Theme Hybrid Version 5.0

It’s been over three years since TH4 (version 4.0 of Theme Hybrid). TH5 was long past due.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been in the lab, working on nothing more than the redesign of the site. Actually, I shouldn’t call this merely a redesign. Many of the changes were code updates to the numerous plugins I use on this site, most of which I’ll be pushing out for public release in the near future. So, this is nearly an entire site relaunch for me.

There were certainly days when I got frustrated. A few of those days, I even felt like throwing in the towel altogether. Truth be told, I’m not 100% finished with everything. But, at a certain point, you simply have to pull the trigger on a project. Then, fix things as you go along.

Overall, I’m excited about TH5 and look forward to building upon it. I hope y’all keep going down this journey with me.

The past three years to today

Screenshot of version 5.0 of the ThemeHybrid.com Web site.

I made a lot of mistakes.

Any entrepreneur would probably say the same when taking stock of past years. I’m no different. The important thing is that I continue learning and growing from that experience.

Perhaps my biggest mistake early on in the past three years is that I grew overconfident in some areas, which drove many of the design and business decisions. At the same time, some of the not-so-good parts of my personal life drove my passion for development work into the ground.

In large part, this relaunch isn’t just because I needed a fresh coat of paint for the site. Well, the site certainly needed it. But, I wanted the site to reflect who I’ve become both personally and professionally since TH4. I’m not the same man I was then. I’ve had some humbling experiences and am now just as passionate about what I do as I’ve ever been.

And, to the members here, thanks for sticking around for so many years. Some of you’ve been with me every step of the way. Theme Hybrid only keeps going because of you all.

New membership plans

One of the major things I wanted to change was the membership system. The old system was a bit confusing, and no one ever knew which was the right plan to sign up under.

The new system is still tiered, with each level building upon the level before:

  • Basic: $29/year – Support forum access
  • Standard: $39/year – Support forum + Slack chat access
  • Premium: $49/year – Support forum + Slack + Premium themes/plugins

Check out Plans & Pricing for all the details.

This is the first time since the site’s earliest days where membership provided access to commercial themes/plugins. I’ve almost always stuck to support memberships. However, as the site’s commercial product offerings continue to grow, an extra “all-access” type of tier seems necessary.

If you’re a current member, nothing has changed about your membership status. You still have support forum and Slack access. I will continue to honor that membership until it expires. At that point, you’re free to choose from one of the new plans.

Some things coming your way

As I said, much of this relaunch was me making changes to plugin code. Aside from just being something that’s forever used on my site, I plan to put some of this stuff out there for you all.

I’ve had a testimonials plugin sitting on the backburner for a long while now. The original code is something I’ve used on this site for years. I know there are existing plugins out there for testimonials, but it never hurts to have another option, particularly one that I feel confident enough running on my own site.

The Plugin Developer and Theme Designer plugins got some much-needed love. I’ve got some news about these two that I’m going to keep secret for just a while longer.

My forum plugin is back on the roadmap. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with all the forum software ever used on Theme Hybrid, even all the way back to the original bbPress. When I built my own solution a few years back, that relationship didn’t get much better, but I learned a lot. Tinkering with the code for this relaunch has sparked my interest in forums once again. So, I think it’s about time I put out a 1.0 release and go from there.

Markdown in the forums

I write almost exclusively in Markdown on the Web. In fact, I’m composing this very post in it. Markdown makes a ton of sense for technical forums where we post a lot of code. This is one of those changes that was long overdue.

I’ve written a formatting guide for members. If you’re not familiar with Markdown, it’ll only take a couple of minutes of your time. The guide is also linked on all topic/reply forms in the support forums if you need to access it quickly.

Welcome to TH5

Yes, there are bugs. I’m working on them. It’s going to take a bit of time to squash them all. Feel free to let me know about any via the comments below, the support forums, or the contact form.

There’s also a few areas where I simply haven’t finished updating (like adding appropriate screenshots and such).

In the coming weeks, I’ll be retiring some old plugins and themes as well. Some things simply aren’t in use anymore. I will be taking feedback from members before making any final decisions. Just be on the lookout in the forums and our Slack community.

Outside of that I hope you like the new site. Feedback is always more than welcome.

10 Comments

  1. James
    ·Reply

    Looks awesome – glad to see the new version. Although I am not active anymore, I owe you a lot for kindling my passion in web development


    1. ·Reply

      We need to get you active again! 🙂


  2. ·Reply

    Great news! ThemeHybrid was and still is one of the best resource for WordPress developers (not only theme developers). I’ve been inspired a lot from your work! Good luck!


    1. ·Reply

      Thanks. We have a good group of theme and plugin developers here. I think I’ve learned just as much from them as they have from me.


  3. ·Reply

    I have learned a ton from you Justin (TH forum and your blog). I really love this new design. Simple, sharp font and equally appealing.


    1. ·Reply

      I’m glad you like the font choices. I spent a huge amount of time trying out different fonts and font combinations.

      Ultimately I went with a combo of Josefin Sans for headings and Georgia for body copy (it’s hard to go wrong with tried-and-true Georgia). And, I use Playfair Display for special areas.


  4. ·Reply

    Really nice!
    Like the others have commented, Theme Hybrid has been instrumental in my past 3+ years of development. Looking forward to many more!


    1. ·Reply

      Thanks, Marty. If y’all keep sticking around, I hope we can get many more years out of this site/community.


  5. ·Reply

    Dear Jason – welcome back!

    Sorry for posting this here, I wasn’t sure where else to do this…
    I was a relatively early adopter of the Hybrid theme – maybe v0.6(?) – and with much trial and error made my own theme based on your Skeleton child. I updated a couple of times but am still ‘only’ running Hybrid v0.9 – the times I uprgarded were frustrating as I would only find out by chance (ie when something no-longer worked) that a particular function had been deprecated – and with a site that’s been online since 2002, that a lot of content and potentially a lot of things not working.

    Jump forward to today, and I no understanding what the ‘framework’ is, or what I should do with it – I have no coding knowledge, but can get by in css – or at least css as it was 5 years ago!

    There’s 15 years of work in my site and it’s my business too today – so where do I start If I want to bring it up to date from a structural point of view? I’ve even been tempted to restart with a child of the bundled wp theme as there is the feeling that the team will always be on top of everything there – but if you are back…

    Bestest!
    Bill


    1. ·Reply

      Hi, Bill. I should start off by saying the the “Hybrid theme” that you’re referring to was retired years ago. It was built off the “Hybrid Core” framework.

      Yes, I know. Poor naming on my part.

      So, the framework has continued on and is still in existence today. However, it’s really only meant for developers who want to build their own themes. It’s not something that users should ever concern themselves with. All of my themes here are built from it.

      What you need is a new theme. Of course, any of the WP Twenty* themes are solid. It’s hard to go wrong with any of them.

      However, I’d recommend something like Stargazer if you want a more traditional blog theme (content + sidebar). There’s also a number of existing child themes for it if you want a different look.

      If you want a sidebar-less theme, I’d recommend Extant or Saga.

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