A long time ago in a theme shop far far away, well, not so far away….a few kilometers in fact from where I work out of now (home), I used to work on themes that had a lot of features and custom code in them. A sort of, multipurpose theme so to speak. Themes that did more than just the design.
And then after a lot of support pain and lack of portability, I learnt a few good lessons, and switched back to building design focused themes and moved the custom code and features off into plugins where they should be.
In parallel to this time period, I played the guitar in a few bands, and I was using a multi effects unit, the Line 6 POD XT Live. The model isn’t important, it’s the principle of what it does – it’s a unit that has multiple effects pedals and amp models, and really at its core it eliminates the need to buy multiple pedals and amps.
What’s interesting about having a unit like this, is that much like multipurpose themes which have loads of options, demos, and custom features, I really use only a select few of them. The others simply sit there, doing nothing, not realizing their potential, sometimes even hindering performance, sometimes I wasn’t even aware which effects/options were active.
For me, I actually think of my guitar sound in the same way I think about themes now. I purchased my amp because I wanted a particular main sound to start with, which is much like purchasing a theme for the main design/layout – this would be the foundational part of my sound/website that I would be creating. And after that I add extra things like an overdrive pedal or an e-commerce plugin. And the more effects I need, I simply add them individually, and in the same way I add features to my website with plugins.
The similarities here are striking.
The convenience of buying an all-inclusive multi effects unit and a multipurpose theme saves you on cost, is essentially a 1-click solution, but in the long run it has the potentially to really stifle your growth as a performer/website builder.
I’m happy to see many theme shops move in this direction more and more, providing support for plugins like WooCommerce, and not including the plugin features in the theme. The benefits to the customer will shine in the long run, and despite the growing voices about the “end of the theme gold rush”, I think that we are simply seeing a different kind of theme product emerge.
Personally, I’m amped for the future 😉