I feel like I’ve been going non-stop these last couple of weeks just prepping version 2.1.0 of the Exhale theme. I’m pretty sure my family thought they’d adopted a zombie at one point. I was in this weird haze where my mind was thinking about code and only code (good thing it wasn’t brains).
Fortunately, I got a good night’s rest and wrapped up the next version of Exhale this morning.
I’m super happy with this release. A lot of work went into not only getting its features ready but laying the groundwork for some features in upcoming releases. Without further ado, let’s get right down to the nitty-gritty of things.
New Content Layout Options
There are now 3 content layout options available via the “Blog” and “Archives” sections in the “Theme: Content” panel in the customizer:
- Blog: This is the old-style default blog view.
- Grid: Outputs your posts in a grid.
- List: Outputs your post titles as a list.
Along with the layout options, you can select between other options, depending on the type of layout you’ve chosen:
- Posts Per Page: Select the number of posts to appear.
- Width: Choose the width of your content area (only available with Grid).
- Columns: Choose between 2 and 6 columns (only available with Grid).
- Featured Image Size: Choose between a variety of landscape, portrait, or square image sizes.
Currently, you can only set these layout options for Blog (posts page) and Archive views. In version 2.2.0, I plan to add options for all custom post types and taxonomies as well. Technically, these can be set via code if really needed right now. There’s just no customizer options for them yet.
Block Design Settings
I dropped a few of the old block styles in favor of a much more flexible custom Design Settings panel for certain blocks in the Block Editor. This provides you with more options on how you want things to appear. The Design Settings panel will only appear if a block has any options.
The Bullets option is available for the List block only, which allows you to set the style of bullets you want for your list.
The Border Radius and Shadow options are available with the following blocks.
- Media & Text
More design settings will come in future releases so that you have more control over how things appear. This release was more about laying the code foundation and porting over the Rounded and Shadow styles that we had in previous releases to the new system.
For those interested in the technical aspects, all these options do is add a utility class based on the selection, which is no different than block styles. However, it’s much more flexible.
Footer Sidebar and Menu
I’ve added a couple of requested features that make great additions to the theme.
The first is a footer sidebar. Technically, it’s four footer sidebars. The theme will automatically adjust the number of columns based on how many sidebars you have widgets in. So, it can be between 1 and 4 columns. I’ve also added color options for the footer sidebar area.
The second feature is a new nav menu in the footer that is placed above the credit text area. Basic feature that some folks need.
Both of these new features are completely optional. They won’t appear on the front end of the site unless you choose to use them.
Early WooCommerce Support
I began work on WooCommerce integration. The theme does not officially support WooCommerce at this point. However, it will have full support at some point in the future.
The long-term plan is to continue building upon this early work for the next few releases until I’m happy with the result. I wanted to include this early draft of the work so that folks could begin testing it if they wanted and providing feedback on what they want to see.
I want to get this right. This means building out the integration in a way that doesn’t negatively affect those users who are not running WooCommerce by slowing down their page loads with unnecessary code. And, I won’t ship official support until that’s a reality.
Other Things of Note
A few slightly less noteworthy items:
- Gutenberg 6.1+ support.
- Theme Options panel in the customizer is now split into 4 panels:
- Theme: Global
- Theme: Header
- Theme: Content
- Theme: Footer
- New “Titanic” font size for the editor.
- New “Reverse” block style for the Gallery block for flipping the row order.
- Tightened up some vertical spacing and font sizes.
Download the Exhale Theme
Premium members can grab a new copy from their Account Page.
If you’re not already a member, go check out the theme →.