2017 in Review and my plans for 2018

2017 is nearly over and I would like to spend a few minutes to review the past year and to take a glimpse at the new year. I’ll also introduce my plans for the next twelve months.

As usual time passes quickly and another year just flew by. Sometimes I still find it hard to believe that it is now 10 years since my first encounter and use of WordPress. I founded ThemeZee in 2010 which means my theme business has its eighth birthday in the summer.

This is my review of 2017!

Five new Themes and countless Updates

We have published five new WordPress Themes this year, but have also focused a lot on the development of our existing themes.

Countless Updates brought additional settings for blog and post details, new page templates and usability improvements. We have created the Magazine Widgets in all our themes from scratch and greatly improved them with caching and better extensibility with hooks and templates.

A new feature is our own developed Magazine Widget Builder in the Customizer, which makes it even easier than before to create a Magazine homepage:

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Video-Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwZvxHk4ho8

With Mercia, we have also developed our first Theme with the new CSS Grid Technology.

Our Pro Add-ons received some updates and new features as well – including Header Search, Scroll to Top Button, Author Bio and better Color Settings.

Improvements for ThemeZee.com

Besides the themes I have also spent some time on ThemeZee.com itself. The home page and all add-on pages were completely revised and got new layouts and content, and the theme has also had some smaller design updates.

All 120 tutorials in our documentation were updated and received new screenshots. The design of the checkout page is completely new and now supports Stripe, which means we can finally offer payments via credit card, and not just Paypal.

What’s new in 2018? WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg

Since the beginning of 2017 the WordPress Core developers work on a new Editor called Gutenberg, which will revolutionize the way we create and edit content in WordPress.

If you haven’t heard from Gutenberg, I recommend to read this article from Morten Rand-Hendriksen:

How Gutenberg Will Shape the Future of WordPress

Morten has also introduced Gutenberg on WordCamp US. You can watch it in this video:

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Video-Link: https://videopress.com/v/AvC6H2JI

WordPress 5.0 is planned to be released in the middle of 2018 and Gutenberg will be part of it.

Gutenberg will have a massive impact on WordPress, Themes and Plugins in the long term, but it is still not quite sure in which direction the project is going after WordPress 5.0. The Editor is just the beginning, blocks will also replace widgets and other concepts in WordPress.

I’m already following the development of Gutenberg very closely and of course we will adapt all our Themes to work fine with Gutenberg, and use all the new possibilities as well.

My Plans for 2018

Quarter 1
We have one new Magazine theme in our pipeline which we will launch this spring, and then focus entirely on Gutenberg and the new upcoming Blocks.

Quarter 2
We will update all our themes before the release of WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg to ensure that our themes work fine with the new Blocks and have appropriate styling for them. We will also experiment with creating own custom blocks and see if there are possible solutions to improve our Magazine Themes with them. Maybe a Magazine Layout block?

Quarter 3
After WordPress 5.0 and the new Editor, the Gutenberg project will most likely move forward to the Customizer and Widgets. A new Core Theme for Gutenberg is developed as well. These features will influence Themes even more than the Editor, which means the second half of 2018 will most likely still be heavily shaped by Gutenberg.

Quarter 4
I hope we will find some time at the end of 2018 to develop a few new Magazine Themes, which will of course use all the new possibilites of Gutenberg.

Happy New Year

I wish all customers, theme users and readers a happy new year and a successfull start into 2018! Thank you so much for your ongoing trust in 2017!

Thomas Weichselbaumer
Founder of ThemeZee