I don’t know if he’ll make it publicly available but the sneak peek on Dribbble of the “ExpressionEngine Minimalist Override” by Seamus Holman was enough to pique my interest. Clean and simple and definitely not pink.
Let’s encourage him to keep working on it: ExpressionEngine Minimalist Override
WooThemes have been busy recently adding two more ExpressionEngine themes to their catalog and lowering their prices. I want to bring that to your attention, but I’ve also been meaning to dig a little deeper into the WooThemes themes and see how they work. But first, the new themes.
The new themes are Inspire, originally released as a WordPress theme, a business theme and Headlines, a magazine theme.
Installing a Theme
I haven’t installed or used themes for ExpressionEngine (several years ago I did customize a couple for WordPress) so I was interested to see what the process was like. I downloaded the Coffee Break theme, which is “built specifically to showcase your business, services or products.”
WooThemes account dashboard
WooThemes made some themes available to me to test with, so I logged into my account and downloaded the Coffee Break theme. The download bundle consists of
- a series of templates and assets that make up the theme. The entire directory is uploaded to the
themes/site_themes directory in your EE 2 installation. The theme templates use standard EE tags, so you should be able to quickly understand what is happening in a template and adjust as needed.
third_party directory, which contains some add-ons needed to make this theme run properly. You drop the contents of this directory into the
third_party directory on your site.
Each theme comes with complete instructions on installing it, including a video guide and other documentation. I didn’t see any mention of documentation in the download, so I had to hunt around the site to find it. When I did, it was thorough and easy to follow.
Installing a theme is very simple. When you install ExpressionEngine 2 using the wizard, you simply choose that theme before installing.
In addition to the two themes I mentioned at the beginning, WooThemes also has 8 other themes for ExpressionEngine. All of these, I believe, are themes originally created for WordPress and migrated over to ExpressionEngine 2.
I found all of the themes to be really nice. My personal favorites were Delegate and the new Inspire themes.
ExpressionEngine themes are only available as single purchases (you can do a monthly subscription to WordPress themes). There are two different prices for EE themes: Standard and Developer. The Standard package ($60) allows you to use the theme on a single site and includes just the theme files. The Developer package ($100) is a multi-site license and also include the Photoshop file of the theme design. As I mentioned earlier these prices were recently lowered.
Why a theme?
That’s a great question. I don’t have any real data to support this but my hunch is that the majority of the ExpressionEngine community creates and builds their own site designs for each project. The idea of themes, while commonplace in the WordPress community, is very new to ExpressionEngine. I’m sure some people didn’t even realize you could one-click install a theme during installation.
But as the community grows and more people make the switch to ExpressionEngine, the number of people needing and wanting themes will grow. Just because you or I don’t use themes doesn’t mean other people don’t have the need. If I wanted to set up a quick blog for a family member, I might choose a theme. There are a lot of usage scenarios out there. All in all, I think it’s great to have nice, well-designed themes available for those people who need them.