After working in the ‘web tools’ space for a few years, you become acquainted with a few of the issues we face day to day. In fact, after a while, dealing with these issues becomes part of the job and you barely notice them anymore.
However, every once in a while a product comes along that changes the way you view the problem and makes you realize that all that inconvenience really wasn’t necessary after all. A good example might be what the iPhone did to all the cell phones that existed prior.
In the design of DMS, we had a core ambition. We wanted to disrupt theming. A lofty goal I realize, but once we walk through a couple of the core problems with theming, and potential solutions, then I think you’ll recognize some of these ambitions in DMS when it’s released on July 24th.
The Problem with CMS Theming
To discuss the problems in theming, we have to start with the goal of a theme. And that is:
That means no code, and no frustration.” — Captain Obvious
Ok, seems simple. But there are 3 main problems in today’s CMS theming I want to highlight…
Exhibit A: Themes look nothing like their demo on install
When people buy a theme their mindset is typically something like this: “Oh wow, that theme looks awesome, I can’t wait to install it on my site, I’m sure it will look awesome.”
However, what they typically get is the exact opposite. Themes look like CRAP on install.
What you’re looking at with a demo is something set up by a professional, with his/her demo in mind and more specifically selling you on their mind. This is fine, this is the game.
However, the problem is that most people don’t have the skills or time needed to something as simple as recreate the demo. That’s the real issue here. I suspect some of you out there know exactly what I’m talking about.
As an example we bought some of the most popular ‘premium’ themes out there, here’s the demo versus them on install.
What’s the solution to this problem? Well, the solution is doing a better job of import and export. Since these themes are built from scratch to look good and not as a design platform, they simply don’t have the tools to have good import and export.
So with that, I would like to announce that DMS has an awesome import and export tool. And THIS is why it matters.
Exhibit B: Customizing themes takes a degree in CS or lots & lots of pain
Themes are what we call in the industry ‘hard coded.’ Meaning, there is no rhyme or reason to how they are structured, behind the scenes, other than they need to work.
This means there are two ways to customize a theme:
- Theme options
- Custom code
Theme options are great! However, in themes, they are typically (and by typically, we mean always) hard to find, don’t do what you want, or are somehow limited in scope or functionality. This means you have to resort to the second option which is, dun, dun, dun: coding.
Coding for most people is super fun and a great way to spend the day. Most people can’t wait to spend countless hours trying to figure out why something ‘just isn’t working,’ or to experience the pleasure of taking their entire site down accidentally. (End sarcasm, please don’t think we’re serious!)
Thus this is where web developers, getting paid $75+/hour come in. More fun.
PageLines has been trying to solve *this* problem for years, however, in DMS we really think we’ve nailed down the solution. Pro web design, fast, without coding… coming soon. Check.
Exhibit C: Theme sites don’t evolve, you throw them away and start over once again
Another issue that you may not realize is that CMS themes can’t evolve. The process goes like this, “oooo, I want that theme! It has the cool accordion slider thingy, like that other site I love! :D” and then, with some effort, you get your new website with your accordion ‘thingy.’ However, in about 12 to 18 months the entire web decides that accordion sliders are not cool anymore and you HAVE to have a parallax feature or your site looks like it’s from 1999 (i.e. prehistoric times)..
That colorful example is to highlight my point, CMS themes don’t evolve without coding.
This is the problem PageLines is solving with the growing marketplace and community. We are learning more and more about what you want in a platform and what we need to do to get awesome designers & developers to give it to you.
With DMS you will be able to add new components to your site in seconds with drag and drop, and if you want, remove components equally fast. This means your site evolves with the trends, or how you’re feeling on a given day. It’s that easy. You CAN have your accordion slider thingy and the parallax hotness at the same time.
What else? Let’s start a conversation…
Well, we don’t want to spoil any of the fun surprises coming for you on launch day. However, we would love to start a conversation around all the things that can be improved about CMS themes and how they work. We’ve tried to think through everything, so either your input will encourage us or get us thinking!
If you aren’t yet familiar with DMS, please check out the video and landing page before launch date and be part of the web design revolution coming on July 24th.
Over and out.