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M-Theme says

A little something to think about … What do the buyers want?

Is every buyer a full time or part time web dev? Absolutely not, in fact from what we’ve experienced I’d be confident in saying at least 50% of our users are Tom, Dick and Harry building their website for their own local business.

They want an all in one package, and that’s why they bought a theme from Themeforest.

Luke

I agree with you 100%, not all the buyers are good at wordpress, php, css, js, html. Otherwise they will make the theme by themself. If we make the theme under the new Submission Requirements, maybe will lose a lot of users.

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metrothemes says


A little something to think about … What do the buyers want?

Is every buyer a full time or part time web dev? Absolutely not, in fact from what we’ve experienced I’d be confident in saying at least 50% of our users are Tom, Dick and Harry building their website for their own local business.

They want an all in one package, and that’s why they bought a theme from Themeforest.

Luke
I agree with you 100%, not all the buyers are good at wordpress, php, css, js, html. Otherwise they will make the theme by themself. If we make the theme under the new Submission Requirements, maybe will lose a lot of users.
+1
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pexeto says

It is always good to have a set of rules and standards that we can all follow, however in my opinion some of them should be set as guidelines and not as strict rules, as these rules may not be the best solution in every scenario and may result in creating themes that are more complex for the customers to use.

In many cases a shortcode is not just a simple element that is created with a few HTML tags and CSS rules. Some shortcodes represent a set of custom data that is created within the theme – for example, we have a very simple slider shortcode (e.g. [slider name="Test slider"]) which displays an image slider anywhere in the content, however this slider is created within a custom slider section implemented by our theme framework. This functionality is complex, it contains many classes and can’t be just extracted to a plugin as it is needed for other functionality in the theme. So, are we supposed to copy the framework classes into the plugin and maintain two copies of the same classes – one in the theme and one of the plugin? And what if we have 5 sliders?

We all know that repeating code is not a good practice at all. In my opinion this shortcode rule could easily lead to a huge mess and discourage the authors from implementing more features into their themes.


Customers are really going to love having 15 different CSS files and 25 JavaScript files loading on their site due to all the theme functions being ported to plugins.
+1

I dont go for easy. I go for great user experience. And implementing 4-7 different plugins to get all the features I need is a crapy user experience if you ask me. And not because installing them is hard (but certainly not great either if you activate a theme and need to install several plugins before you can even think of starting to use it). Its because each and every plugin comes with
  • Different layout, style and branding
  • Different Workflow
  • Different (often strange) location to access
  • Different Update cycles
If you use 5 plugins it might be great for you as a developer (no initial developing time, no need to write new features yourself, etc) but it wont be great for your customers. Which ultimately might backfire anyways since you probably have to deal with a lot more requests on how to install feature X or how to setup feature Y.
+1 – as many themes come with tons of functionality, very often it could be far more than 4-7 plugins. Imagine the user experience after installing a theme and getting a long list with required plugins – if I was the user, I would definitely not want to have 15 plugins installed in order to get a theme working as advertised.
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stmcan says

Hi Guys,

I have few questions and points about the new standards;

1) I am quitly changing, editing my framework and shortcodes when developing a new theme. So, after the new rules i have to include a couple of plugins for each theme. They will be named like; a shortcode pack for theme x, a shortcode pack for theme y, a shortcode pack for theme z and they will be useless for any other theme in the market. And also my all “average wp user” buyers will confuse while installing / updating the themes since they bought them to have a website like the demo they saw without much effort.

2) I have no problem to improve the quality of my themes but to make them compatible with those new standards (shortcodes to plugins) is not “maintenance” it is “coding from scratch”. It is not possible to make it in 8 weeks or in a year, even if possible how i am going to survive without releasing new themes during the update time. So, guys please do not force the existing themes for the new standards it might be destructive for authors who has themes more than 4-5 multipurpose, “all in one” alike themes.

3) I cannot imagine how many support request that i will need to answer when i do that. Three times more support time maybe more. We can’t handle it even i hire new support staffs.

4) What if a theme lets add buttons, layouts, etc. as an HTML code directly via a button on the editor. http://rttheme17.demo-rt.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/editor-buttons.png

5) What if a theme has an embedded template builder that uses some of theme’s shortcodes to build layouts? http://rttheme17.demo-rt.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Template-Builder-1.png When a user opts out to not installing the shortcode plugin, most of the template builder functions won’t work, so i will need to duplicate some functions. A code trash!

I am cool with the improving codes and overall quality but if you guys force the existing themes, whatever time period do you offer, i will delete my older themes and will keep just 3-4 of them that sells still enough. And it is not fair for my tens of thousands buyers who trusted me to keep the themes up to date. I am even updating some of my themes that is not selling two copies in a month. I hope you get the point.

To summarize, the new rules will going to punish old authors and buyers. This is not going to kill trust of the marketplace but it will hurt very badly.

Let’s hope the best for us all.

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Artillegence says

Agree with pexeto , I am about to load my theme soon and I have my own custom builder, slider manager and 2 more features which utilizes inbuilt shortcodes what to do then ? Without activating shortcodes plugin main feature of the theme won’t work and my experience at wptitans previously when we ported shortcodes and pricing tables to plugins 50 – 60% buyers didn’t saw it and it lead to increase in support and dissatisfaction .

IMO a theme should be a complete collection of design, it’s functions and it’s features. Though I agree external plugins should not be integrated with theme.One solution can be that plugins can be linked to themeforest themes which have extended licenses , on buying there should be 2 downloads one theme and other plugin with a message. That way buyers can get updated plugins then plugin author updates.

Separating them is a bad idea. Plus every theme is different and there are always changes in shortcodes / features. You can’t use a business theme’s shortcodes in a real estate theme.

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squaredWeb says

The thing i kinda worry about is the consequences for new themes. It is pretty obvious, and only god knows why a few tech guys think they know better what customers want, that people want to buy a complete homepage from tf. Almost all topsellers are just that. So in eight weeks when those rules will be enforced it will become nearly impossible to get into the topsellers, since people will just continue to buy the older, quite frankly better and more customer friendly themes.

Is this whole thing a try to push the competition, did you guys lose a bet or whats going on?

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Zanzad says

I’m using “Style with shortcode” plugin on my theme. There are so many shortcodes included, and most of the shortcodes is “Inadmissible” on this new rule.
Is it possible to use “Style with shortcode” plugin for my future theme?
In my opinion, Style with shortcode is just a plugin, can be an optional for the buyer to use it or not.

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Siddharth Envato team says

Hey guys,

Just to alleviate your worries here: we’re not sure of the grace period and update process for older themes. The eight week grace period is for new items only.

Older items will very likely have a much grace period and maybe a slightly relaxed set of guidelines.

Additionally, have you guys actually looked into the TGM class? Quoting here:

“It allows your users to install and even automatically activate plugins in singular or bulk fashion using native WordPress classes, functions and interfaces.”

Isn’t this what a lot of complaints are about? With a private Git repo [Bitbucket offers unlimited private repos], you can get started right away. Having decoupled your presentation and business code is just the icing on top.

No one is asking for themes to be dull and uncreative. We’re asking for authors to structure their themes better in the interest of cross compatibility and extensibility.

And just to reiterate: existing themes will have a much, much longer window based on number of existing items and other factors. We’re not going to start disabling items willy nilly. Believe it or not, we do listen to you guys!


It is pretty obvious, and only god knows why a few tech guys think they know better what customers want, that people want to buy a complete homepage from tf. Is this whole thing a try to push the competition, did you guys lose a bet or whats going on?
Just because we’re discouraging a slightly antiquated way of doing things doesn’t mean we’re discouraging the amazing creativity that authors have here. As I mentioned, we’re asking for authors to architect their themes in a more modular fashion.

And haha! Maybe I’m just a tech guy. Who knows? :)

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dyspersion says

Isn’t this what a lot of complaints are about?
Umm, no, I don’t think that’s what the main concern is about.


No one is asking for themes to be dull and uncreative. We’re asking for authors to structure their themes better in the interest of cross compatibility and extensibility.


Just because we’re discouraging a slightly antiquated way of doing things doesn’t mean we’re discouraging the amazing creativity that authors have here. As I mentioned, we’re asking for authors to architect their themes in a more modular fashion.
I think the main concern is that ThemeForest is changing its products to something that is away from what the paying customers are wanting to purchase. A lot of authors are, I think, worried about user experience, and rightly so.

To me, TF doesn’t sell themes. They sell sites, or themes + plugins + whatever, etc., etc. As a customer, I see these as turn-key site packages, not strictly as themes. And, as a customer, I don’t want to have to install and maintain a bunch of plugins, or care whether WordPress is being used properly with style and functionality split between themes and plugins.

I understand that the WordPress community doesn’t like what goes on here, but blindly bowing to their concerns and ignoring those of your customers will do nothing but dilute your business.


And haha! Maybe I’m just a tech guy. Who knows? :)
Aren’t we all! Aren’t we all!

(BTW, Siddharth, I know you take a lot of crap from people, and I commend you for being able to maintain a consistently professional, courteous and helpful demeanor.)

Of course, these are just my opinions, I could be completely wrong. ;)

Scott

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carlhancock says

First off congratulations to Envato for establish some very good guidelines for themes sold on ThemeForest going forward. It’s a tremendous step and one that has been well received within the WordPress development community.

To those ThemeForest theme developers who don’t like it, don’t get it, or are complaining about the guidelines… Iit’s time to learn how to do things the right way.

WordPress provides the core functionality. Plugins expand on that functionality. Themes provide the design.

I’ve seen numerous times one of the posters mention they aren’t selling a theme, they are selling a complete website solution. No, you aren’t. Or rather I should say no, you shouldn’t be. You should be selling a theme. You aren’t selling a complete turnkey solution.

As the co-founder of the company behind one of the most successful commercial WordPress plugins on the marketplace I can say that these guidelines will go a long way to solve a major issue for us as a company… conflicts caused by poorly developed ThemeForest themes. I can tell you that 99% of all support issues caused by theme conflicts, not a problem with our product itself, were ThemeForest themes.

These guidelines are going to help eliminate the issues we run into.

Envato isn’t implementing these guidelines because they want to screw you. They are adopting these guidelines because the Wild West attitude to theme developers on ThemeForest that did whatever they wanted with no standards ultimately screwed the users. Envato is implementing these guidelines to provide themes that simply put… are built properly.

Functionality such as a library of shortcodes to do tabs, accordions, columns, etc. and functionality such as contact forms, etc. have no business residing within a theme. Those are features and functionality that should reside in a plugin.

A theme should focus on the design of the site. That is all. If based on these changes your theme must also install a bunch of plugins, then you are doing things wrong. Your theme shouldn’t have to install a bunch of plugins to meet these new guidelines. Really a theme shouldn’t require any plugins.

For those concerned that these guidelines mean you won’t be able to do things the way you have in the past, you are probably right. But that also means the way you have been doing things up until now has been wrong.

If so many ThemeForest theme developers are so concerned about so many shortcodes no longer being available, why in the hell don’t you guys get together and create a free plugin that provides extensive shortcode capabilities, standardize its CSS and then include the necessary CSS to override its defaults in your theme? Put this plugin in the WordPress.org plugin repository and point your users to it when they need shortcode functionality such as columns, tabs, accordions, etc.

The reason why customers of ThemeForest have misguided expectations that a theme should be a turn key total web site solution is because you as theme developers on ThemeForest have created this perception.

It’s long overdue for ThemeForest to tighten the reigns and do things more like the rest of the WordPress community by putting into place guidelines and best practices. ThemeForest is the butt of jokes of many within the WordPress development com unity precisely because of incompetent theme developers are selling themes without doing things the correct way and using best practices.

These changes will go a long way to change this perception and I’m thrilled that overtime the number of conflicts we encounter due to poorly developed ThemeForest themes should dwindle. As these conflicts dwindle, the opposite will occur to ThemeForest (and Envato’s) image and reputation within the WordPress development com unity… It will rise and they will begin to garner more respect from the community as a whole.

Get ready boys, it’s time to do things the right way. If you don’t like doing the right way, that’s your problem. Not Envato’s.

I think I speak for the entire non-ThemeForest/CodeCanyon WordPress develoment community, especially the commercial community, when i say thank you to Japh, Collis and those at Envato who put together and implemented these new guidelines. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Please excuse any typos… I am typing this on my iPad so any typos due to auto-completion being wrong, etc. would not surprise me at all.

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