issues that face those of us that were raised on Web Editors and Web Templates. This article is for anyone who:

  • has built their website using a web template in Dreamweaver, Expression Web, FrontPage or SharePoint Designer
  • relies upon the Design Window of Dreamweaver or Expression web to edit their content
  • finds the information provided by Google’s Page Speed web page to be a bit over their head
  • want’s some help with improving their page speed ranking

So what is Google PageSpeed?

It’s one of Google many tools or metrics that may help to determine the over all placement of your web pages in Google’s search rankings when compared to the other pages displayed for the same search terms .. also known as your competition.

I said “may help to determine” as the only people who really know the exact formula’s are currently working for google and probably buried under a pile of non disclosure agreements, so they’ll never tell. Everything you read in this article will be my opinion.  And my opinion is google changes or updates their algorithm on a regular basis and one of the latest “tools” they have released is PageSpeed Insights.

Insights is a tool that determines how fast your web pages load. And gives suggestions on how you can improve the load time.

Why is this important?

How fast your pages load may have an impact on how well you rank in the search results. There are many factors that go into how google determines where your web pages will rank for a given search query.  If you are relying upon google for search results, as in this is your business and you need good rankings you’ll probably want to hire a reputable SEO firm to help out as Insights is just a tool to help with one of the ‘thousand’ ( according to google ) of ranking factors in their search algorithms. How important a factor is unknown to me, and no one at google is willing to share.

NOTE: Page Speed is not the ONLY factor that affects your search rankings. If you’re in a situation where your search results are falling and you’re looking for every advantage you can find,  hiring a good SEO firm can be very VERY expensive. Some things to consider if this is your business is:

Google Adwords: Advertising is part of doing business, often the most expensive part but Google Adwords is often a less expensive option for getting better listings with Google, and it’s faster.

Get Social: If you’re not interacting with your web visitors via social engagement, good luck. You may as well give up now and see if your competitors are hiring. I mentioned that Page Speed is one of the many factors that help google to determine how well your pages rank for a given search term, another factor is how much chatter there is about your website through social networks. Just as ‘links’ to your website are important the new kid on the block is social media and how it impacts the importance of your website. I’ll be writing an article about this in more detail soon.

Our own experiments and results

When we first learned of Google PageSpeed Insights we did our own experiments on our own website, and our own web templates and thought we’d share.

When we first loaded up www.i3dthemes.com into Google Page Insights ( https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ ) .. the tool used to determine how fast your page loads, and gives it a ranking we scored a whopping 23/100 for Desktop or something as abysmal as that, and worse for Mobile. You probably will too on your first attempt. There’s a lot of things that go into Page Speed as you’ll learn about shortly, and a good chunk of that is server side. We tinkered and tweaked until we were able to hit 89/100 for Desktop and in the high 80’s for mobile, in other words we got the green light. And since then, the key pages that we were monitoring, have had 0 effect on search results. Zero effect. We used the search term “Dreamweaver Templates” which averages about 220, 000 search results. So not a lot of competition but enough to test with. And we haven’t budged in the results.

We were position 6 before we optimized the site / pages for Google Page Speed and now we’ve actually dropped to position 10. Many things have changed with Google in the past few months, and I can’t attribute dropping 4 positions to actually trying to improve our page loading speed, but it hasn’t seemed to have had the positive impact we were striving for.

To continue with the experiment, we also tested the 9 websites that were listed above us in the for the search term ( Dreamweaver Templates ). It’s one thing to try to improve your own rankings but lets not forget that we are actually trying to ‘outrank’ those websites above us, We just need to do things better than they are.

We conducted a Page Speed Test using Google Page Speed Insights on each of the websites ranked above us, and for ALL 9 Websites tested, www.i3dthemes.com scored better than 8 of our competitors and tied with the exact same score with another. Some of the scores were as expected, in the low 20’s and 30’s so they were not even close to being optimized. Other sites may have been optimized at one point, but with updates and changes to the site things become ‘un-optimized’ quite quickly.

It’s been suggested by Google that a faster loading web page may help with getting better search rankings. This is just one of the factors and depending on how competitive your keywords and market place are, but it will be different for everyone. In the experiment we were able to conduct on our own website, it would appear that our competitors have not tried to optimize their web pages for Google Page Speed, and still rank better than we do. And even with optimizing our web pages we have not seen an increase in ranking, but actually the opposite. So from my own experience those few milliseconds that we were able to improve the load time by, have not seemed to have an impact on search results or ranking. With that said, there are so many things that go into google ranking algorithm, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, the things that our competitors ARE doing with their websites and business that are helping them get better rankings which we have no control over.

Google Page Speed and You

I’ve read a lot of articles on Google PageSpeed or Google PageSpeed Insights ( the tool used to determine how fast your web pages load ) but none of the articles address some of the issues that arise especially for new web masters ( aka ‘noobs’ ), or developers who have been working with websites for years using web editors such as Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression Web. There are some inherent down sides to optimizing your website for Insights  the biggest one being the comfort of working with the Design Window in your editor. Many people rely upon the Design view to help them organize and style the content. Google provides a very helpful script you can use to help load your style sheets more effectively and we’ll show you how to implement this in Part 2. Using a script to load style sheets has a downside in that you can’t see the stylesheet styles to the Design View. We’ll get into this in more detail, with a work around.

I’ve experimented with our own web templates, going through the steps suggested by google on how to improve page loading and a few thoughts struck my right off the bat:

  1. this should only be done when your site is complete AND published
  2. you may need to revisit Insights on a regular basis as every time you add an image to your site, or change the CSS
  3. you’ll want to make regular backups or copies of your website

Insights will suggest that you compress your CSS style sheets and and JS files. It may also suggest that you combine stylesheets or JS files. From Google’s perspective it’s faster to load one BIG file, than serveral smaller files. From a Designers or Webmasters perspective it’s much SIMPLER to work with multiple small files, than one BIG CSS file, and it’s pretty much impossible to work with a Compressed CSS file. So there’s a bit of a conflict as Insights basically wants all your CSS and JavaScript bunched together into one big file each, then compressed so it loads faster. While you are building your website you NEED access to readable and manageable CSS and JavaScript files.

Much of the things that Insights is asking for can not be done until your website is completed, and published up to your server. At that time, you can start to combine or compress files.

Here’s the snag though, if you need to make changes to your CSS or JavaScript you will need to un-compress the files, make your changes, then re-compress them.

This sucks.

And probably the reason why so many web masters have not caught onto google PageSpeed Insights. Or as from my own experiments it looks like there was an attempt to improve page loading, and over time the ranking have fallen as the websites get updated. I noticed that with our own website. Some new images, and change to a CSS file and BANG, you’ve just slipped a few points because those few updates were not ‘optimized’ again, for Insights.

So this is were we come in and you come in. What do we web masters who have been relying upon on Web Editors such as Dreamweaver or Expression Web do, with all the things that Google asks of us, and how do we manage our websites once they’ve been optimized and we need to make changes?

I’ll be covering this in Part 2 of this article, a straight up step by step how to guide to first optimize your web site or web template for Google Insights, then some tips on how to improve your score, as well as how to manage your website once it’s been optimized.

Why isn’t my web template optimized for Google PageSpeed Already?

If you’re working with a web template for Dreamweaver, Expression web or any other editor, the chances of your website already being optimized are none. As we go through the step by step guide in Part 2 of this article you’ll see that we not only need to compress the CSS and java script files but we also need to optimize our images. All images, anything you’ve added to your web template, or any images you’ve replaced in your web template need to be optimized AGAIN. There are several ways of doing this, and some web editors such are Dreamweaver have a built in optimization tool ( one of the reasons I like to recommend working with Dreamweaver as it is kept up to date, and new functions added to the software as the specs are changed by w3.org or even by google ).

Optimizing CSS and Javascript files means compressing them using a CSS and or JS minifier tool which you can find online. The downside to this is you NEED those files to be readable and managable while you are building your website because you may need to make changes to the CSS or JS as you are building your website.

A good example of this in CSS is when you want to change the font color of font size for a Slider, or for a hyperlink, you would make these changes within the CSS file. To find the CSS to change, the style sheet needs to be readable,  a minified style sheet is not readable.

Another example using Javascript would be W3 Validation. Many of our templates were created  at a time when HTML5 was still in it’s experimental stage and the HTML5 validation tool provided by w3.org was still being updated for HTML5.  Some of the JavaScript that past initial verification when the template was first developed and packaged may not pass any longer as some of the verification standards have changed over time, or upon final release of the HTML5 spec by w3.org. To update a JS file to pass w3 verification is usually a quick and simple update you can do yourself. If working with a minified js file, it would be impossible in most cases, so many js file files ( especially js files that are for newer components ) will remain uncompressed when the template is packaged as they are easier to update.

You may be wondering why I haven’t suggested downloading a fresh copy of the template with the update? And copy the updated js file over? Several reasons:

  1. The template package may not be updated yet. We need to know about the issue first before we can make an update. We don’t re-test templates once they’ve been packaged so the only way we’ll know is if someone discovers a issue or a specific file or script fails to pass the w3.org test.
  2. We sell many templates to web developers who in turn use the template to build website for their clients. The client may not know their website was built using one of our templates, and would not know to check for an update.
  3. Your js file may be updated as some point in the build either by yourself, or by someone helping to update or troubleshoot your website or website component. Replacing the file would overwrite any changes that you may have made to that file.
  4. Many of the js files in the templates include variables that you may want to change such as a timing of a slider, or you may want to change the type of animation. It would be difficult to find this information in a minified file.

And finally, something to keep in mind. Most websites and templates were created BEFORE Google Insights was launched, and much of the html and file construction was created or designed to make the updating and management of the website simpler than it would be combining and compressing the files that you may need access to. Now that designers and developers are aware of how Insights works we can take steps to build our templates with this in mind.

An Expert Interview about WordPress vs Web Templates

One of the questions I most often get from our new customers or web developers is what’s the difference between working with WordPress vs working a web template. I try to keep the answer simple to start with, then fill in the blanks with some specific questions about what is most important to them in building or maintaining a website.

The Easy Answer

Actually the answer isn’t easy, the question is easy. Most people first want to know what is easier to work with, WordPress or web template. So which is easier? It depends on what you are doing. I usually answer the question about which is easier by stating a few parameters first. Sort of a programmers ‘if else’ statement if you don’t mind they geek speak.

If you’ll be making consistent updates to the content and adding new content to your site on a regular basis, then WordPress will most likely be easier for you as that is what it designed to do, work with content.

The Not So Easy Answer

Now here’s where my answer gets muddy. If you want to modify the look and feel of your website, or have complete control over the layout of your content then you may find a web template to be more to your likening. WordPress does allow for modifying the look and feel, but a web template allows you total access to the HTML and CSS giving you complete control over the look and feel.

What do I Use the Most

It depends on what I’m doing, but it varies. I use WordPress exclusively for my online tutorials, and articles as that’s what it does best. I don’t need to have control over the look and feel of my blog site as it’s completely content focused as is my tutorial website, just articles, pictures and videos. Because these two websites are content focused I don’t feel the need for tight control over the look and feel, at least nothing that WordPress can’t manage. But I do like the convenience of firing up my web browser, and quickly updating a tutorial or adding a new article without the need to create a new web page, or update then FTP an existing web page. That’s for me, I also work on our charity website www.smilingblueskies.com and find that it’s easier to keep up to date, and manage as a web template. There are some VERY strict layout guidelines that I need to stick to with this website, and find that it’s just to finicky for the likes of WordPress. It would take me longer to create the custom CSS or code required in WordPress when I can make a quick update to the template. So it depends on what the goals are, if content is most important and you plan on updating the site often, I would consider WordPress to be a better option.

What About Working With Clients?

Something to consider, is if you want your client to have control over the updates of their website. What I’ve  experienced with working with my own circle of web developers is the client will want the developer to create the site, update and then eventually when it’s all running smoothly and completed turn the site over to the client to update. Usually to keep the cost of maintaining the site down. Some clients just want the site to be built and then hands off after that. Either way, if at some point you plan on handing the website over to the client to manage their own website then they need to have some skills in working with a web editor and Dreamweaver templates or Expression Web templates, or you’d be better of with WordPress and just make sure to teach them how to backup make backups of their website!!!

What About Plugins?

It’s hard to argue that WordPress isn’t overflowing with an abundance of plugins. Somewhere over the 44, 000 mark at the time of writing this article. There probably isn’t a plugin that hasn’t been thought of, or at least thought of and added to theWordPress.org plugin directory. With 44, 000 plugins, you have options. Need to add a newsletter, yup, add security, check, add Buddypress, copy that.

When I’m speaking with clients or developers about WordPress compared to web templates, I will ask if there is any special functionality they are looking for in their website, such as a shopping cart, members page or newsletter sign up. Understanding the full scope of the project helps to determine what the best solution is, web template or WordPress. With WordPress you can definitely get all the functionality of a shopping cart or members login page through one of the available plugins, however and this is a BIG however, finding the ‘right’ plugin can be a daunting task. This is definitely a case of information overload. I’ve had more than a few clients ask me to find a plugin that will work for specific situations and I always let them know ahead of time that I can recommend certain plugins that I’ve worked with and have experience with such as WooCommerce, or WP Commerce ( for shopping carts ) but if it’s for something I have no experience with they may be paying extra for my time to find the right plugin for their needs.

Find the Best Plugins for WordPress

Because WordPress plugins are such a big part of the WordPress experience I thought I better address how to find the best plugins, or at least share with you the approach I take. As I mentioned previously WordPress has an abundance of plugins, often hundreds for the same category. This make finding the best plugin for your needs an often overwhelming task. The only way you’ll really know if the plugin does what you need it to do, is by installing it and testing it out. So first you need to find the plugin, then install it, test it and often at this point something’s gone wrong and you’ve just wasted half an hour.

When a client asks me to add a plugin for them, they usually don’t even know they are asking for a plugin or even what a plugin is, they just ask for a certain type of functionality bell/whistle to be added to their website ( a photo gallery is a good example ) and ask ( or expect ) that I know how to do this. What I do at this point is explain what WordPress plugins are. If their request falls within something I am already familiar with ( such as photo galleries ) I can recommend certain gallery plugins and provide examples so they can see what would work best for them. If they are asking for something I am not familiar with, then I need to inform the client that there will be a charge for the time it takes to research, and test.

In many cases the client has seen something they like on another website, and will just let me know where they found it. And if not, I’ll ask them if they’ve seen what they are asking for on any other websites, and if so provide a link because many times, what they see on other websites are actually WordPress sites running a plugin. That makes it very quick and easy for me to look at the source code in the page, see what scripts are being loaded in, and figure out what plugins are being loaded in. It’s a bit techy, but kind of fun sleuthing through someone’s web page.

Failing that, if I really need to do the grunt work myself I’ll start by googling something like ( The best wordpress photo galleries ) .. then come up with a million hits on ” The 15 Best Examples of…. ” still some research to do, but at least if someone else has done the majority of the leg work for me, I just need to grab a coffee and do a bit of reading. What usually takes the most time if trying to find ‘recommended’ plugins that have all the features the client is requesting.

You can also go directly to the source and (https://wordpress.org/plugins/) search for your plugins, and check out the number of star ratings and  read the reviews. Like any reviews this is something to take with a grain of salt.

In a nutshell, if you work with a client and they want something cool added to their website in the form of a WordPress plugin, if you can ask for an example of where they’ve seen this they you may be able to save a good deal of time and headache trying to meet your clients expectations.

What About Plugins for Web Templates?

This is where the market is lacking, there aren’t that many aside for the plugins we offer, there just aren’t too many plugins for web templates. We are speaking of database plugins similar to what WordPress offers that is. Such as Shopping Cart, Members Area, or Newsletter plugins that you can add to your HTML website. You might be thinking at this point, um, aren’t you just pluging your own stuff? Yes, and no. I just did a google search on shopping cart plugins for web sites, and 7 out of 10 of the top results were referring to WordPress plugins. So the market is flooded with WordPress plugins but such a degree that it’s hard to find an HTML database equivalent. Just for fun I did a search on ( members area database plugin ) and all top 10 results were WordPress related. So let’s just skip to the part where I recommend our own plugins and forget about the competition as it’s taking too much time and effort to find them via google.

What about SEO?

Yes! Finally, to my favorite questions, well this and responsive design because I can prattle on all day about that. SEO, and which is better you may wonder. Based on my experience and opinion ONLY WordPress may have the advantage on this one. For two reasons. Plugins and Google. WordPress is the lovechild of Google and open source content management systems. I say this because I have seen some heavily bloated WordPress sites that rank exceptionally well in Google, but most importantly for folks who are not SEO experts and most of us aren’t, there are WordPress plugins that can help you optimize your web pages for SEO without over optimizing page for SEO. WordPress is a blog system at heart, and blogs are content focused. Google seems to be content focused. That combined with SEO plugins such as Yoast you’ll probably have a bit of an easier time getting your content ranked in google, providing you have good content!

Which Takes the Least Amount of Time to Build?

OK, here’s the simple answer, WordPress. Yes, there may be situations where it’s faster with a web template, but for the average user WordPress is going to take less time. You could have a WordPress site up and running in an hour if you had your content prepared, and a small 5 page site.

Which is the Cheapest?

Both can be free, so they are on even ground, but when it comes to value it depends more on how much time you have to invest ,and how much that time if worth to you.

Diavlo HD for WordPress – Beautiful & Responsive WordPress Theme

Beautiful and Responsive WordPress Theme

Diavlo HD WordPress ThemeWe are so excited to announce the launch of Diavlo HD for WordPress.  This particular theme has been highly anticipated by us on the development team, as well as our regular developer base.  Every week we get asked “is Diavlo going to be available for WordPress“, and our answer is always “we hope very soon!”

There has been an extreme amount of development that has gone into our WordPress Theme Framework the last six months that has lead to this WordPress Theme launch.

Suffice to say, you’ll find the latest widgets, bells, and whistles in this new theme!

Available in ten different colors, and twenty different theme sets, there is sure to be a combination that will suit your needs.

And if it doesn’t strike a chord with you or your customer, we have over 50 other premium wordpress themes to choose from.

How To Have Forms Email You Form Submissions

This is by far the most common dilemma that do-it-yourself web masters come to us about.

The History

Back in the early 2000’s, we catered a lot to Microsoft FrontPage users — one of the nice things with MS FP was that it had a form handler built in to the server side, if you were to publish your site with FrontPage Extensions.

Of course, FrontPage and FrontPage Extensions are not much more than a fading memory.  Dreamweaver is king when it comes to web development these days, but there is no native form handling function built in to Dreamweaver.

For some time, in one form or anther, we have provided in our web templates some facility to process form data.  So that, when someone hits “submit” on your form, something, somehow, bundles up that data, and sends you an email.

Recently, we developed a simple but handy little script that you can use, free of charge, to handle your form submissions.

The Problem

Primarily, most do-it-yourself web developers are not familiar with server side scripting languages.  How do the form fields get from the web page, to your email box?  It isn’t all that complicated, when boiled down to a few lines of PHP code, but suffice to say, if you get one thing wrong, it isn’t going to work.

Download Version 1.6The Solution

We put together a little script that simplifies the configurations.  There is even a facility for using the Google reCAPTCHA facility, for blocking spammers.

We include this in our web template download packages. We’re offering it here for the community should you want to use it. While we are providing this form handling solution free of charge, should you want us to install, configure, or troubleshoot it for you, there may be a nominal fee for our time. You may contact us for more details.

You may download the “process_form.php” script here: download process_form.php (v1.6) (make sure you save it into the root folder of your website — aka, the place where your index.htm “home page” resides)

Basic instructions for using this file are as follows:
FYI: There are more detailed instructions within the process_form.php file itself.

  1. Make sure that any form that you use, uses: action="/process_form.php"Example:<form method="post" action="/process_form.php">
  2. Make sure you publish up your “process_form.php” script, as well as any page that contains your form, up to your web server.
If you are transitioning from a “submit.server-apps.com” form, the above steps are ALL you have to do, as version 1.6 of the form handler will take the from configurations that already exist in your form, and send along the data to the right email address.

Video Instructions

Free WordPress Plugin: Recent Edits

Many inventions or developments are the result of some sort of necessity or frustration.

In the development of our most recent version of our WordPress Theme Framework (v4.2) that is a part of our latest generation of WordPress Themes, I finally got so frustrated with the WordPress dashboard not having any facility to quickly edit recently edited pages, that I wrote a plugin to add that functionality.

Recent Edits Screenshot

You probably are familiar with this type of functionality with such applications as Word, Photoshop, or just about any program that “edits” files.

To be honest, I’m surprised that this sort of functionality doesn’t already exist — WordPress has so many great features built in to the core.  Maybe they’ll consider this in the future, but for the being, you can have it here.

I’ll probably be updating it in the next month with more features (most recent posts, set the number of items to display, link color).  If you have any ideas for functionality you would like to see in this plugin, let me know.

FYI: This plugin is also included within our Aquila Framework WordPress Themes

Aquila WordPress Theme Framework 4.2 Released

I’m pretty excited to announce that version 4.2 is now accessible to all Aquila Framework based WordPress themes in our catalog.  This means, if you already have one, you can run an update and get the latest version of the framework.

This version is a HUGE update.  Literally, I’ve been working on it since June 18th — three whole months.

Why so long?  Lots and lots of cool new features, many distractions, and also a lot of framework for some even “awesomer” features coming down the pipes for our next major WordPress Theme release.

If you haven’t noticed, we haven’t launched a new WordPress Theme in probably four months — why?  Because we’ve got something INCREDIBLE in the works.  We’re hoping to have it out for November 1st.

So, in the meantime, what is so awesome about v4.2?  Let me see…

  • NEW Framework built to handle primary/timed themes, for future new product types.
  • NEW Timeline Layout for Blog added.
  • NEW Technical Support now available directly from a new ‘Support’ tab.
  • NEW Handling for default regions (main content, and footer) in default layouts added
  • NEW Slide interval and dimensions for native sliders now configurable.
  • NEW Support for Retina resolution bitmapped logo.
  • NEW Customizable FavIcon, iPhone, iPad, and iPhone/iPad Retina Icon feature.
  • NEW Now choose from ALL 630+ Google Fonts on the Typography page.
  • NEW Theme Framework will now come with a list of suggested (and possibly required) plugins.
  • NEW Special MASKS are now supported for the InfoBox, Image, and new Flickr Gallery widgets.
  • NEW New Flickr Gallery widget.
  • UPDATE The theme settings area has been completely revamped — now supports bootstrap 3.x
  • UPDATE Contact Forms special component type has been completely revamped, with much better form builder design view editing.
  • UPDATE FAQs can now be reorganized.
  • FIX Resolved issue with Google Fonts not loading through import statement.
  • FIX Resolved issue with widget columns not properly rendering.

Plus a whole lot more that will go towards the next theme.  There was so much work invested in a better UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) when working with the theme settings with this version.  Kind of like iOS7 was for Apple’s iPhones/iPad line.

I’ll be updating the tutorials in the coming weeks, but most everything should be fairly intuitive.