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Enhanced WordPress Theme Generator

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Over the weekend, I caught word of a brand new WordPress theme generator that was written by Ryan Hellyer of Pixopoint.com. The generator lets you configure various aspects of a WordPress theme such as the sidebars, headings, footer, etc. Once you’re finished, you can export the files and use the theme on your own blog.

I got in touch with Ryan over the weekend and this is what he had to say.

What is the PixoPoint template generator and what is it capable of doing?

The PixoPoint template generator is an automated web based system for creating WordPress themes. By using the control bar on the left hand side of the template generator you are able to modify a wide range of features on the website. I’ve included some standard templates to start people off, but the sky is really the limit. By changing images, colours, widths, number of sidebars, menus etc. you can create an infinite number of WordPress themes.

This isn’t the first time the community has had access to a WordPress theme generator. What makes this one better than previous attempts?

I thought I’d created the first one initially. It wasn’t until I was trying to come up with a name that I thought of googling ‘template generator’ and found a few different generators for various pieces of software, including WordPress. The template generators I found had far less features than the PixoPoint template generator though. Not only are you able to modify more of the theme details, like text styling, colours etc. with the PixoPoint template generator, but it is also capable of creating a larger variety of basic layouts including flexible width and left, right or center aligned layouts. Our generator allows for the creation of one, two or three column designs.

Does this generator contain any premium features? If so, please clearly outline what is premium and what is not.

I’ve tried to keep as many features free as possible. In fact you can create any design you like for free, there are no premium ‘design’ features in the PixoPoint template generator.

However … I do need to make a living somehow. We currently have a premium subscription feature on our site which allows users access to a premium support forum. When logged into the site as a premium member, you are able to save and then upload your designs at a later date which is very useful for those who would like to modify their design after they’ve created it. Themes exported by premium members also include up to 11 widget areas, whereas regular themes only have two (left and right sidebars). The cost for premium membership is US$50 per month.

Our premium membership also includes access to our premium dropdown menu CSS generator which is very popular with users of our multi-level navigation plugin.

How detailed of a theme can one create through this particular theme generator?

Very. I’ve tried to add as many different features as possible and I intend to add more later. To see what the template generator can do, simply try the different standard templates which are available in the ‘template’ menu. If there are any features users would like added then they should post a request in our support forum. I’m using a theme created with PixoPoint template generator on my personal blog.

How does one create a theme that they can then use on their own blog?

Create your design in the template generator by changing the various options, then click ‘Upload/save’ and choose the ‘Export WordPress’ option. An option box will appear which lets you change a few options specific to your theme and when you click ‘submit’ your design will be compiled with all of your theme files and any images you specified in a zip file which you will be prompted to download. From there you can treat the theme just like any other WordPress theme you may download. You can even submit your new design to the WordPress themes repository.

Are there any features that the generator doesn’t have now that you plan on adding in the future?

I intend to add support for other software, in particular I’d like to add support for bbPress and SilverStripe.

An image uploader is also in planning. Currently you can’t upload images directly to the template generator. If you want to use different images to the defaults, you need to link to an image elsewhere on the web (images uploaded to your WordPress installation are fine).

Other than those major features, I intend to add more options to choose from and hopefully allow for quite complicated designs including magazine style themes.

Considering this is a brand new project for you, where do you want end users to go in order to provide feedback and bug reports?

Our support forum is the best place to file bug reports and provide feedback. If you find a bug, please attach the XML file which comes with your theme. This XML file contains all of the information I need to track what your problem is. You can also save these XML files directly from the template generator.

The template generator has had almost no testing whatsoever, so I’m 100% certain I’m going to be flooded with bug reports. But rest assured I’ll try my best to fix them all as soon as possible.

I don’t intend to provide free support for customisations of the exported themes, but if users want to request new features to be added to the template generator then I’ll definitely consider each one.

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Comments

  1. Mohan (5 comments.) says:

    Nice idea to come up with a tool to generate themes. I will evaluate this more and write a review post on this soon :)

    Wish to see more such utilities come along for enhancing user experience.

  2. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    Thanks for the writeup Jeff :)

    If anyone has any feeback, I’m VERY keen to hear from you. I try to fix bugs within about 24 hours and I’m actively adding new features all the time, so if you have any requests just let me know and I’ll see what I can do to implement them. Feedback should be posted in our forum.

  3. Tadd (89 comments.) says:

    Very nice tool. Quickly make a design and modify it how you like. I have a few requests and such I’ll drop into the forums.

    Good luck with this AWESOME project. It’s looking great!

  4. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    Thanks Tadd :) Good to hear your got your design working so quickly.

  5. DJ Diva (1 comments.) says:

    I’m gonna have a lot of fun with this…Thanks so much!!!

  6. pru says:

    Looks like a great tool. I do think the support is a tad overpriced at 50 bucks a month. When I can go to an excellent place like elegantthemes or themehybrid for a fraction of that price. I am a casual themer and it often times takes me over a month just to tweak what I want to put together.

  7. clickfire (2 comments.) says:

    Jeff, Looks promising. Some feedback. After exporting, when attempting to open the zip file, I get the message “the compressed zip folder is corrupt or invalid.”

  8. Shantanu Goel (10 comments.) says:

    The tool definitely looks promising.. Hope it prospers and develops further..

  9. Malik (1 comments.) says:

    Your pricing is unrealistic. You might want to start with a tenth of that for the extra design and retrieval features; $5 a month. You can charge for premium support separately.

  10. Brian Meagher (8 comments.) says:

    Pricing is ridiculously high. $600 dollars/year? I’m hoping there’s a typo somewhere.

  11. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ll look into altering the pricing structure then. I’ll have a think and maybe alter some things in a few hours time.

    @clickfire – could you save your design (under ‘Upload/save’) and post it in my support forum? http://pixopoint.com/forum/. I’m not sure why it isn’t exporting for you, but I should be able to figure it out from that save file.

  12. Dan Schulz says:

    From one SitePointer to another, Ryan – nice job. :)

  13. Jhay (2 comments.) says:

    Great find! But I think I’d still stick on making WordPress themes manually.

  14. Pink (5 comments.) says:

    This looks like a great time saver. I can’t wait till I have time to play with it.

  15. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    The pricing will be plummeting shortly. There is a slight delay as I’m trying to implement a tiered system, weekly, monthly or yearly subscription. I’ll post back once it’s up and running properly.

  16. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    Pricing has been slashed to the following:
    US$4.99 / week
    US$14.99 / month
    US$99.99 / year

    This gives access to both our premium dropdown menu CSS generator and the premium features of the template generator. More features will be added to the premium service over the next week if things go according to plan.

  17. Jake (2 comments.) says:

    I have not tryed you template generator yet, but your pricing is a little steep. Artisteer seems to be the best WordPress template generator. http://www.artisteer.com

    • Jake (2 comments.) says:

      All, I can say is I may have to give your Template Generator a try as an addition to the Artisteer Generator. May be a great add on for sure!

  18. CMS Themes (2 comments.) says:

    Sweet! It looks promising.

  19. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    Thanks to bug reports from you all, we’ve launched a new version which works a lot better.

  20. Josh (1 comments.) says:

    Having a generator for bbpress would be a BIG hit!

  21. JeaneW (1 comments.) says:

    I’ve been developing this one : theme generator . It’s still in beta but already offers a bunch of cool features to personnalize your blog theme.



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