Some of our long time readers may remember last April I wrote about a somewhat revolutionary new WordPress theme, which in my opinion was well ahead of its time, known as the Shifter theme. Though this theme looked a little plain at first, it was completely built around using the WordPress widget feature, allowing for incredible versatility.
Since that time no one else has really attacked the widget angle the way Shifter did…..at least until now. After over 2 months of production and quite a few beta testers (myself included), I am excited to share with our readers that iThemes has released what is probably their best theme yet, the Flexx Theme.
This theme comes with over 1,000 possible layout combinations! Other Flexx features include:
- Rotating Header Images – Easily upload your new header images and set the Flash-like transition effects
- Contact Form Page Template – The custom image uploader feature allows you to personalize your site with your own logo
- Plug and Play Graphic Changes – Easily change the look of your site by uploading new background images (setting every different combo with it) and setting the color through a Photoshop-like color picker.
- Menu Builder – Pick and choose what Pages you want in the menu navigation, including subpages.
- Search Engine Optimization – As with all our themes, we’ve built it to get you the best exposure in the search engines, and include a SEO panel to tweak some basic settings.
- Multiple Color Styles – This first series comes in two pre-built color styles (Bold and Canvas), but it has a rockin’ feature that lets you easily upload new background images (setting every different combo with it) and setting the color through a Photoshop-like color picker.
- Drop down navigation menu
To get an idea of one of the 1,000+ possibilities available, you can check out the Flexx demo. Here are a couple screen shots:
Flexx Post Page
The best part about the new Flexx theme is the price! It falls under the iThemes standard pricing model of $79.95 for a single-use license and $249.95 for the developer’s license. iThemes 2008 theme club members of course get this theme for free.
What do you think of this incredible theme? Anyone else think that widget-based themes might be the future or the premium WordPress themes market?
Like many other bloggers, I display 125*125 pixels ads on my blog, and earn some money with it. Currently, I own 6 different ads, and most of them change every week. I became bored of editing my sidebar template everyday, so I asked my friend X-OR to write a cool widget to manage those ads. Let’s review it together.
What the Show125 widget can do for your blog
I always loved the concept of widgets: drap n’ drop, easy to edit, easy to place, easy to remove. Most of todays themes can handle widgets, so there’s many chances that the theme you use haven’t any problem with it.
In addition to the basic widgets advantages, Show125 gives you many option and a true control over your ads. Let’s see:
- Display from 1 to 8 ads
- Available in English (default) or French
- Display all your ads together, or in an eye-candy Mootools slideshow
- Optionally add the target=”_blank” attribute to links, if you want ads to open in a new tab.
- Show (or not) a title for your ads block
- Easy to install
- Clean code
- Add custom css class to links for styling it your way
- And more!
Nothing hard here: First, download the widget. If you want to see a “live demo”, just have a look at x-or’s blog, where you’ll be able to see the slideshow mode of the widget.
Once you unzipped the widget to your hard drive, upload the entire directory to your wp-content/plugins directory. Then, go to your WordPress administration panel and activate the plugin.
In Design » Widgets, you’ll be able to drag n drop the Show125 widget to your sidebar (or any other widgetized part of your WP theme) and set the options.
Once you filled the fields and saved your changes, you’ll see your ads in your sidebar. Managing your ads with Show125 really makes money earning easier!
If you are planning on making a WordPress theme available to the WordPress community, it has become somewhat of a necessity for it to support widgets. This is especially true now that recent WordPress installs now come with this ability built-in, meaning you no longer need a plugin to accomplish this. This will make your theme more appealing to a larger number of WordPress users because they will not need any coding knowledge to set up their sidebar to look how they want it to.
If you would like to set up your theme to support widgets, I recommend you check out this post by Garry Conn entitled How To Widgetize a WordPress Theme. In his post, he provides a detailed walk through of how to widgetize your sidebar for a 2-column theme.
According to Automattic, it is also really easy to add widget support to 3-column and 4-column themes:
Instead of register_sidebar() you should use register_sidebars(n) where n is the number of sidebars. Then place the appropriate number in the dynamic_sidebar() function, starting with 1. (There are several other ways to use these function. See the API). You can even give your sidebars names rather than numbers, which lets you maintain a different set of saved sidebars for each theme.
My favorite part about widgets is that it provides a extra option for theme users, but isn’t required to be used. A theme that supports widgets can still be adjusted manually if you prefer to do things the
hard fun way.