It’s been some time since we had an interview here on WPMayor.com, but we’re back with a bang!
Our guest today is none other than Andrew Powers, the founder of super popular theme builder Pagelines Framework. I think this is a very interesting read for you guys, I certainly enjoyed it myself.
Andrew has very generously offered to give away one copy of the developer edition of Pagelines framework, enter via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.
Be sure to check out Andrew’s idea on how WordPress could be improved, I think it’s quite an original move he’s proposing.
Thank you for joining us today Andrew, through your PageLines products you’ve been one of the most prominent members of the WordPress community in recent years. Tell us how it all started and where you are today with your businesses.
PageLines originally was built as a consulting company that did ‘internet marketing’ for small businesses. We’ve always had a passion for helping small businesses be more successful, and I was working overtime to make sure they were using the best tools.
One day I stumbled across WordPress which was really just for blogs at the time (around the 2.0 release). I’d been used to doing tedious stuff like manually update websites via FTP, and manually submitting sitemaps to Google (bleh!).. When I realized WordPress had plugins for all that, we decided to build/develop some CMS tools into a custom theme to allow us to use WordPress for full-on websites.
Today we have over 20,000 happy customers and we estimate PageLines products power around a million websites.After successfully using this with a couple clients, we realized that more people would like a ‘CMS’ theme built for WordPress so we essentially gave it away free on the website. It caught on and we’ve been iterating and improving ever since.
PageLines is huge in the WordPress themes market. Rather than plain themes, you’ve come up with the idea of a theme builder that actually works. There seems to be a certain philosophy guiding the creation of PageLines Framework. Could you tell us more about it?
(here I am referring to the philosophy of giving the user total control in the form of a builder, rather than a theme he has to wrestle with to conform to his vision. And also about the marketplace of extensions and themes within Pagelines)
You’ve got it right. The theory and vision behind PageLines is that we want to empower entrepreneurs & site owners to build and manage their own professional website. It’s possible we just need to give them the right tools.
The current tools just don’t make it easy… Wysiwyg editors sacrifice professional look and feel, and themes sacrifice customizability.
We see ourselves in the middle. The drag & drop design concept is focused on giving users the control they want, while not forcing them to reinvent the wheel.
Who is your main target audience with PageLines? Is it designed to be set up and used by relative newcomers to WordPress, or more targeted towards developers?
Good question, the answer is both. We realized that to truly become a ‘platform’ which is what we’d like to be, we need to have a product that is as solid for beginners as it is for hard core devs. Plus, as developers we wouldn’t be happy with the product or design decisions if we compromised on that front.
The main advantage for developers working with PageLines is they get a structure, and tons of tools set up and ready to be used; while most users love the drag and drop aspect and code-free web design.
While some developers love frameworks, others fear that using a framework or builder will only slow them down or reduce their freedom. In what way can PageLines be of help to an experienced WordPress developer who regularly builds website from scratch for a diverse range of clients?
Our job is to educate developers on how they can develop better websites faster and better using a framework like PageLines. Here is a couple reasons an experienced dev would love PageLines…
- It does more in less time – PageLines supports all kinds of cool technology ‘out of the box’ like live LESS processing, or responsive design. This means out of the box you’ll have tons of tools you might not have implemented otherwise.
- No more reinventing the wheel – With PageLines you can leverage the work of others through the store, or default sections. This means you don’t have to custom code that new feature slider from scratch, you can build on someone else’s or just use one of the ones available. This frees you up to innovate.
- Stop Worrying About Best Practices – At PageLines we spend tons of time making sure we’re using the best tools and architecture currently available for building professional websites. That means you don’t have to read that exciting new HTML5 spec, you can just get started making your client happy.
What is that killer advantage that WordPress has, in your opinion, above other competing CMSs?
The main advantages WordPress has over its competition are:
- The WordPress community, there are a ton of great sites, and people working with WordPress that can help you solve almost any problem.
- The Plugin Repo and Reach, almost everything integrates or has some sort of support for WordPress.
- Ease of Use, WordPress is the most ‘consumer’ friendly CMS platform available we’ve seen. This is because most things work with it, ‘plug & play.’ Drupal & Joomla et al, feel more oriented towards developers building custom apps.
Can you mention any plugins that can be complementary to PageLines when developing new WordPress sites?
There are also a *ton* of sections, plugins and themes in the PageLines Store designed specifically for the platform. It all depends on what you’re looking to achieve.
Are there any other online tools or resources you use on a daily basis?
Yes. Here are a few:
- LessCSS.org – Reference on LESS
- CSS-Tricks – Best site on CSS/LESS
- Beanstalk – Git Hosting and Deployment
- Pingdom – Site Performance Test
What features do you wish WordPress will include in upcoming versions?
The main area where WordPress has been lacking, in our opinion, is in templates and template handling.
Right now there is a requirement that all page in WordPress templates need to be ‘static’ PHP files. This means they have to be actual files on your server.
In some cases we would like to make templates database driven so users can have more control over the names and amount of templates they have available.
In the current version of WordPress this isn’t possible, and I personally believe better template control would move WP a big step forward as a CMS.
Can you share some of your plans for the coming months?
We are always working on ways to improve the customer experience. WIth that, we are planning on adding to the PageLines Plus service and building new ways for people to get started faster & easier with their website.
Thanks Andrew and good luck with Pagelines! Do you have any comments on what Andrew has shared with us? Let us know in the comments section below.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to subscribe to WPMayor’s RSS feed.