Flexibility was started as just another WordPresss theme and then it happened…
I was hung up on some aspect of the theme and was Googling around for information when I found a post about creating an options page in WordPress. I followed the instructions and in a few minutes I had a very basic options page with a couple of text fields and a select menu.
I started playing around with the CSS code and then I realized that I could control EVERY aspect of a theme simply by dynamically pulling the CSS parameters from the options table in the WordPress database. It was so simple, yet it had such possibilities!
The options page slowly started to grow as I came up with ideas for customizing the theme. Along the way, I had to fight with myself to NOT include options that would confuse or complicate. I ended up using options that would give WordPress users the most flexibility, without being overkill. There are some aspects that are very nit-picky such as the letter spacing on the sidebar titles, but sometimes an all-capitalized, widely spaced title looks really sharp!
How much is too much?
There were many options that were left on the cutting-room floor just to keep the options page from being way too long. It’s probably too long the way it is, but that’s personal preference. Some users will find the level of detail is overkill, while others will wish I had added control over styling for many more items.
Before I decided on releasing Flexibility free, I had planned on releasing several versions of the theme depending on the level of control the user desired. One would have been geared more toward AdSense and included more options for ad placement, one would have been designed more for graphical customization and a third would have combined the two into an “ultimate” theme version.
Plays nice with others
I tried to build the theme as cross-browser compliant as possible, but using transparent PNG images in IE6 is just a pain. Version 2 takes a little different approach than the first version, using a separate style sheet just for IE6. It strips out some of the graphics that bogged down the browser when the transparency fix kicks in. It was a balance of looks vs. performance, and I think it maximizes both.
What’s next for Flexibility?
Version 2.0 is a great improvement over the first version of the theme. Thanks to user input, I had a ton of suggestions to build into this release. Keep the ideas coming, as Flexibility is a constant work in progress. I enjoy hearing how other bloggers use the theme and what they want built into it.
FlexSqueeze now available
If you haven’t noticed, there is a new version of Flexibility available called FlexSqueeze. I saw a need for implementing sales pages in WordPress and created a spin-off of Flexibility 2 with a sales page function. There have been some additional improvements and changes to the core Flexibility 2 code, and FlexSqueeze runs faster and has a much better theme settings interface.
FlexSqueeze includes features such as the ability to import and export theme settings, which enables the use of “skins”. A skin is simply all the custom blog settings plus niche-specific graphics that enables you to very quickly create niche blogs for affiliate or AdSense purposes.
There will undoubtedly be more versions of the theme to come, but for now I need to take a little break and focus on some of my other sites. I put up a new forum on the site to help out with support issues, as I was getting a lot of questions via email, but that doesn’t benefit others looking for the same information. So if you have a question about Flexibility 2 or FlexSqueeze, check out the forum.