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2 years ago

An explanation of what’s happened with my theme framework

By Jason Theme Forest Updates, WordPress 34 Comments

Back in February 2011 I ended an important chapter in my theme development with the release of Alyeska and decided to open a new one. At that point, I had several themes running on somewhat of a similar theme framework, which I have officially dubbed version 1. These themes included Alyeska, Stealth, FlipBlog and Complexity and they all included similar features.

With these themes setup, selling, and earning me income, it gave me some time to really analyze what I was doing. I didn’t like that it took me three months to create each new WordPress theme. I didn’t like that when someone found some little bug in one theme, it was chaotic for me to try and locate that bug in the other themes. As I tried to come up with new features to add, I started realizing I was so limited by what I already had setup. So, I decided to completely re-think how I create WordPress themes. I decided I would convert my current theme framework into a true “framework” and do it from scratch.

Through educating myself, doing research outside of sloppily finding code snippets on there on the net, reading WordPress’s core files, analyzing every little detail I was coding in, attending WordCamps, and just completely re-doing it all from scratch, I eventually did it; it took 9 months.

I officially released my first theme under this new framework, Swagger, in December 2011. This marked the beginning of version 2 of my theme framework. It was a fairly successful release, and from a functionality standpoint, people seemed to just get it.

So, after the first few quirks were worked out and some bug were fixed, I ambitiously pumped out three more themes under this new framework in a short amount of time – Breakout, Prime Time, and The Arcadian.

I am at a bit of a crossroads still though. I want to make sure all of my previous buyers can have access to these new features that the new framework offers. So, moving forward as I create new themes, I will also start to convert my old themes to this new framework. However, if you’re currently using one of my version 1 themes, you need to understand that this is not a simple “update” for me. Converting an old theme means that I have to completely re-do that theme. And unfortunately the way these big theme marketplaces like ThemeForest are structured, it’s all about having new themes. Without new themes, you eventually fall out of sight. So I will need to mix updating old themes and creating new themes. This will be a long process, but in the end everything will hopefully be on the same page.

34 comments

  • Norris Breeze says:

    Any idea when Alyeska Theme Framework Version 2 will be ready? I guess it would by Alyeska Ver 3.0?

    • Jason says:

      It is now available on ThemeForest.

    • Bob says:

      Jason,

      I just bought your new Swagger theme from Themeforest.com and it fails installation everytime! WordPress states:
      Unpacking the package…

      Installing the theme…

      The package could not be installed. The theme is missing the style.css stylesheet.

      Theme install failed.
      I need a refund!

    • Jason says:

      lol… not much of a “people person”, are we Bob?

      This just means you’re not installing the right files. You’re trying to install the entire ZIP package you downloaded from ThemeForest that includes psd files, documentation, the theme, everything. You need to install the swagger.zip file inside. Here’s a nice little video tutorial that will hold your hand while you do this. https://vimeo.com/16681463

      In the future if you need support, all you have to do is (a) not post like a jerk and (b) post on ThemeForest like everyone else and not randomly on my personal blog http://themeblvd.com/support/#section-2

  • michael says:

    Awesome themes, great support! Nice addition I like the commitment to innovation.

  • Dan says:

    Wow..I just did purchase swagger..Its more than what I expected..
    I think this post is more than I expected as well, what your saying is..if you bought a old theme hang in there..updates are coming..well I wish mixey, kriesi and others would do this as well..This type of commitment is on par with studiopress and woo..I know I am going to purchase more themes from you now for sure.
    Thanks, really thank you..

    • Jason says:

      Awesome, glad to hear it.

      Ya, I try take the approach that my portfolio of themes should be like it’s own little store. So for example take your situation. You found Swagger and liked how it works. It would be nice if you could back to my themes and pick another design for a different site, knowing they all work like Swagger… but as of now that’s not the case, and it bugs me a little.

  • kate says:

    Ok. So we just formally spread the word less than 2 weeks ago that our company site has officially launched and for folks to check it out. And they did. And honestly I was pumped to be done with it as it takes forever to do even with fabulous templates, but nonetheless happy with the results. Now that people know about it and that we’re therefore getting more clients, I’m hesitant to make the big switch in terms of time / learning curve of new layout, etc.

    Is there a way that I can download the updated version of Alyeska, build it offline to the new version then upload/ date everything on wordpress? Is there a dead/time line that you recommend for the transition?

    thanks!

    • Jason says:

      Sure you can. I know I personally build all my themes, and back when I was doing client work, built all my sites locally on my computer. You need to setup a local server on your computer, and then you can simply install WordPress. To setup a local server you can use MAMP if you’re on a Mac and you can use WAMP if you’re on a PC. Both of these are free applications you can google for more info on.

  • Cowboy Mike says:

    Hi Jason,
    I am very interested in your responsive design themes and framework. I have 3 sites to build. I do have some questions about them. I dont want to pollute your blog with those questions unless you feel its appropriate. Please advise what you would prefer me to do or please contact me at my email address.
    Happy trails, Cowboy Mike

    • Jason says:

      Hi, just post over in the comments section for one of the themes that you’re interested in purchasing, whether it’s at MOJO or ThemeForest. Feel free to ask questions about more than just the theme you post one.

  • Claire Kerr says:

    Hi – is the Barely Corporate that I can get on Themeforest now updated to fit this new framework of yours?

    Thanks.

  • How can I tell which version of Alyeska I have. I think I purchased it last March.

    • Jason says:

      In your WordPress admin panel, if you go to Appearance > Themes, it will say a version number next to your Alyeska theme. But if you downloaded it last March and haven’t updated, you have a really old version. That’s when it was originally released.

  • Bob Cola says:

    Hey Jason,
    Love the new version 2 framework – got Arcadian and am enjoying it very much. I have a site that’s running Alyeska and one that’s running Complexity. I d’loaded the new Alyeska and have a question — if I use version 2, will I lose any of the pages/portfolios, etc that were done in version 1? If there is something posted about this I haven’t found it yet and you can just point me to it if there is. I particularly love what you’ve done with floating widgets, sliders and the Layout Builder is just awesome. Great stuff! Thanks for making life a bit easier.

  • rogueland says:

    I picked up your Breakout theme over at Mojo and it’s been great to work with but I’m not sure which version of your framework it’s using.

    Will Breakout be falling on the wayside? It’s not an issue for what I’m using it for since I’m still eyeing up some of your other offerings (I just love them for the framework, so sue me) for the another project.

    • Jason says:

      You’re using the latest and greatest, my friend.

      If you go to Appearance > Theme Options in your WordPress admin panel, and look at the bottom of the options you will see something like:

      Breakout v1.x.x with Theme Blvd Framework v2.x.x

      Followed by a link to a Changelog so you can know what version is the most recent over on Mojo. I do continue to keep all themes up-to-date, whether they are on Mojo or ThemeForest.

  • rogueland says:

    Awesome, awesome! Keep up the great work!

  • dean says:

    So is Swagger version 2 or version 1? The one I got shows up as version 1 in Themeforest changelog

    • Jason says:

      That is the version of Swagger, not the framework. As of today, the most current version is Swagger v1.0.7, which is running Theme Blvd framework v2.0.5. You can see this if you go to Appearance > Theme Options and look towards the bottom of the page.

  • dean says:

    got it, thanks.

  • Randy says:

    Seems like you’re taking a good approach. Although you might want to convert some more of your old themes, it seems to me that updating a theme is not as important as updating a site’s capabilities. People that have a site running on a Framework 1 theme have sorted it out now and it’s just running. It might be more useful for them and your business to issue a new Framework 2 theme that can be installed over a site running one of your old themes. If the new theme has a superset of all the old features (widgets and templates) plus more, I would think that each page would display gracefully under the new theme. That would give you the stream of new themes you need to succeed on ThemeForest while allowing old customers to “freshen” their site without redesigning it.

    One thing I’ve never seen a theme designer do that wuld be very helpful is to have a comparison matrix that allows quick comparison of which templates, widgets, and features each theme includes. That would make choosing a lot easier (making YOUR themes easier to choose than other peoples’) and would also help existing customers choose theme upgrades that do everything they need.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hey – just wanted to say LOVE your themes. I purchased a different one from someone else and needless to say – no longer selling it….

    A corporate client of mine needed a new site so I tried your Swagger theme and in a DAY had it looking amazing. WOW. Easy plus your tips made it simple and awesome.

    Now I have purchased Alyeska for a new site and will keep buying more of your themes for other sites we have to remake for HTML5 compatibility. YOU ROCK.

    Thanks so much for your care and awesome support online.
    - Stephanie

  • Hi I purchase two of your themes….I got through with installing them…however, I was wondering why the complexity theme did not have a layout builder would really love that feature in the Complexity theme.

    Ritchie

    • Jason says:

      Unfortunately Complexity was not built on the new theme framework. If you look at my portfolio on ThemeForest only the themes that have “Responsive” in the title were built on this new framework. I’m not sure what I will do with Complexity moving forward.

  • Dean says:

    Alyeska on 2.x framework is truly wow !, great work thank-you.

    It would be great to have an accordion type of slider as an option, I understand the rationale to have only truly responsive page components however at the moment I have a client that wants an accordion, but the page layouts need the features of your 2.0 framework. Damm sure wish I could have my cake and eat it too. I tried wp-accordian plug-in as an interim measure but it doesn’t seem to work with the framework. any ideas ?

  • Sean Tannler says:

    I purchased Alyeska last year and I am working with it for a client. I am concerned with all the talk of a new framework for Alyeska bc I have the original version. How will this affect building the site-Do I need and update-and how will it affect the live site and admin panel-Unfortunately, I bought this through themeforest last year and its no longer listed so i can’t get into themeblvd support for Alyeska. I am really hoping I can get help with the CSS to make some subtle changes within the theme. As I cannot get it through the editor, I am not sure how to make these changes, i.e. I would like to change the font type,size,color on navbar among other things. PLEASE HELP. thanks

    • Jason says:

      Hello,

      This update happened about a year ago. But the theme is definitely still listed on ThemeForest. If you login to the account you purchased with over on ThemeForest you’ll have free access to both the latest download and your purchase code so you can get into our support forum at support.themeblvd.com

  • Jody says:

    Just wanted to leave a note that I appreciate your hard work on the themes. I’ve used almost all of the themes you developed. They look great and are very easy to customize. What are you working on now?

    • Jason says:

      Thanks, Jody! I’ve been managing my theme framework all of this time. The release of Jump Start marked the release of the most current version of the framework, v2.2. And now for the last few months I’ve been working on updating all of these themes so they include v2.2, as well. This still involves making some new video tutorials, updated documentation, etc. And then I’ve got a new theme design to start work on. Never ending!

  • Kimberly says:

    I am interested in the complexity theme and in reading the disclamer section of the bonus content it references Alyeska.

    “This page is a sample content page provided to you with purchase of the Alyeska WordPress theme”.

    Please confirm that the bonus content is included in the Complexity theme.

    BTW- all of your themes are so good that it is hard to choose!

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