It’s been about time since we released our last premium theme, and it’s about time we brought something new to the table. However, instead of releasing a new WordPress theme, we’re instead doing something far better: a core upgrade!

These past years, our themes have constantly evolved, little by little. We’ve refined the feature set in order to make more flexible, while at the same time retaining portability and keeping everything easy to use.

If you have been following our themes, you may have noticed how they have changed over time: we’ve added more baseline options, removed redundant ones, and even offloaded some into plugins for easier management. As a result, the difference between our first and last themes is astonishing.

A Major core Upgrade

These past weeks, we’ve been working hard on improving the core powering all our WordPress themes, and add some features that will take our themes to the next level. This involved a lot of decisions in theme design, as well as the development of new features that were much needed.

The main focus for this upgrade was to provide as much flexibility as possible while keeping things simple. This meant we had to part ways with some obsolete features, in favor of a much better way of doing things.

This new version is a major overhaul¬† from past themes, and will surely help you build a much better site without needing extra functionality. Now, let’s take a look at the changes.

Per Page Layouts

Before, our themes offered a fairly simple way to change the layout of your pages: you could move the sidebar to the left or right, and in pages you were able to use the Full Width template to get a no-sidebar layout. This has changed completely.

Instead, now you can choose from up to five different layouts to structure your pages. You can choose from a single sidebar to the left or right, or even have two different sidebars in your content– creating a three column layout. You can also choose a no-sidebar layout straight from the theme options.

Of course, you’ll probably need different layouts on specific pages, so you can now select a custom layout on each of your pages, posts, and any post type on your WordPress site. This applies to portfolios, as well as any special post type added through plugins to your site.

This also means the full width page template is gone, since there’s no need for it anymore. In short, you’ll be able to customize the layout of each page in your site however you wish.

Customizable Page Appearance

In some of our latest themes, we included a new page template: the blank page. This page essentially created a blank canvas for you to create a free-styled page, great for landing pages or a maintenance page. Now, this template is also gone from our themes.

Instead, you can now choose how you want the header, page title, and footer to look in each page, having full control over the appearance of each page.Each of these elements can be configured to appear normally, as a minimal version, or to be discarded entirely.

These options will let you have much better control over the look of each page without being limited to pages only.

Better Theme Options

The theme options page has also been redesigned, in order to be more consistent with the look and feel of WordPress 3.8+. We’ve stripped it down and removed all non essential elements, and also added a few key options to give you beetter control of your site:

Support For Retina Logos

You can now set the width of the logo. This will let you use a hi-res image for your site logo, and scale it down for retina screens.

Better Font Management

You can now change the overall size of the typography in your site, choosing between having a smaller or larger font than normal. Additionally, you can also select light versions of certain fonts, to give your site a cleaner look, . Finally, you can also choose to load additional variants for the body font, so your light/bold typography will look better.

More Coloring Settings

In addition to the existing coloring options you can now choose a specific color for widget titles. This should enable you create more diverse color schemes and better overall sites.

Removed Features

We mentioned before that some features had to go. This is the case for the following templates:

  • Contact Form
  • Full Width Page
  • Blank Page

We explained before that the full width and blank templates have been removed due to becoming obsolete; you won’t need them anymore thanks to the new layout options that give you far better control.

However, the contact form template has been removed due to being considered plugin territory. In many cases, the contact form included in the themes was not entirely appropriate for many users, who wished to add or remove some fields and have a more customized form.

Therefore, we have decided to drop support for this feature altogether, and instead encourage you to use the Contact Form 7 plugin. It’s a much better option that not only gives you full control over your forms, but also will remain even if you decide to switch themes.

WooCommerce Support

Lastly, we want to announce a big one: we’re providing WooCommerce support for all premium themes using the new framework! Since it’s afairly popular plugin, we have decided to make every theme as compatible as possible.

Supporting WooCommerce means that you should be able to get the plugin to work right out of the box, without needing to make any changes. Your shop should integrate well with the layout of the theme, and also let you work with the aforementioned layout options.

In short, you will be able to control the layout of your store with ease.

A Better Framework

Now, this huge upgrade is a major departure from the design of our premium themes. As such, we will be gradually updating our existing themes to use it– with some exceptions.

Since some of our themes are over two years old, they’ve become increasingly hard to maintain due to their age. For some of them, it means creating a completely new theme would be a far easier task rather than upgrading it; as such, we will start from our latest themes and work towards the older ones, but some of them will be skipped due to becoming obsolete.

For now, we have updated Affluent to take advantage of all these new features. If you’re a subscriber, simply download it from your dashboard and update your WordPress install.

If you are not a CPOThemes subscriber, what are you waiting for? Come and join us!