In the last weeks I talked a bit with the guys over at thematosoup. Thematosoup is a very fine WordPress company which is run by Slobodan and Dragan. Some of you might know their work from the fantastic author plugin, they have developed.
So, we had a small talk about themes and cooperation and so on and Dragan introduced me to Gumbo, a theme they have recently developed and to be honest, I’ve liked the previous theme “Alpha Forte” of my blog, which is great, but I immediately switched to Gumbo.
Thematosoups Gumbo comes along in a very clean and minimalist style, but everything is on its place. Thematosoups philosophy is strictly to separate between the job, which needs to be done by a theme and a job, which needs to be done by a plugin. So, you won’t find 1.000 shortcodes, no functionality, which can be done by a plugin. The theme remains a theme (maybe with the exception of the social menu bar, but in my eyes this makes perfectly sense)..
For the ones, who work (like me too) with clients and head every now and then to Envatos Themeforest, you know one of the big trends of commercial themes. Bundle all plugins you can find and call it a theme. You will get rich themes and work hours on hours in configuring them. I wouldn’t wonder, if there are some job descriptions out there, which say “we are searching an Avada expert” (Edit: haha, actually, there is!)
Personally, I really don’t like this kind of themes. Thematosoups philosophy is quite compelling and the recent problems with the Revolution Slider (for those, who haven’t noticed, have a look on this post by Sarah Gooding) should be a real eye opener to the business.
The Gumbo Theme
Basically, as Dragan pointed out, they try to realize all options with the Customizer, which was introduced in WP 3.4. So let’s have a look into the Customizer:
We will find 10 sections, where we can alter the look of our WordPress blog and it’s really focussed on the looks. The layout section allows you to change the position of the standard sidebar, the position of the standard menu (wow! I still don’t use a menu 😀 )
If you are using featured content, something, you want to highlight, you should have a look into the featured content section. You should have a tag, where you gather only your featured content. You can select this tag and display these as a slider on your homepage! Maybe it would be a possibility, not to limit this to tags, but to enable the user, also to use sticky posts, a category or something else, but they did a very nice job in realizing such an option.
You can alter typography, colors, background images and much more. And somehow, because of the very nice work, they did with keeping ratios, padding, margin and so on, there is almost nothing, you can do wrong about it. In the end, you will still run your blog in a nice modern and simple layout.
But, with the Customizer, you just alter the general settings. You can also alter your layout for each post.
And this, of course, is a nice way. I personally like especially the possibility to change the option of the font size.
Quite a nice feature are the templates for pages. There are several templates, you can use, like for example a sitemap, or an author page, which I have used for my about page. The Masonry template gives you the latest posts, but in a Pinterest style. And with the widgetized template, it is very easy to set up a nice landingpage. On the themes description it says:
This is one page template you can use to add widgets in your “below content” widget area. Widgetized Template works together with Widgetized Page widget area and has some specific options, which you can enable in Screen Options of your page editor.
So thematosoup has delivered a nice theme. But it’s not just the theme, which I like, it’s the whole attitude, by which they present it. Although Gumbo is a free theme, they put a lot of effort into explaining the theme with videos, where they teach people how to use it. They’ve created a perfect theme demo page, by which you easily get all possibilities of the theme.
They take part in the “Theme hook alliance“, which I didn’t know until now.
All together, they made a very nice theme and put a lot of effort into the surroundings. They keep care, to use best practices and hook into initiatives in order to make a better WordPress. So, if you are searching for a new theme, have a look at Gumbo.