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.
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.