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mordauk says

You didn’t understand my question. Let’s say I’m just starting and I’m creating a plugin for the first theme. But the second theme is a real estate theme. And real estate themes have their own features and shortcodes, different than the first theme(that doesn’t need the real estate features). And maybe the real estate theme uses the pricing tables in a different way than the first theme. What’s to be done then? I’m talking about shortcodes here. Since we’re not plugin developers, we can’t create an extremely complex plugin to cover, for example, all the portfolio possibilities, we only create what we need for a specific theme. When a new portfolio theme comes in the discussion, we re-review what we have in the current plugin and discover we need some new features / functions / etc. So in the end we basically need a new plugin for each theme, which is extremely bad and very hard to maintain.

Ultimately I’d suggest that you have one plugin for each major “kind” of functionality. Create a plugin that handles all of the features needed by your real estate themes; create a plugin that handles all of the portfolio features. When you do that, you can use the plugin in one theme or in 15 themes. You can also mix and match them.

If you’re able to create those features in a theme, it’s really not hard to move them into a plugin. The code is identical, only the location is different.

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Cubell says


Authors are the second most valuable and important asset for Envato right after Buyers, if we stop making themes, they having nothing to sell and make no money.

This quote reminds me of so many people i’ve worked with in the past at various customers prior to starting my own company, including myself, who i’ve heard make a similar statements about their job, “If I quit, they’ll be screwed.” and when they finally quit… in every single instance the company continued to chug along as if nothing happened.

Unfortunately for the authors they’ve allowed themselves to be commoditized. Unlike other theme developers that built their own brands and businesses (Organic Themes, Press75, iThemes, StudioPress, WooThemes, Headway, etc.), most ThemeForest authors have placed themselves at the mercy of ThemeForest.

I say most, not all. There are a few that definitely have been able to cultivate their own brand. Themezilla for instance. Okay Themes is another. They could walk away from ThemeForest and weather the initial downturn in sales and survive in the long run. But the vast majority of ThemeForest authors? They’d be screwed if they walked away from ThemeForest.

This is what happens when you allow yourself to be commoditized.

This means you need ThemeForest MORE than ThemeForest needs you. I say more because you are replaceable. They can always find people to create and sell themes on ThemeForest.

That makes absolute sense and I agree with you.

I have multiple other business that all provide revenue streams, and as I am not one to put all my eggs in one basket, I have put one egg in Themeforest. Like I said previously, I agree with all the new requirements, it is a good thing and how it should have been all along. Even the shortcodes loaded from plugins point.

Writing a shortcode to be loaded automatically from within a theme or writing a plugin that creates that shortcode ends with the exact same result. I have no qualms over the change in a coding sense. If forced to, I will have no choice to do it if I want to put a new theme on Themeforest.

And here is the big but – BUT, as someone with previous experience with business, I think that the change will impact the user experience that the 100,000s of buyers have come to expect, and I’m not sure they’ll be as forgiving, which will eventually show in overall market sales numbers. And then if you ask yourself if it makes any sense to push through with this change and risk damaging the Themeforest Market when it’s not even strictly necessary? I don’t think there is a single big argument to change it from the way it is working now.

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freevision says


mordauk, I got your point. Now, let me ask you a question. Not only to you, but to all the other that think this is a progress.

Me, as a developer, I may work with different designers. I don’t like doing the same blog theme over and over again with just a different face, but I like doing niche themes. Like, a restaurant theme, a one-page theme, a real-estate one, etc. Each one of those themes has different shortcodes. One may have a simple portfolio with not so many details while maybe another portfolio theme has lots of options and stuff related to the portfolio niche.

Having one plugin globally used in all the themes simply doesn’t work. This may work for bigger companies like WooThemes, ElegantThemes that use the same principles and overall style in all the themes, but tell me how should I proceed in the above case? One plugin per theme? That’s definitely not productive and hard to maintain.

Using the same plugin over and over again actually does work exceptionally well. Just because it’s the same plugin doesn’t mean it can’t be unique.

There are many ways to turn features on/off that are provided by a plugin, and you can easily do this in your theme.

Just as an example, look at the WooCommerce category: http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress/ecommerce/woocommerce

Every one of those themes uses the exact same plugin to provide 99% of the functionality, yet each theme can still remain unique.

Whether you are using WooCommerce, another GPL or commercial plugin, or your own custom plugin, you can do the same thing.

Excuse me mordauk but what you are saying is totally against to creativity’s basic rules. Those mentioned themes remain unique? in which way ? Are you a designer? Seems we’re in different sides.

Creating something trully unique can’t be done with a single plugin you’ve made. I’ve been reading this thread since the begining. I’m totally agree with FinalDestiny. As a designer I don’t want to be stuck in boudries. I want to bring something fresh and complete solutions on the table and I don’t think I can do this with you way. just thinking outloud.

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carlhancock says

Also, you are a plugin developer, but if you were a buyer (the most important person in all of this) would you see it as a positive or negative change that themes have less built-in features and need free external plugins to be installed to work as the demo shows?

If Pippin and I were buying a theme we would see it as a positive thing for themes to have less built-in features. But you should know that based on our opinions. Plus Pippin and I technically are potential buyers. We develop plugins, not themes.

Customers don’t know best practices nor do they typically know what is good for them. Of course they are going to want all the bells and whistles, but they don’t know the full impact of going down the wrong path until it’s too late. They don’t care about things like best practices until something goes wrong, and then they’ll be furious and angry and wonder why the theme author didn’t build things the correct way once they find out Plugin X doesn’t work properly because the theme they are using wasn’t built properly.

It’s up to the developers that provide the themes and plugins to build things correctly and do so following standards, guidelines and best practices. You are supposed to be the experts. The customer only knows what he’d like to accomplish, it’s up to the theme and plugin developers to direct them to the RIGHT solution that helps them accomplish that goal.

If the RIGHT solution is a theme along with some plugins to accomplish what they would like to do, then that is the solution that the customer should be advised to use.

If I incorporated everything our customers requested or wanted into our product my company would be out of business because our product would be a bloated disaster.

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mordauk says

Excuse me mordauk but what you are saying is totally against to creativity’s basic rules. Those mentioned themes remain unique? in which way ? Are you a designer? Seems we’re in different sides. Creating something trully unique can’t be done with a single plugin you’ve made. I’ve been reading this thread since the begining. I’m totally agree with FinalDestiny. As a designer I don’t want to be stuck in boudries. I want to bring something fresh and complete solutions on the table and I don’t think I can do this with you way. just thinking outloud.

Show me an example.

I’m specifically talking about functionality. For portfolios, this means grids, sorting, dynamic filtering, etc. These are all features that can be included globally via the plugin, but the exact implementation and style of these features can be as unique as you want.

I’d suggest taking a look at the work Mike McAlister does: http://themeforest.net/user/mikemcalister – He uses a single “Okay Themes Toolkit” plugin that houses all of his functionality, and each of his themes is very unique.

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bitfade says

@carlhancock
please spare us the whole reputation crap will ya ? TF has become what envato has allowed it to become while making shitloads of money in the process. If they wanted to be like wp.org, they could have enforced much stricter tech rules since the beginning.

The “TF themes are feature bloated, poorly coded” argument is nothing new and didn’t bother envato while they were growing up to the point TF is now the biggest wp related marketplace.

The competition between authors combined with a total absence of rules regarding theme features/implementation led to the current situation where the TF buyer expects to download, install and be presented a full website.

Is going to take envato much more effort than a page with a set of unclear rules and a 8 (was 3) weeks deadline to change a trend that served their purposes until now.

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freevision says


Excuse me mordauk but what you are saying is totally against to creativity’s basic rules. Those mentioned themes remain unique? in which way ? Are you a designer? Seems we’re in different sides. Creating something trully unique can’t be done with a single plugin you’ve made. I’ve been reading this thread since the begining. I’m totally agree with FinalDestiny. As a designer I don’t want to be stuck in boudries. I want to bring something fresh and complete solutions on the table and I don’t think I can do this with you way. just thinking outloud.

Show me an example.

I’m specifically talking about functionality. For portfolios, this means grids, sorting, dynamic filtering, etc. These are all features that can be included globally via the plugin, but the exact implementation and style of these features can be as unique as you want.

I’d suggest taking a look at the work Mike McAlister does: http://themeforest.net/user/mikemcalister – He uses a single “Okay Themes Toolkit” plugin that houses all of his functionality, and each of his themes is very unique.

I’m not here to arguee with you. Every author has own way to create a theme and porfolios are just a tiny piece of web elements. I think all we authors has to think about consequences of these new standarts. IMO I can tell it’ll affect us in negative way.

Have a nice weekends to all.

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OriginalEXE says

> I’d suggest taking a look at the work Mike McAlister does: http://themeforest.net/user/mikemcalister – He uses a single “Okay Themes Toolkit” plugin that houses all of his functionality, and each of his themes is very unique.

What happens if:

1.) His users only install theme and not the plugin 2.) His users go to another theme leaving plugin installed

I’m interested in how he handles that.

P.S. Maybe that could be a topic in the new episode of Please Advise

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carlhancock says

I’d like to think that discussions like this, if we let them run their course, will ultimately lead to a better and more advanced community here, which will help us all make more money. I believe that Envato has their heart in the right place, as do the authors that have helped Envato reach its current summit. At the same time, I do hope that Envato maintains its unique voice in the end, because despite being the red headed step child, a lot of people value it for that very same reason.

You are exactly right. Envato has not gotten to where it is by making bad decisions. They didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Hey… let’s implement all these guidelines”. They put a lot of thought, research and discussion into these new guidelines and they feel that it is the right thing to do for the longterm future of ThemeForest as a marketplace.

A lot of the theme authors in this thread that are complaining loudly should take a deep breath and think about what Envato has done for them and trust that Envato is making decisions that are in it’s best interests which will ultimately be in the best interest of the theme authors.

Envato is in business to make money, in order to do that the theme authors must make money. Envato isn’t looking to jeopardize that. They are implementing these guidelines to help it’s authors build better products that ultimately will result in better results for it’s customers and in turn better sales in the long run. Better sales means more money for Envato and in turn more money for theme authors.

Change never easy. People naturally hate change. It’s human nature. People get comfortable doing things one way and then when it change… they freak it. But in this particular situation it is definitely warranted and it will ultimately be a good change.

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mordauk says


> I’d suggest taking a look at the work Mike McAlister does: http://themeforest.net/user/mikemcalister – He uses a single “Okay Themes Toolkit” plugin that houses all of his functionality, and each of his themes is very unique.

What happens if:

1.) His users only install theme and not the plugin 2.) His users go to another theme leaving plugin installed

I’m interested in how he handles that.

P.S. Maybe that could be a topic in the new episode of Please Advise

If the plugin that provides a certain feature isn’t active, then the theme should act as a standard theme. In the context of this whole discussion, the theme would act as a “simple skin”, but then when the plugin is activated, the advanced features become available.

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