Everything is about to change
November 6th, 2014
If you're a PlanetStarta Club Member you'll have noticed something big just happened - we're no longer billing you for your membership.
Take a breath and don't worry, there's a very good reason for it, and you're still in very good hands with lots of awesome stuff coming up in the near future.
First, let me get to the point with the questions I'm sure are at the forefront of your mind.
Can I still get support?
Yes, I take your purchase from me as a personal pledge of good faith, so if you need support and you're an existing PlanetStarta customer just post in the forum as usual and I'll be right there to help as always.
Will I still get awesome new stuff built by you?
Yes, and what you'll receive will be far superior and either lower priced or free, which I'll cover below.
Why am I no longer being billed?
Because we're about to go through a transition into our next phase of evolution, and we don't want to charge you anything during this time.
Will I still receive this month's theme?
Absolutely, this month's theme will still be coming out on schedule.
Will I still have download access?
Yes, you sure will. You'll still be able to download everything you have access to as part of your membership, for as long as you need.
Hopefully these questions have now put your mind at ease, and I'm sure you're wondering, what is this next phase?
I'm glad you asked...
ThemeStarta 3 is coming, it's incredible, and it's going to be FREE
For quite some time I've been quietly working away on the third major release of our ThemeStarta Framework, or TS3 for short.
It uses a revolutionary structure that, to be quite honest, leaves TS2 in the dust. It is impeccably logical, abundantly flexible, blazing fast and at the very cutting edge of web technology today. I can say with complete confidence that this framework offers perks that simply do not exist in any other framework available in the world.
- Fully responsive using advanced, sophisticated responsive techniques
- Display size agnostic, i.e. works on all display sizes from smart watch to UHDTV
- In depth cross compatibility; browser, OS, device, input mechanisms
- Relative unit based for scalable rather than fixed size design
- Full accessibility support
- Ultra compressed and minified for minimum http requests
- Fast: current tests clocking in at 0.54 - 0.83 seconds load time with a simple design on a localhost
- Separation of concerns - follows an MVC style architecture to the greatest degree possible in WordPress, with layout, style and content fetching from WP distinctly separated and hence far easier to customize or modify
- Incorporates modern coding languages and methods, including Handlebars, Jade and Stylus with potential support for extra languages.
- Multiple "Skins" per theme - apply different CSS to the same base HTML to create an entirely different look without changing themes
- Multiple "Color Schemes" per "Skin" - create multiple color variations of any skin
- Between "Skins" and "Color Schemes", offer dozens of style variations per theme
- Early architecture in place to allow you to output one project to themes for multiple platforms, not just WordPress. (To be confirmed). UPDATE: To support simultaneous theme creation for WordPress, Ghost and static HTML sites.
- Developers, keep the source code for your themes on your own computer, completely separate from the theme itself.
- ThemeStarta Editor transitioning from being a WP plugin to desktop software, with support for Mac and Windows systems planned. UPDATE: No longer to be an application requiring software installation. Instead, will operate as an NPM module. May still create an installable app wrapper for this later.
- Plus a long list of extra features I will announce as we move along.
This is not just a new version of ThemeStarta, it's a whole new way of handling theme development.
TS3's forthcoming release is the reason for our undergoing a major change here at PlanetStarta.
What's changing, and why?
For almost as long as I've been involved in web development, I've tapped into the incredible opportunities generated by the hard work of other people via their open source projects. Between open source site creation platforms and open source scripts, I undoubtedly would not be where I am today were it not for the open source movement.
And for a very long time, I have wanted to become a significant part of that movement. The only thing holding me back was I didn't have the understanding and experience required to go about it successfully.
Now I do.
That means that finally, I can join the cycle of paying it forward. I too can create amazing opportunities for other people in the same way that was done for me. The open source movement has genuinely made the world a better place for millions of people, and now it's my time to add my contribution.
What ThemeStarta is all about
When I created ThemeStarta, originally named Website Weaver, it was because I wanted other people to have the opportunities I had. Creating WordPress themes allowed me to be self employed and gave me the ability to determine my own fate. I wanted to create tools that would help other people get those same improvements in their own lives.
Since that first release I'm very happy to say the goal has been realized for many of the fine people who have used our themes, plugins and tools.
Moving forward with an open source model will allow that dream to be even further and more widely realized, for the maximum number of people I can possibly reach.
ThemeStarta's New Home
TS3 is something very special, and it's going to need a space all its own. So upon the release of TS3 it will be available at its new home, http://www.themestarta.com
There's not much there right now, but you can head over and enter your email if you'd like to be notified when TS3 is released.
What about www.planetstarta.com?
PlanetStarta.com will be closed off to new folks, but it will remain accessible for all existing members or theme owners. You'll still be able to login for your downloads and post if you need help in the forums.
When is TS3 coming?
The first phase of release will be, all going to my current plans, in the new year. This first phase will include a release of the TS3 Framework and will be an open beta we can use to iron out any kinks that may pop up.
At this point the TS Editor will be a compiler that handles converting the source code for your themes into WP ready format. At this stage there will not be a drag and drop interface for theme editing, it will require you to work directly with the source code of your theme. However you will see automatic updates to your design live as you go along.
When the time is right I will open up a dev blog at http://www.themestarta.com you can follow to watch the development progress.
What about my TS2 themes?
The current range of themes were recently updated for WP 4.0 so to the best of my knowledge you should be solid to keep on using them as is for quite some time.
Eventually though, support for TS2 will have to wrap up as the focus will be on the new and cutting edge TS3 framework.
So here's my plan.
Right now I don't know which themes you guys love the most and very keenly want to hang on to. What I would like you to do is post in the forum to let me know which themes you use often and don't ever want to part with.
When I know which themes are being used the most by you all, I will create brand new TS3 versions of those themes and they'll be made available exclusively to people who licensed the TS2 versions. I'll also provide guidance on how you can create TS3 versions of your own custom TS2 themes.
From then on you'll be all good to go for the foreseeable future, with themes built on the latest and active framework iteration.
What's happening between now & TS3
Two things will be happening.
One, as I mentioned above, be assured you are not being left in the lurch. This is a transition to a new phase, not an ending, and I look after people who have put their faith in me. The theme for this month will be released as usual, and you can continue accessing your downloads and the support forum.
Two, at the same time I will be working on TS3 moving steadily towards the first phase of release. You'll see that, all going to plan, relatively early in the new year.
Keep an eye on http://www.themestarta.com for the opening of the dev blog which will publish news and updates on what TS3 is, the features it will incorporate, and how it's progressing.
If you subscribe to the newsletter there now, I'll post a message out to let you all know when the dev blog is on the go.
If you have any questions, please go ahead and post them in the forums: http://forum.planetstarta.com/categories/general-chat
I'd appreciate it if you would post any questions there rather than via email or PM, as if you have a question its very likely others will have the same question, and would benefit from your post.
Thankyou so much for all of your support, and I look forward to moving into this exciting new phase with you!