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Background story for Toivo Lite version

Few days ago I published theme called Toivo. It got really good feedback about it but also some disappointments. It was time for another experiment and publish Lite version of it. It’s no secret that some themes are doing pretty well up selling their Lite version in WordPress.org. I was curious why WordPress.org popular list have those themes in there. You know, not just because they are good themes but what else.

Defaults for WordPress.org

By default Theme Preview in WordPress.org is not the prettiest experience in the universe. And I doubt it’ll change anytime soon. First I noticed that many popular themes have messed with front-page.php, home.php or index.php to look a lot better in Theme Preview. I don’t blame them, that seems like a good option to get more downloads and more sails for Pro versions.

I started to building front-page.php even if I had doubts about it. Chip Bennett have a great article about Home and Front Page templates. When I was almost ready I realized I was in the rabbit hole.

I wanted the .org Preview look like theme’s Front Page Template. That was pretty easy by setting defaults in front-page.php and using some conditional checks explained in Chip’s article. But in the same time you need to sacrifice your Front page displays settings. You just can’t show your latest post in your front page unless you add additional setting in the Customizer.

It didn’t feel right to me. It was bending the default behaviour of WordPress in the wrong way. My finger reached the delete button and puff, there goes pretty Preview out of the window when I deleted front-page.php. I felt sad.

But could I use other defaults?

  • Set default header image. Check. Doesn’t exists in Toivo (Pro) theme.
  • Set default background, at least for color. Check.
  • Set default Widget in sidebar if there is one. I decided to set default widgets for Subsidiary (Footer) Sidebar. Doesn’t exists in Toivo (Pro) theme.
  • Set default values for the Customizer stuff. No need anymore because there is no front-page.php.
  • Main menu should display pages as fallback. I personally don’t like this because user might not want to use main menu. And even user leaves the menu empty there would still be HTML markup in the front-end. Doesn’t exists in Toivo (Pro) theme.

With those defaults we can have just a little better Previews in WordPress.org.

Differences between Toivo and Toivo Lite theme

As explained above there are some differences between setting defaults. Other decisions were really hard to make. In the end I just removed couple of features. In Toivo (Pro) theme you can do these compared to Lite version.

  • Hide or change Footer text. By default there is link to WordPress.org and in my site. Many business sites wants custom text for footer.
  • Change Portfolio title and description in portfolio archive page.
  • Add Subsidiary Sidebar Background Image and Color. Looks the same as header image and you can change the color opacity.
  • Add Callout section and Callout image at the bottom of Front Page template. This is the template that’ll probably get some more love in Pro version.
  • I’ll might also add support for team members or similar in Pro version. I haven’t decided which Plugin I’m going to use for it.

Let me know if you have ideas for better previews in .org or what features would you like to see in Pro versus Lite versions.

4 comments Background story for Toivo Lite version

  1. Hi, thank you for developing such a nice theme. I am trying out the lite version of your theme and wondering if there is a way to have the home page to show just excerpts of the blog posts as opposed to the long text revealing the full post.
    Thank you and I hope you can answer,
    Ulises

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