A few weeks ago we have released our newest theme Courage. We have also tried a new approach and released the PRO Version of Courage as a plugin rather than a standalone theme with more features.
Today we like to announce that we have decided to make this major shift in product strategy for all of our themes.
In other words: All of our PRO themes will become plugins very soon
We are talking about these five themes which will be affected of the change:
- Dynamic News
We will retire the PRO Version themes of these five themes on Monday 16 March 2015 and release five brand-new PRO Version plugins for them. There will be no change for the free Lite Version themes.
Changes for existing PRO customers
Of course all current customers will get access to the new PRO Version plugins for free. The upgrade process will require a few more steps than a normal theme update but will be equally easy. We will also provide a detailed step-by-step tutorial how to switch from the Pro theme to the Pro plugin.
Why are we reshaping our pro themes to become plugins?
We are seeing several advantages by using the plugin approach and really hope we are able to convince you as well.
Easier upgrade process from Lite to Pro Version
At the moment the PRO Version is a standalone and separate theme. Therefore users of the PRO Version had to install a complete new theme and actually switch themes, which required to re-configure a lot of settings like custom menu positions, custom background, custom header image and widgets.
By using the plugin approach buyers of the PRO Version just have to install and activate the PRO Version plugin and the new features will be added to the theme. No need to switch themes anymore and losing any settings.
Automatic Theme Updates
Users of the PRO themes had to manually update their themes, which happend about every two weeks. When the PRO Version is a plugin all updates for the theme will be provided from the wordpress.org theme directory with the usual one-click auto update feature. The PRO plugins will also become an automatic update feature to make the update process more comfortable.
Regular updates are crucial to the security of your website and therefore we firmly believe the update process should be as easy as possible.
Right now we basically have to maintain two versions of every theme which share about 70% of the same code base, since most features are part of both free and pro theme. In nearly all cases bug fixes or new features had to be done in both themes which required a lot of copy&paste work.
By reducing this additional workload we have more time to concentrate on real development of new features and speed up development time greatly. In the end it will be in your benefit.
Improved Code Quality
The code of the PRO Version plugin is much cleaner since it only includes the PRO features anymore. Furthermore the error-prone task of copying code between two versions of themes doesn’t exist anymore, which should improve the overall code quality.
Better Theme Translation
With two versions of the theme there were also two different language files, which shared a lot of text strings. Syncing two different sets of language files can only be done manually and is a very time-consuming task. The new plugin approach will also improve the translation process a lot, since the language files of the PRO Version will only include the text strings of the PRO features anymore.