Themeswell has entered the WordPress solutions arena. A theme design platform that allows designers to create WordPress themes without using HTML, CSS, or PHP coding, Themeswell’s goal is to let designers have fun being designers again. Themeswell has been launched on a beta basis at the end of January. We got in touch with Ray Silva from Themeswell and he’s explained to us why we should be excited about this new entry:
Themeswell offers all the expected features such as: a visual editor, drag and drop interaction, and styling controls. Where it differentiates from other theme design platforms is the ability to save multiple themes to a theme library and the option to export them as standalone WordPress themes. The product license does not set a limit on the number of themes users can build, store, or export.
Our goal is to help designers maximize revenue. Not only can they use Themeswell to develop and deploy client web sites faster, but they can also use Themeswell for an easier way to create themes for selling to the larger WordPress market.
Here is a quick peek at some of Themeswell’s features:
Themeswell’s visual editor consists of a Control Panel and Workspace. The Control Panel holds all the design tools for building and editing templates; the Workspace is a real-time display that shows changes to a template. A handy button lets you hide the Control Panel so that you can see a full-screen sized Workspace.
Pick a theme
From the Control Panel, you can pick from designed themes (purchased themes), which download into the Theme Library, or themes from the My Theme library. The My Themes library contains themes built or customized by users.
The logic behind having two theme libraries is to prevent accidental overwrites of designed themes. If you want to customize a designed theme, save it first into the My Themes library. Themeswell does not limit the number of themes that can be stored in either library.
There’s no fancy terminology in Themeswell, just vocabulary familiar to designers and WordPress users.
- Layouts for templates are based on rows and columns. It’s easy to define the number of rows in a layout, and there is complete flexibility when it comes to setting the grid – the number and width of columns within each row can be set by dragging grid lines or by typing in exact dimensions.
- Content elements from the Control Panel include content holders for basic elements such as text boxes, forms, images, widget areas, menus, or slide shows. There are also content elements for different kinds of multimedia, currently HTML, Youtube, and Vimeo videos. To add a content holder to the template, just drag and drop it from the Control Panel to the desired row and column. The Advanced tab allows custom HTML code insertion.
- Styling tools give designers control over the picky details of the design that normally would require CSS intervention. The Design tools let you refine backgrounds, borders, padding, margins, typography, and more. As any designer knows, these are the most time-consuming aspects when it comes to polishing a template.
If WordPress pages with suitable content already exist, a drop-down menu in the Control Panel provides a drop-down menu listing all the pages. This allows you to test a template by selecting a page and applying the current template to the page.
There is also a Tools area that contains a Preview function as well as a CSS option for situations the styling tools don’t cover. This is where you can find the command to flip into WordPress.
Themeswell’s File Manager is functionally the same as the WordPress media library, allowing you to remain in the Themeswell Workspace to upload, store, and work with images. In production, this might cause some confusion but Smartt’s recommendation is to store files required by the designer/webmaster in Themeswell’s File Manager and let clients or content editors handle files through the WordPress media library.
Pricing, beta and beyond
Smartt has launched a social media campaign to recruit a limited number of beta participants. In addition to putting the software in the hands of real users, we want to collect feedback about the look and feel of the product for future enhancements.
- The beta period will last roughly 2 months
- There will be ongoing support and help for all beta users – our Customer Support Group is trained and ready!
- Beta users will be able to build and publish their own WordPress themes, keep the exported themes, and enter a contest featuring some fun prizes
Preliminary pricing for three Themeswell packages has been set at: Basic ($59.99), Standard ($89.99) and Complete ($119.99).
To register as a beta user, read our blog, or just to find out more, see www.themeswell.com.
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