Review – Degusto By ThemeShift

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Summary:

Degusto is a dark styled portfolio type theme containing a featured content block on the front page, three columns for content, and a three column footer. This theme costs 39 Euros or, $54.24.

License:

ThemeShift is a new entrant to the commercial theme marketplace within the WordPress community. However, out of the gate, ThemeShift has released their themes under the GPL. Upon taking a look at their terms and conditions, it’s easy to see that you don’t have any restrictions on how you use their themes, which is a good thing.

You may use your purchased theme on as many pages as you like for personal or commercial purposes. Unlimited access to the support forums is granted only to customers who buy a ThemeShift theme package from this website. Access for visitors and users of my free themes will be limited.

Kudos to ThemeShift for doing business in this fashion.

Installation:

Installation was incredibly simple although with this theme, there is an additional step after the files are uploaded, Set file permissions (CHMOD) of foler /wp-content/themes/degusto/lib/cache to 777. I don’t know why I have to perform this particular step but if it’s in the directions, I’m going to do it!

Configuration:

This is where it gets interesting. When I activated the Degusto theme on my local install where I already have a WordPress installation filled with content, the results look terrible. This is to be expected considering themes like Degusto act as a mold and if you’re switching from a different theme, you’re likely to change some things around on your site so your content matches the new mold.

degustothemeoptions1 degustothemeoptions2 degustothemeoptions3

Reviewing the readme file which is bundled with the theme, I’m given a primer on the theme options page. From within the theme options, I can control the image overlay, the behaviour of the slider and add stuff to the footer.

Unfortunately, I ran into an issue where I couldn’t select a slider category or a teaser category. For whatever reason, the drop down menus were blank.

*NOTE* WordPress 2.8 introduced a bug with get_categories which has affected this theme. I received some updated files today which fixed the issue, I believe these files are already added to the download package. Regardless, the issue will be resolved in WordPress 2.8.1.

Design:

It’s hard for me to comment on this aspect of the theme because I’m reviewing it on a site that contains content not meant to be housed within narrow columns on the front page. I’m also using about 30 different plugins. When Degusto is activated on my test site, it looks terrible because of the huge photos I use and the embedded videos. Things are misaligned and I have too many categories which makes the top of the site look bad as well. To give you an idea as to what I mean, look at the following screenshot.

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I won’t knock this theme because of it’s looks on my test site since it is not the themes fault. But this is one of those situations where you might look at the Desgusto demo as if you were looking at a new outfit in the display window of a store. You go inside, make the purchase without having any way to try it on and discover it’s not the right fit only to realize you can’t get a refund.

With that said, the Degusto theme as it is on the demo site looks great. I’m loving the wooden background which reminds me of the tavern. All of the theme elements come together to make this a great looking dark theme.

Support:

Support is offered by way of a forum. Those who purchase a theme through ThemeShift get access to the bread and butter of the forum which supports English, Spanish and German speaking customers. One thing that might turn some people off is that the specific support forums are hidden from public view. This means you won’t be able to judge how well the support forums will work out for you. However, I can understand why a commercial GPL theme author might want to go down this route considering there is plenty of value in getting access to that forum and this is a large chunk of their business model.

I ended up sending Simon an email to notify him of the blank dropdown menu issue. He was right on top of things and notified me that it was a bug between the theme and WordPress 2.8. He sent me an updated copy right away and it corrected the issue.

Widgets:

This theme has three widgetized sidebars. Footer, right hand sidebar and 404. The right hand sidebar only shows up on the single page view.

sidebars

Final Thoughts:

I’m impressed with the demo of Degusto but unfortunately, I’m not able to realize its full potential because I’m not operating a portfolio type site. In order for my established site to take advantage of Degusto, I would seriously need to revamp the entire way I publish content and I would most likely have to revisit my archives to ensure the theme doesn’t break because I used an image that was too large. However, if I were to start a blog from scratch and use Degusto either as a dark blog theme or for a portfolio, I think I’d have a much better time.

Don’t let my downfalls with this theme keep you away from using it. The theme options page is put together well, so is the actual theme. It’s affordable, doesn’t impose restrictions on how you use it and support is responsive. If you’re starting a blog from scratch, that is when you really want to consider using Degusto.

Do You Want A Copy Of This Theme?:

As part of the deal to review this theme, Simon has granted me three Theme+Support packages that I can give away to whomever I chose. The winner will receive a copy of Degusto with access to the support forum. Here is how you can enter to win.

Leave a comment letting me know what you think about this theme and what you could see yourself using it for in the future either for yourself or a different project. In a few days, I’ll take the comment ID numbers and place them in a random number picker and whichever three numbers are chosen, will get a copy of the theme.

Who is Jeff Chandler


Jeff Chandler is a WordPress guy in the buckeye state. Contributing writer for WPTavern. Have been writing about WordPress since 2007. Host of the WordPress Weekly Podcast.

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