We Fixed WordPress

UPDATE! The item described in this post is now available for purchase at CodeCanyon at bit.ly/X75Z17.

Ever wanted WordPress to look...well...different? More shiny? I know I do. Sometimes when I login to some of my payment gateways like Stripe or Square, I'm a little jealous of the interface. Why doesn't WordPress look more like that?

Well, the answer is simple: different strokes for different strokes. WordPress is beautiful in it's own way and the minimalist color palette doesn't clash with the majority of sites. Having said, that, there's no reason we can't have a little fun our own right? Of course not! Especially with WordPress' incredible library of hooks and functions, we should be able to change the look and feel of the admin without conflicting with ANY third-party plugins and thereby provide a more modern user-experience for our clients.

With that in mind, here's a teaser of OUR take on revamping the UI for the WordPress admin...click to see the full size image...


As you can see, we've basically focused on 3 areas...

  1. Modified the Toolbar to be slightly larger and given it a fresh color scheme.
  2. Modified the Left Sidebar with a darker contrasting color scheme AND replaced all icons with a custom icon font to provide monochrome vector-based icons.
  3. Increased the padding to the main window to provide for a cleaner look.
  4. Restyled all buttons - these were "inspired" by Google's interfaces.

Anyway, let us know what you think in the comments below!


Storefront Elegance Gets Major Update!

Yes, it's been a long time coming, but we're proud to announce that version 1.5 of Storefront Elegance is available for immediate download. This version fixes compatibility with the latest version of WP eCommerce and pretty much future-proofs it against any WPEC upgrades because we've removed the theme template files and instead added our custom code through action hooks and filters built into WPEC.

In addition, we've performed some much need maintenance...

  • moved all scripts to the footer for better performance
  • rewrote the add to cart feature
  • replaced the thickbox with fancybox like in our other themes
  • upgraded the jQuery version
  • moved additional product images to below the product description
  • added in automatic updates!
  • fixed a ton of bugs

We may make additional adjustments over the next week, but thanks to the automatic updates feature, you won't have to worry about those anymore! We wanted to get it into your hands ASAP as we know a ton of you have waited patiently. We hope you enjoy this version even more. Existing customers can download the new version immediately from their members homepage.

For everyone else, this is a sign of things to come...Elegance is our flagship theme and we needed to get it right so we could make the same updates to the rest of our themes which also were affected by the 3.8.9 updates to WP eCommerce. We're working as hard as we can on it.

Psst…don’t tell anyone, but we just heard about a secret child theme for Skematik!

Sometimes I wonder, did we develop Skematik Theme for Storefront Themes, or is Storefront Themes now developing for Skematik? Who cares right? The bottom line is that this is an awesome platform to work from. Case in point, we just released a brand-new theme after a 10 month absence in the last couple of weeks, and if rumors are true, it looks like we're pushing out another one tomorrow! Trust me, you don't want to miss this one. Take a look at the screenshot, but just wait till you see the real thing!

Marko, and the future of development at Storefront Themes

Today is a big day at Storefront Themes. We are launching our first new theme in 10 months and it's called "Marko".

Marko is a beautifully minimal theme that keeps your audience's focus where it belongs: on your products. This isn’t simply about being minimal in design. It’s all about the details…like how Marko makes your sidebar and footer widgets lighter until you hover over them. Everything about this theme screams that your products are what make your business or company great.

The Future...

A couple of weeks ago, we launched Skematik, which is a new WordPress Theme + Framework that we've been working on for months. I've blogged about the reasons for creating Skematik before. It comes down to this...with so many different plugins that we want to be compatible with (WP eCommerce, WooCommerce, JigoShop, BuddyPress & Gravity Forms to name a few) we wanted a common platform that we could develop on so that we could focus on innovation rather than compatibility issues.

Now that Skematik is done, we can FINALLY get back to doing what we love...creating amazing themes for you to enjoy!

With that in mind, consider this our official announcement that most if not all future Storefront Themes releases will be built on top of the Skematik Framework. We realize this is a departure from the last two years, but I am confident that once you get your hands on Skematik, you'll understand why we're so thrilled about it.

Hope you enjoy the new developments! We'll have more for you before this year is out!

Our silence is usually a good thing (A BIG announcement from Storefront Themes)

Some of you may have noticed and rightfully wondered why there doesn't SEEM to be much going on at Storefront Themes lately. Other than continuing our stellar support of our existing customers on our support forums, we haven't launched any new themes in 8 months. I'd like to take a few minutes and explain this before making the biggest announcement in our history.

The story thus far...

In late 2009 I launched a theme which is now called "Storefront Original" on ThemeForest. It was one of the first premium ecommerce themes in WordPress history. It single-handedly provided with a sustainable income to the point that I decided to make a business out of it. 10 months later I launched Storefront Themes which was the first WordPress eCommerce theme shop. When the shop launched, we launched with a new theme, "Storefront Elegance". A month later, we moved Storefront Original off of ThemeForest and began selling it on SFT. Fast-forward to December of 2011 and we had 10 of the best premium themes out there.

We were successful enough that we'd like to think that we inspired our competition and now we're no longer the only ones in the game. New dedicated eCommerce theme shops have arisen and new platforms like WooCommerce and Jigoshop have given even more momentum to the eCommerce world of WordPress. They've also provided competition for WP eCommerce (the platform that I'm proud to say we develop for) and this has (I think at least) in turn kept WPEC reaching for new heights in order to stay on top (which you can clearly see from their blog).

I'm proud to have been a player in the evolution of WordPress eCommerce over the past 3 years. Because we were a first-to-market company, we've had a lot of trial and error as there was no one to really copy for what we were doing. However, in turn, we've had a lot of "firsts" as a result, and those "firsts" have led us to greater things. Let me share a few examples...

Storefront Insights

In the fall of 2010, I was so proud to be a part of launching "Storefront Insights". It was designed one of my best friends, George Ortiz and it provided the first integration of WordPress eCommerce sales and Google Analytics. Essentially this combined shop data with Google analytics and gave shop owners information they never had before as they could now see their cart to checkout ratios, gauge their customer peak selling hours, and a ton more.

We still offer Storefront Insights, but more importantly, it set George out on a path. He realized how valuable this type of data was. So...one day last year, we went to WordCamp San Francisco. He had begun talking about an idea where an application could be built to allow plugin developers, theme developers and content creators to send data to a centralized service and have it compared with other plugins, themes and sites in the same genre so they could determine how well they were performing against the market. He pitched the idea at a lightning round talk at WCSF, and one month later, he just started building it. Within two weeks he had the first beta version out the door and the rest of the history is currently being written as Press Trends is now a one-of-a-kind product that is taking the WordPress world by storm.

Unified Search

Because WPEC went through a major overhaul in the spring of 2011, we had to be the first to have all our themes be compatible with the new version. The move to custom post types meant a rewrite of major proportions of our code in each of our themes. However, the result was, we were able to give our customers more features. For example, we could offer multiple product images without an upgrade. Another feature that didn't come standard before was search. Now, how can you run an ecommerce shop without search? However, we felt search, even with a paid upgrade was lacking...

I was inspired by Apple's website when I searched for a product like "Macbook". The search results page was broken into several sections showing different types of content. There was section for blog posts about "Macbook". There was a section for pages. Of course, there was a section for products. I felt this was how search should work, especially on a WordPress eCommerce site, where I assume most shop owners are also going to blog about their products. So, I set about implementing it in our themes. At first, it was very basic...simply a list of search results that identified themselves as a blog, page or product. However, with Storefront Echo, I went all out. When you search for a product like "Macbook" there, you get a search results page broken into three columns, with links to page titles on the left, blog post titles and excerpts in the middle, and product images with add to cart buttons on the right. Unified search was truly born.

Universal eCommerce

Echo was something that I designed as a sort of flagship theme. It incorporated the Unified Search mentioned above. It was our first Responsive theme (and still my favorite mobile theme). It was BuddyPress and BBPress compatible. And, it was the first Universal eCommerce theme. I'd dreamed of it for a while, and finally made it a reality. You can activate WP eCommerce, WooCommerce or Jigoshop and the theme will use the appropriate code for it's sliders, carousels, product pages...even the options panel will only show the options for that particular platform. I'm also proud to say that this new feature has been essentially bug-free from day one.

I've been proud to have been a part of these firsts. Again, it's been trial and error all the way. Some stuff, like the above, really worked well. Some stuff didn't, like our music-themed promotion last December 😉 (hey, we had fun doing it!). I've blogged about eCommerce. I've built several shops myself. I've used almost every platform out there. I've spoken at WordCamp about it. The bottom line is, my experience is probably my greated asset in my decision-making with eCommerce and it is what has led me to taking the next big risk at Storefront Themes...

If it ain't broke don't fix it...unless you hate it

So far, Storefront Themes has done very well commercially. It has been profitable from day one and has provided stable income for our little team of 3 people. However, something happened last winter...I realized that the themes were getting harder to support and keep up-to-date. Our customers and even my amazing support tech, Mark Gason, started begging us to stop releasing new themes and spend time focusing on the old ones to make sure they were up-to-date. Well, that's a problem. It's a problem because we obviously need to produce new themes if we want to stay competitive and keep revenues. But more than that, it was a problem because of this: for the first time in it's history, I wasn't proud of our product anymore.

That last line was painful to even write. However, it is true. You see, the reason I have always loved my job is because I have been proud of the product. I literally get to help people achieve their dreams of financial independence and entrepreneurship. I love getting emails about how our product has helped people and how easy it is to use. Having said that, I have realized that the path that we're on is not sustainable. eCommerce requires much more code than a regular WordPress theme and that code is updated much more frequently. If we are going to continue to lead the way in eCommerce theme development, we need to have a platform that streamlines this process and makes support and updates more efficient.

Yes, we were still selling. Yes, it would have been better for me financially in the short-term to spend more time developing new themes. However, I really couldn't stomach the fact that our themes might be less than stellar. Something had to change...

We need a new WordPress theme framework

I quickly decided that the best situation would be to have a theme framework that contained all of the functionality that we might need in a good eCommerce theme and simply build child themes for the front-end creativity that is the heart of our business. I checked out every framework out there. I quickly found that our community is rich with many talented developers who have made some excellent frameworks. However, after much searching, I couldn't get away from the fact that our needs were somewhat unique and if I had the ability and means to create the framework myself, then I needed to just do it.

The Announcement

Skematik Theme Homepage

So here is the announcement: For the past several months I have been building a brand-new theme framework that will provide the basis for all of our themes moving forward. It is called Skematik and among others, it boasts the following feature-set...

  • It is built with HTML5 and CSS3
  • It is built with the latest Twitter Bootstrap library
  • It is a mobile-first framework with touch elements instead of hover
  • It is compatible with BuddyPress
  • It is compatible with WPeCommerce, WooCommerce and Jigoshop
  • It incorporates the new Theme Customizer in WordPress 3.4 for styling options
  • It has it's own Templating Engine, allowing you to set a page layout for every single page OR POST
  • It has a custom sidebar component which allows you to create your own sidebars and set them on any page or post
  • It has built in shortcodes for most of the Bootstrap library components
  • It is one of the most developer-friendly WordPress themes out there, with built-in Options library, Metaboxes, custom hooks and filters for the Theme Customizer and Shortcodes and much more!

So...where is it? When can we get it?

Here's where I really need some help actually. The theme framework is about 95% complete. I'm just buttoning up a few loose ends. However, I still need to finish all of the documentation and developer resources before it is released. We designed this first as an eCommerce framework, but it ended up taking on a shape of it's own in that it really is an all-around theme framework for developing just about anything with WordPress.

To that end, in lieu of a pre-order process, we thought we'd have some fun and start a GoFundMe campaign. You can see the project fundraiser page here and you'll notice that there are some VERY attractive rewards listed. You can also read up on the framework on the actual Skematik website at http://skematiktheme.com.

I really need your help to get this product out the door and I hope you'll find the compensation is rewarding enough.

Lastly, I want to thank all of our nearly 5000 customers who have been so patient and loyal during this time. I promise, that this has all been for your benefit and you can expect the greatest things yet from Storefront Themes in 2013 and beyond!

[sws_button class="" size="sws_btn_xlarge" align="sws_btn_align_left" href="http://skematiktheme.com" target="_blank" label="View the Skematik Website" template="sws_btn_blue" textcolor="ffffff" fontweight="normal" bgcolor="" bgcolorhover="" glow="sws_btn_glow_blue" btnwidth="" textalign=""] [/sws_button][sws_button class="" size="sws_btn_xlarge" align="" href="http://www.gofundme.com/skematik" target="_blank" label="Donate to Skematik Project" template="sws_btn_orange" textcolor="ffffff" fontweight="normal" bgcolor="" bgcolorhover="" glow="sws_btn_glow_orange" btnwidth="" textalign="left"] [/sws_button]

North American Patriotic Sale! 10 Themes for $99!

Hello to everyone around the world from Storefront Themes! Over the next week we are celebrating the birthdays of 2 of my favorite countries here in North America! I am proudly Canadian which is why I'm very excited about Canada Day on July 1st. I'm also geared up for Independence Day on July 4th since I live in the US and my wife and children are American. So what can we do to celebrate? How about a big sale on all our themes?

Effective immediately we are running a huge sale that will benefit new customers and current members alike. If you've never bought a Storefront Theme before, NEW CUSTOMERS CAN GET ALL 10 OF OUR THEMES FOR ONLY $99! This includes every theme available on our themes page...we're even including Storefront Echo (which is currently only available on ThemeForest) as a special bonus!

Also, we really didn't want to leave our existing customers out on this one...most of the time these sales only benefit new customers. Well not this time! Here's the deal...if you already have a storefront themes account with at least one purchase, you AS A MEMBER YOU CAN GET THE REST OF OUR THEMES FOR ONLY $40! That's a huge deal no matter how many themes you already own.

Rest assured all of our themes are top quality (see them all here)...in fact, the big reason we've been silent over the last few months is that we have been going through all of our themes and making them more secure and stable than ever before. Plus, our support is top-notch so you can buy with confidence!

We'll give you a whole week to take advantage of this awesome offer! The sale will end at 11:59pm MST on July 7th. Thanks for being the best customers in the world!

Matt Jones
CEO, Storefront Themes

New Design, Storefront Echo Relaunch and the 2 For 1 Sale!


The past 24 hours has been a HUGE day for Storefront Themes!

Yesterday afternoon we went back to the place where started, ThemeForest to relaunch just one of our themes in a big way. Storefront Echo was originally released in November...it has performed very well, with over 200 current users and growing. However, I felt it could accomplish more...it was by far my favorite design that I'd put out because of the way it performs on mobile devices and I wanted to see what else it could accommodate...

I started out with BuddyPress...I really wanted to see if I could get BuddyPress to work, AJAX and all in a responsive design. Once that was done, I thought that the next step would be branching out to some other ecommerce platforms for the first time.

Now before I go on, I want to stress that we are not currently planning on making all our other themes compatible with other platforms. We're still pretty loyal to Dan Milward and the WP eCommerce team. However, I see this as an opportunity to reach out to some new customers and a huge step toward establishing ourselves as the best resource for WordPress eCommerce on the planet.

So here it is...Storefront Echo is now compatible with WP e-Commerce, WooCommerce, JigoShop, BuddyPress and BBPress!

Best of all, it's for sale right now on ThemeForest for only $45 which allows you to save $4 off our regular theme price. But that's not all...

For a limited time, when you buy Storefront Echo on ThemeForest you get any one of our other themes absolutely free! How's that for a deal? So what are you waiting for? Head on over to ThemeForest to get 2 awesome WordPress eCommerce themes for the price of 1!

New Design

Oh yeah, notice anything different at Storefront Themes? We're currently redesigning the site from the ground up. This is ultimately to offer a better support platform but as it's not really ready yet, for now you'll have to be satisfied with just the new visuals. BUT, we're working hard on making the support experience at Storefront Themes the best out there! Stay tuned to the blog for word on when it will be launched.

Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sale!

Got your shopping done yet? Get anything for yourself? We can help you out there! From now until Monday, September 28th at midnight MST, we have a super deal going on! All customers will save 50% off our already great regular pricing! This means that single theme packages are only $24.50 and our bundle package, which includes all 8 themes and our insights plugin is only $74.50! This is by far the biggest sale we've ever done and we hope you will all take advantage of it. Best of all, for our existing customers, this discount is in addition to your regular 15% discount which means you save a whopping 65% off of regular pricing! So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of this deal right now on our purchase page!