1. Barry

    Evenflow is a great looking WordPress theme

    But, what does the theme look like? I’d have thought a review of a theme would have a screenshot of the theme in it :)


  2. Jeffro

    @Barry – OK dokey, added a screenshot of the theme at the beginning


  3. Lane Lester

    That looks very nice… and flexible. I’ve mostly stuck with free themes, due to a lack of income, but it would be nice to have a top-notch theme to use.


  4. Casey

    Thanks for the review, Jeff. I truly appreciate the constructive criticism, too. The main reason I sent this theme to you for review, was specifically for this type of feedback. You have some very good points and I’m sure it’ll be helpful in upcoming updates. That said, the thing about WordPress is there are multiple ways to perform single tasks. In most cases, it all boils down to user preference. As a theme developer, you never know what kind of end-user you’re dealing with; Some prefer frameworks with more point-and-click, and drag-n-drop options, while others don’t want to be tied to third party code or spend the time learning a whole new set of functions in order to extend their theme (as in a CMS). My aim for Evenflow was to build a theme both the end-user and a novice developer can benefit from.

    Personally, I prefer raw control over theme files in order to leverage from the native code base, rather than requiring the theme to pass through a whole new set of functions before the layout is even parsed. For example, why query the database and loop through a series of PHP functions just to specify a category template when all you have to do is duplicate and rename a category-slugname.php file? If the category displays a different markup to begin with, then it usually requires a new file anyway. I know many users are framework fanatics and maybe one day I’ll be, but I’d like to believe some people just want to use WP to build web sites and not just blogs of content. If you’re going to build a modern web site, you need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves from time to time. I won’t go any further comparing a theme against a theme framework because there really is no comparison. I’ve thought about solely developing child themes, because I don’t want to create yet another framework. I’d be interested in seeing how a business model like this would work without stepping on anyone’s toes in the process of redistributing other’s code. Maybe another topic?

    You’re absolutely correct about the navigation features. This is probably the biggest weakness of WordPress. I’m really excited about 3.0.

    To clarify the confusion, the Top menu is the one at the top of the screen. The Main menu is the predominant navbar just below the logo.

    Yes, the Exclude Pages plugin is pretty much useless with this theme. That’s pretty much what the Navigation tab does for you. The purpose of displaying the ID’s next to the Page checkbox was really just for quick reference to specify the featured slides. That said, the whole approach of the Slider may need to be rethought for flexibility’s sake. I chose to use Pages for this theme because of the style and intention of the theme. For example, the way I used them in the demo to link to the individual Feature pages. I suppose for a larger site, a “Featured” category approach may be more universally beneficial.

    As for the ads and scripts tabs, yes there are many great plugins that do this for you. The purpose of adding this functionality was so the user wouldn’t need to install and maintain plugins, but leverage mainly from Google Adsense and Google Analytics. If there were a plugin for tracking monetization within WordPress, I probably wouldn’t use it anyway. WordPress hammers the database bad enough as it is.
    Thanks again for the review. I really enjoy your podcast and look forward to hearing back from your readers.


  5. Jeffro

    @Casey – Well hey, I knew their had to be methods to your madness :). It’s nice hearing from you as your perspective as the developer to know why things are the way they are. Seems to make a little more sense to me now.

    I hate diving into framework files to make a simple change which themes like Evenflow make easy because the theme is made up of individual template files. I know where to go and generally know what to edit. But I’ve been spoiled by the one click saves the change across the entire theme approach that frameworks/child themes have. I have to hand it to you though, you made it very easy for someone to tinker around with the PHP as it’s commented very well.

    You definitely have some design skill and I can see the Joomla influences in Evenflow and Avalon which is what I like. I’ve got my eye on you for future themes.


  6. pays to live green

    Really nice blog theme. It looks extremely professional and simple (as the company name says). I don’t like a theme that is too cluttered and this is not one of those. Regardless of the few minor points that you mentioned in the review with setting up this theme, I would use this theme in a heartbeat for one of my blogs.


  7. Gil

    This looks like a very nice clean theme. The ad-management could be nice, particularly for sites that don’t need anything too robust. I’ll have to give simplethemes a closer look.


  8. Brian

    Jumping into the Framework debate: I think we’re rapidly heading toward a world where there will only be a couple of viable theme frameworks. It doesn’t make sense to take the extra effort to make your theme do all the work that frameworks do unless you really think you’re going to be one of the few frameworks that’s still around in a couple years.

    Meanwhile, there’s still plenty of room for one-off themes and (eventually) child themes for major frameworks. As a developer, I appreciate the ability to have a client pick out a theme that’s almost what they want as a starting point for customization. Frameworks are nice, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s just as quick to make customizations in code. (As a bonus, any work I do in PHP is unlikely to be accidentally undone by less savvy end-users.)


  9. Casey

    I agree. I do think there is a place and time for frameworks, especially for sites with huge amounts of content but when you have sites with several types of content, it’s almost easier to have that direct manual control of traditional themes. You can always create a few functions that can act as a reusable framework snippet if you have to. With custom post types coming in WP3 (http://tinyurl.com/yekc6rb) I think we’ll really start to see an evolution in themes and theme frameworks alike.


  10. Jeffro

    I forgot to give away the coupon codes but after someone inquired about them, I’ve now given them away.


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