Okay, so this is the same drill as we did for Storefront Elegance…we are currently updating Storefront Original for WPEC 3.8. It should be out in a couple of days or at least this week for sure. In the meantime, we’ve released our final 3.7x compatible version. This brings Storefront Original up to the standards we are currently putting in place in all our themes…
The theme now functions just like a regular WordPress theme in that the homepage defaults as a blog and all the regular WordPress blog settings apply. Also, we’ve implemented our new templating system which allows you to use any of the 4 page templates (Right Sidebar, Left Sidebar, Full-Width and Three Column) for your blog pages. This also changes the homepage functionality, meaning that in order to use the homepage as you see it in the demos, you need to create a static page and select the homepage template from the page attributes.
2) Translation Ready
We’ve converted all the text over to functions so that translation plugins like WPML can be used with the theme.
We hope those that need the fixes to the blog will enjoy this update. Existing customers of Storefront Original can download the updated theme from the members’ homepage and for the rest of you, don’t worry, it should be updated for 3.8 by the end of this week.
While it’s been no secret that updating our themes to work with version 3.8 of WPEC, we are making great progress and should be done them all in the next couple of weeks. Given that, we are also making plans for the future. We’ve had several suggestions made to us and we have some of our own ideas too, but ultimately, we want to be the kind of company that responds to the needs of the customers who make up our community. That said, we a few questions that we’d like some feedback on so we’ve developed a short survey and are asking for your help. If you would be so kind as to take a few moments to answer the dozen brief questions you will help us determine what to do next and be entered into a special contest…
We will be giving 2 lucky people who answer the survey a special prize that includes all of our current products PLUS everything we put out until the end of 2011! So what have you got to lose? You can enter the contest by simply filling out the survey found here…
Available for immediate download is the latest version of Storefront Insights, version 1.1 which is now compatible with the 3.8 version of WP-e-Commerce. Existing customers can download the updated version from their members’ homepage under “Plugins”. As with our themes, we will be supporting 2 versions of this plugin for a few months. Version 1.0, which is compatible with version 3.7.8 of the WP-e-Commerce plugin, will remain available for download for the time being.
Storefront Elegance is now FINALLY ready for WPEC 3.8! This update took a very long time to do, but with last week’s 3.8.3 update of WP-e-Commerce, many of the changes we were hoping would make it into the plugin were finally added and to celebrate, I’ve been pulling off a code marathon to get this thing released…
Many of the new features are mentioned in the new promo video that you can watch on the theme sales page. However, I’ll briefly list the major changes…
Page Templates For Products & the Blog
You can now select any of the four page templates to use for your product page and your single product separately from each other. This is also true for blog archives and single post pages.
New Product Gridview and Image Galleries
This is not a Gold Cart feature like before…we’ve now added this functionality directly into the theme and it looks great!
We first introduced this in Boutique and loved it so much that we had to carry it over…basically it’s one search to rule them all…you can search through products, pages and posts from one place.
New Tutorial Video
There’s enough new stuff in there that we had to redo the tutorial video…the new video is over 50 minutes long and covers how to use all of the features of the theme.
So there’s a bit to whet your appetite..there’s more too, like 7 new effects for the Homepage slider and a redesigned pop-out effect for your product and blog images. View the demo and grab your copy today! Existing users of the Elegance theme can download the new copy from their members’ homepage.
I wanted to take a few minutes today to say a few words to our about our support policy for the benefit of our customers.
When I first launched the Storefront Original theme on ThemeForest (then called “WPA Storefront”), it quickly took off and the comment thread for that item was quickly filled up with various support requests. I knew that I needed to find a more efficient way of doing support since I was answering the same questions a lot. That’s why I chose to go the route of forums.
At Storefront Themes, we clearly explain in our terms and conditions that support is not guaranteed in any way. Having said that, we understand that our customers see value in knowing that they can get support for the products they bought and our track record of great support has been the reason for people staying with us and continually buying our new products.
For this reason, in spite of what our terms and conditions say, our internal policy is to try to achieve the following goals on the forums…
- We (meaning a member of the Storefront Themes team) will personally respond to every single support forum request, and…
- We will try to achieve a 24-48 hour response policy from Monday to Friday and a 48-72 hour response on the weekend.
While we still meet our #1 goal and answer each forum topic ourselves, recently it has been a little difficult to achieve consistency on the timeframe in which some of our customers can expect to receive support. While we often do answer most questions within a day, we sometimes have weeks like we did the last 2 weeks, in which George and I had to really lock down and get some undistracted work done on some outstanding projects that we have had in the Storefront Themes pipeline. For that reason, there have been SOME requests (like requests in the Boutique forum) that went unanswered in the last couple of weeks.
I want to assure everyone that we don’t think this is acceptable and we apologize for it. In the end, as much as it hurts you as our customer, it hurts us more because our success is based on the value that people feel they receive when they buy from us. We want people to have confidence that if nothing else, when they buy a product from us, they will have access to over-the-top outstanding support from the guys who actually develop the products.
To that end, we recently hired a 3rd member of our team in March (Hi Phil!). We’ll tell you more about him another time, but his primary focus will be handling support requests and the technical side of running our servers. He is doing a great job so far at answering the majority of our support requests…however, he is very much only part-time and the learning curve for both the WP-e-Commerce plugin and our themes is quite steep when it comes to troubleshooting…it really takes a lot of experience to get to the point where you even know where to begin when solving a problem. Because of this, it will take a little more time for him to get up to speed on a few of the many issues that can arise when running ecommerce on WordPress. In the meantime, George and I will still be logging in as much as possible to make sure that every request gets a good answer. For the most part, we will answer support topics in a timely manner. When we don’t, rest assured that this will not always be the case as this migration period shouldn’t repeat itself anytime soon with future versions of the plugin.
I want you to know that our focus isn’t just on generating new business…in fact, in the last month we released 2 new projects (the showcase and our affiliate program) which benefit our existing community every bit as much as they benefit us…if not more so . They are long overdue and both have been requests of our customers for some time so we were determined to make them a priority.
I hope that helps to explain things a bit…we really want to develop an open culture about these things so that you know what to expect. Here’s to much brighter days ahead!
Alirght, let me start by saying that Storefront Elegance IS NOT READY for 3.8…yet. BUT….it’s very close. Until then, we wanted to put one more update out simply because we want to keep versions of all our themes that are compatible with the 3.7.8 version of the WP-e-Commerce plugin.
So why another update? 2 main reasons…
As many of you know, our blogging feature was really in effect broken in all our themes in that the navigation to see older posts didn’t work. We always planned to fix that and make the blogging feature more standardized. So now the Storefront Elegance theme works like a regular WordPress theme. Out of the box, your homepage is a blog. The homepage template that you see in the demo is not a regular page template that you can assign to a page called “Home” if you prefer. No biggy right? Right, but we wanted to go a step farther and it took a new approach to templating.
Because we often include different page layouts for pages (Right Sidebar, Left Sidebar, Full Width, 3 Column, etc), it has been pointed out that it would be nice to see that templating in the blog as well. We got halfway there with the current versions of our themes, but single blog posts were still using the default template. Not anymore! Now you’ll find a new option in your Theme Options panel that allows you to set the page layout of the blog page to any of the available page templates. For Storefront Elegance, these are Right Sidebar, Left Sidebar, Full Width, 3 Column. Whichever template you choose will take effect on the main blog page as well as all archives, categories, tags and of course single post pages.
‘Nuff said here. The theme now uses regular WordPress language expressions for all text so that the theme can be translated using .mo and .po files or by using a translation plugin like WPML.
So there you have it! If you’ve purchased Storefront Elegance, you can download the new version from your members home page. Storefront Elegance will be ready for 3.8 in a few days and at that time, we’ll have 2 versions…both of which will be of the highest quality.
So here I am watching an awful NCAA championship game and I have to admit, watching Butler struggle feels a little bit like what we’re going through right now! Okay, so it’s not that bad, but here’s where we’re at…
Just like the NCAA championship, our “March Madness” is obviously going into April a bit. The 3.8 version of the WP e-Commerce plugin came out on Friday just a little earlier than we had planned. We were waiting for the release to start updating the themes because from a theming standpoint, things were changing right up to the final release. I’m glad we waited, but so far, we’re not completely thrilled with the lack of flexibility for us as theme designers.
Just to give you an example, it appears that the products page automatically uses the page.php layout no matter what. What this means is that you can no longer select any of our other page templates (left sidebar, right sidebar, three-column) to use with your products page as whatever you choose will be over-ridden by the plugin. We’re discussing all options for this, but each answer has pros and cons.
So, the question everyone is asking is, “When will the updates be released?” Well, instead of making you wait until they’re all done, we’re going to release each theme as we finish it. We’re starting with the boutique theme simply because it will be the easiest to update and we kind of need a win! You can certainly expect that one out by the end of the week. After that, we will do the Elegance theme, then Original, then Designer and finally Instant. Also, we have a brand-new theme that will be released completely 3.8 ready most likely in the next week. That one will also be a big win because it’s definitely one of the best designs we’ve done.
I hope that helps to answer some of your questions. The upgrade to 3.8 is going to be a lot tougher than we thought it would be. Having said that, we’re confident that in the end the new version will be a positive change for everyone. There will just be some bumps in the first few months. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep all of the features that you’ve come to enjoy with Storefront Themes and add some extras as well. We might have to make some small sacrifices, but they will be in the name of stability. Here’s to many years of success powering your shops to many sales!
Today we cross off one of 2 items on our whiteboard that will be launched this week. This one was born out of necessity, but will have a huge impact on our community! Throughout our time supporting our customers, we’ve realized 2 things…
- We have a ton of talented developers out there who have customized their shop to look uniquely theirs, and…
- There are some cool products out there being sold by our customers!
The “Showcase” will be a place that features sites built using Storefront Themes. The benefits of this are huge!
Exposure for our shop owners
We always wanted a place to feature the different shops using Storefront Themes as a sort of “Community Marketplace”. We just think our customers have cool products and we’d like to help them gain exposure and build a bit of community, not only by shopping for each other’s products, but perhaps forming partnerships, sharing links, cross-selling…the sky’s the limit!
Exposure for our developers
We figured out early on that we weren’t going to be able to must the shop customization demand and still be able to put out new themes. For that reason, we wanted to come up with a way of referring other developers to our customers. And what better way to refer customers than displaying your work? Also, a lot of our developers are just better designers than us anyway!
Help us get started!
Unfortunately, the site is not very populated right now, with only a handful of sites listed. Please help us out by submitting your site today! Oh yeah, one of the cool things is the Sites Map which shows markers on a google map for the locations around the world of our Storefront Themes shops and developers! How cool is that?
Announcing the release of our latest theme…Storefront “Boutique”. Boutique has been our most ambitious project and includes at least 2 things that we’ve never released before in any of our other themes…
- we’ve added a custom product page template right in the theme files, and…
- we’ve added COMPLETE BUDDYPRESS INTEGRATION to allow you to build an entire social network around your products right out of the box!
There’s a ton more as well…the design is incredibly flexible right from your theme options panel. The shopping cart is definitely the coolest that we’ve done, featured a cool jquery slide in action and placement in a Fancybox and there’s also a Facebook like button on every product page. So what are you waiting for? Build your own shop community today with the Storefront Boutique theme!
We’ve been planning for this for a while now…we’re about to put a full-court press on releasing some great new stuff here at Storefront Themes! I could wax eloquent about how much work has gone into all of this, but here’s what you can look forward to in the next 2 weeks…
- 2 brand-new themes that are the most stable and versatile themes we’ve ever released!
- At LEAST one new plugin that will knock your social socks off!
- Plus…some extra-secret goodies that you’re going to love! Promise!
In addition to the above, we will also be releasing updates to all of our themes that will greatly improve the blogging features on our themes and get us to where we need to be before the release of WP-e-Commerce 3.8. I spoke with Dan Milward at GetShopped.org yesterday and he seemed very optimistic that the new 3.8 version of the WP-e-Commerce plugin will be out in about 2 weeks! Looks like they’ve got their own March Madness going on!
So that’s what you can expect! When will all of this finally get released? Well, you can expect a brand-new theme sometime tomorrow…how’s that for speed?
We want to thank you all for your patience and for being our customers. Here’s to many exciting days ahead…
I frequently get asked about how to upgrade to newer versions of the themes and I wanted to write a definitive blog post about it so that I had something that I could refer people back to.
Rule #1 – Upload, Don’t Overwrite
This is the only rule that you need to follow every time…Don’t delete or overwrite your existing copy! Because all of our themes have unique version numbers, you can just upload the new copy and activate and then you eliminate any risk. At any time you can just activate your old version of your theme and you always have it to reference in case you missed one of the edits you made.
Upgrading Your Store/Products
The best news is that our themes don’t contain any information about your products. You simply activate the new theme and you’ll find they’re all still there..you just may need to adjust some theme settings again.
Upgrading Your Theme Options
More good news! Your theme options will carry over automatically with any upgrade! There are 2 exceptions: 1) if there are new theme options or the options for a particular part of the theme have changed, and 2) ThemeForest customers who purchased WPA Storefront and then got a free upgrade to the Storefront Original theme will have to re-enter their theme options with their first upgrade only.
Upgrading Your Styles
If all you have done is style edits, then the upgrade should be fairly easy. Hopefully you’ve made any changes in your custom.css file or your Custom CSS field in your theme options. If the latter, they will just carry over. If the former, you simply need to copy the custom.css file into your new theme folder to apply those changes to the new theme.
Upgrading Custom Edits
If you’ve made edits to any other files, then your upgrade process will be much tougher. You basically will need to go through every file you’ve changed and put those changes in the new theme files. This is definitely a messier route to go, but is the only option open to you in this case.
I hope that clarifies theme updates for everyone! We love seeing the great stuff that is coming out and we’re working on showcasing the talents of the community in a special way on our site very soon.
The new theme updates are now live at Storefront Themes! Over the past few months we have learned a lot about what is important to our clients and we wanted to take some time and really bring all of our themes up a notch in terms of standard features. We think you’ll find the new updates have been worth the wait. Here is a rundown of some of the updates we have added…
Custom Post Types Come Standard!
For many of the sliders and carousels in our themes, we’ve added new custom post type options to use for them in place of posts! This is welcome news to many, as the old system required setting aside one category of posts to populate these areas. This in turn showed up in the blog and forced us to find other ways of limiting the blog to certain categories. Not anymore! And by the way, speaking of blogging…
New Custom Post Type Options
New Blogging Features
New Blog Features For All Themes!
Okay we get it…blogging is a really important part of e-Commerce! We know this one is important to a lot of you. When we released the Storefront Designer theme, we knew we had come up with a much easier way of adding a blog to your store. Now we’ve taken it a step further by installing new blog options on all our themes that allow you to simply specify any page to show your blog on, choose to show full post or just the excerpt, and even adjust the sizes of your featured images and thumbnails! Speaking of images…
Native WordPress Image Resizing
While the old timthumb script did a good job of resizing images, it did cause a lot of headaches for a lot of people. There were just too many server setups that weren’t compatible with it and local hosting didn’t work as well as it should either. The new script uses built in WordPress functionality to scale and crop your images to fit into standard sizes in your theme. This has also led to…
Storefront Themes Are Now Multisite Compatible!
Perhaps the most exciting news is that once we got the images figured out, we were able to make all of our themes compatible with WordPress multisite! For those of you who know, WordPress is capable of running a network of blogs (sites) off of one installation of WordPress. Combine this with the power of the WP e-Commerce plugin and WordPress and you can basically run your own ecommerce service like Shopify!
New Video Tutorials For All!
Not only did we redo all of our theme tutorials, we have now started a library of additional tutorials to help you get your shop up and running. 10 brand-new videos are available on your member’s home page right now and cover things like…
- Installation of the plugin, our themes and even gold cart!
- Adding and Editing Products
- Coupons & Marketing
- Product Groups, and…
- Product Variations
So those are the highlights…what do you think! We’ve also added a ton of bugfixes and refinements to both the front and backends and overall just polished everything up. We hope you enjoy the new updates…now onward to WP e-Commerce 3.8!
Some of you may know that for the past month we’ve been working on updates to all of our existing 4 themes…we know it’s been a while and we appreciate the patience on the part of our customers. I am just putting the finishing touches on the last theme today and then all I have left to do is shoot the new tutorial videos which will be necessary due to the extent of the new features.
I will put out a detailed blog post upon release of the updates that will list the major changes. Rest assured that we’ve focused on the biggest issues (like blogging!) and added some great new surprises! It should be awesome!
Part of the reason for the wait is that I’m currently on “vacation” (he said, while making quote gestures with both hands…) with my wife’s family in Albany, GA. So here I am, sitting in Starbucks and catching up on the support forums and I just thought I could at least give you some idea of the kind of things you can expect in the updates. With that, here are 2 screenshots taken from my iphone. The first image is a close up of the new custom post type options available on the “Storefront Original” theme (Slider, Carousel and Gridview). The second shows the new blog options panel available on all of our themes. Just a bit longer!
This is something that I’ve been planning for a while now…Our first couple of months have been just incredible, though not without some hiccups. Namely in the way of server problems. We’ve finally sorted that all out and one day I’ll write a blog about the rockin’ dedicated server that now powers Storefront Themes, but for now, I wanted to thank all of our first customers with a free gift. Every one who purchased the Elegance Theme during our first 2 months of business has been given a free lifetime subscription to the Storefront Original theme, which was just released today! You can read up about it’s features or view the demo site to see what this thing can do.
From the bottom of my heart, thanks for helping to get me started and I look forward to serving each of you in the future. We’re also extending this offer for a few days in case you want to tell your friends about it. Enjoy!
You may have noticed that we’ve done a little bit of work on your members home page lately. ¬†You can now get quick access to your theme downloads, forums, and video tutorials from one place. ¬†We hope you enjoy the convenience of it all!
Just a quick note to let everyone know that we have finally restored service to the site after our recent technical problems. ¬†If you’re wondering what was happening, we have just been overloading our VPS lately and we took this week to explore some options for a bigger server. ¬†We’re now looking at a dedicated server solution and will let everyone know more later. ¬†Thanks for you patience!