Themes Harbor news – Issue #7

Getting closer to the Full-Site Editing. Complete refactoring of styles used in the themes. Updates with bug fixes and performance improvements. Focus on articles in Themes Harbor blog.

My name is Taras, and I am the founder of Themes Harbor where I design and develop WordPress themes for professional. I write these brief blog posts to inform you regarding the latest news from Themes Harbor.

Themes Harbor themes

As you can see, our collection of WordPress themes for professionals does not have a huge selection. New themes are not release very often.

The latest new theme has been released a year ago, while other themes have been released approximately five years ago. However, it does not mean that our themes are outdated.

At Themes Harbor, we take a quality over quantity approach. Instead of release a new theme every month or so, there is a constant work of improving existing themes.

Full-Site Editing

This is a new major feature that WordPress is planning to introduce in the next release. Full Site Editing, or FSE, is a new concept of building WordPress sites using blocks only. FSE allows to create all pages, or all your site, within one place — the Block editor.

However, this functionality will not be available in all WordPress themes after release of WordPress 5.9. Since this is a totally new way of building WordPress sites, a theme has to have a special structure and support in order to take advantage of these new capabilities.

I’ve asked one WordPress contributor, who is heavily involved in FSE program, what would be the best way to enable this functionality in a WordPress theme: add FSE support for the existing theme, or create a totally new theme from a scratch.

I was told that it would be easier to make a new theme from scratch. And, this is something that some theme shops have already started to do.

However, I’ve decided to choose a harder path by trying to integrate FSE support in our existing themes. The thing is that there are a lot of professionals who have invested in Themes Harbor themes, and I just can’t retire these themes and start building new ones.

Styles refactoring

Until WordPress 5.9 release, which is planned somewhere in December, I will do a lot of styles improvements. The next major update for the themes will include refactored styles in all premium themes. This is just the first iteration to make the themes more closer to the Full-Site Editing.

I’ve already started to review all the styles used in each theme to make improvements based on the current web technologies.

For example, I’ve used CSS Grid for creating layouts for WooCommerce products list. It allows to create a grid layout without a need of making a lot of CSS rules.

Also, I’ve already started to incorporate CSS logical properties and values into our themes, which can be very useful when building a WordPress site in multiple languages.

Moreover, I am working on improving typography system in the themes to make it more flexible and better adaptable to various screen sizes.

Fixes and improvements

I always try to find a way to optimize our WordPress themes for better performance.

For example, our premium themes do not use jQuery — a JavaScript library which can have impact on performance in WordPress themes. Instead, our themes use a plain JavaScript for additional functionality needed in the theme.

The upcoming major update for the themes will include performance improvements. For instance, thanks to the styles refactoring, it was possible to eliminate unnecessary styles for various pages and sections.

Moreover, styles for some sections have become more optimized because they are now loaded only when the section in used on the page.

The upcoming major update for all premium themes will also include various fixes. Mostly, these fixes are related to the Block editor and default WordPress blocks.

Additionally, I am panning on dropping a functionality which requires to install plugins, needed to create custom sections such as Portfolio or Testimonials, in some of our premium themes.

A core functionality of WordPress is now powerful enough to create these sections without a need of installing 3rd party plugins.

To be honest, there are a lot of work. That’s why there is a small delay in regards to the theme updates. However, I really hope that by the end of this month (October), new versions of our premium themes will be starting to release at Themes Harbor.

The first theme, which will receive a major update (version 3), will be the Venture theme. I am also going to update the theme demos to showcase a power and flexibility of WordPress along with an active theme from Themes Harbor.

Themes Harbor blog

Let me start with, I’m a WordPress developer who doesn’t blog as much. I love to share my ideas and knowledge via blog, but sometimes other things take priority. As a result, blogging goes on the back burner.

However, the recent update to a Themes Harbor development workflow might free up some time for me once it is integrated to all our themes. Consequently, I can allocate some of this free time towards blogging.

By the way, by “blogging” I mean not only publishing new articles but also updating the old ones and keeping the overall experience of the Themes Harbor blog user-friendly and pleasant for readers. We will see how it goes!

I’ve already published two (2) new articles regarding WooCommerce a few weeks ago:

If you’re interested in this topic, feel free to read the articles and leave your comments. I would love to hear your thoughts.