Theme Quality

How does the quality of the wpmudev themes compare to studiopress genesis and its child themes, in terms of browser loading speed and customisability? After research, I was about to buy the studiopress genesis plus child themes but as a hobbiest, with a non-monetized multi-site, I don't know if I can justify spending on bothy wpmudev and studiopress. Input?

  • Mason

    Hiya!

    Heh, are you asking us for an impartial review of "us v. them?" ;D

    Well, I actually have a subscription over there as well and frameworks in general are a "hot" topic right now in the community so I'll take a stab at this as well.

    My thought is that frameworks (such as Genesis) are really for developers. If you're a web developer and you design themes for a living then a framework is a great benefit to you as it gives you the same base of code to start from each time you develop a theme. As an end user though, it only means an extra level of complexity you have to keep up to date.

    Each framework (and there are several) has its own positives and negatives.

    How does the quality of the wpmudev themes compare to studiopress genesis and its child themes, in terms of browser loading speed and customisability?

    I'm not aware of anyone who's done a comparison test on speed. Our themes provide loads more built-in customization options than the ones I've seen from StudioPress though. In this way customization is much easier for end users who don't want to learn HTML/CSS.

    There was a very interesting article discussing and comparing frameworks awhile back. If you haven't read it already, it's still a good read:
    http://technosailor.aaronbrazell.com/2010/04/07/battle-of-the-titans-premium-theme-framework-smackdown/

    Ultimately, the whether it's worth the money or not depends on what you want to do (develop your own themes) or if they've got a theme that fits the bill for a project you have.

    Anybody else want to chime in here? I'd be curious to see what other members here think!

  • drmike

    Just wanted to raise the issue that some premium theme designers take a rather dim view of wpmu and will not license their works on the wpmu platform. Or want you to pay for a developers license or for each and every blog that you have up and running. May want to check with them on how they feel about it.

    I wonder when Matt will get a hair up his ass about that. (I;ve got a rather vocal street preacher beside me for the last 30 minutes screaming at the BofA building. I'm not in a good mood. I was trying to watch an episode of Sabrina, The Animated Series while answering tickets. So much for that...)

  • wadams92101

    Thank you guys for your very thoughtful responses. I had read that technosailer article, and that along with a recommendation from Andrea_R (Hi MasonJames - I see you there too) sold me on Genesis. But I'm not a developer, nor even a monetized user (someday, I hope :slight_smile:, so when I decided to renew here for a full year, I figured I better give these themes a good hard look before purchasing an outside premium theme. I'm currently using Atahualpa (free) but I think it may not be the quickest loading theme and I'm using a lot of plugins. The site is a multi-author blog (urbdezine.com) with subdomains acting as editions for various cities. Any recommendations for a WPMUDEV theme? I need a custom header, preferably full width (beyond the width of the body container). fast loading and lot of optimization.

    P.S. @MJ, I didn't understand your comment regarding loads:

    Our themes provide loads more built-in customization options than the ones I've seen from StudioPress though.

    I.e., I understood what you were saying about more customization but did something get garbled there about the loads.

  • Tammie

    @wadams92101: Our themes also allow BuddyPress out of the box and are designed directly for BuddyPress. Not sure if you plan on using BuddyPress or not. We also do something a lot of theme companies do not and have child and parent themes. Not for instance where a lot of frameworks are the parent and the themes are the child. Also we do not requrie you to buy another theme / plugin to make it compatible with BuddyPress which is the case with some themes.

    What you are saying you want look wise pretty much covers several of our themes so I'd suggest you have a look around and even try on a few for size. Just a few I'd suggest would be:

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/product-theme

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/buddypress-blogsmu-theme

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/buddypress-daily-theme

    In the theme world most are affiliated to some theme / company - Andrea is to Genesis and StudioPress for instance and of course I'd be biased to ours :slight_smile: Therefore, I'd always suggest you try before you buy and find what suits you. Ultimately if you're a member here you get access to all our themes without paying anything else and to me I reckon it's worth trying ours out before going somewhere else just on that basis if nothing else as certainly saves you some cash :slight_smile: I think you'll find we offer great support on our themes also. Should you need any assistance just post in the themes section if about a theme and we'll get you some help.

  • Tammie

    @wadams92101: All our themes work for: WordPress, WordPress Ms and BuddyPress and on each of those alone (well you need ms or single for BuddyPress but you get the idea :grinning:. Glad to hear you like them that's all we can ask is happy members so woot :slight_smile: As I said if you need any help just post in the theme forums and usually if you can provide a link that makes the post easier to deal with - saves us asking :slight_smile:

    We've got some fancy mojo that says if buddypress installed do this if not don't ... therefore making it easy to have one theme for all cases. We also are very interested in what themes you want and also in what you want to have developed with the existing themes so please if you ever have any ideas just post in the themes section and we can take a look. We don't promise to do all but usually the rule is enough members request or it's just a damn fine idea we do at some point.

  • wadams92101

    Thanks Tammie. I feel really good about re-signing-up with wpmudev. Its apparent to me now that I was under-utilizing it in my initial 3 month subscription - just for the plugins. I guess I can eliminate the buddypress-blogsmu theme since I'm not a social networking site (although the possibility of applying the features for my multi-author needs intrigued). BP Daily seems the obvious choice for my Urban Planning blog (per ur suggestion, I'm practicing doing it as a link :wink:, although I prefer the look and some of the options (what I currently have) in the Products theme. Nelo, Trident, & Dixi didn't seem to have as many customization options but there was less documentation so I'm not sure. Hmm, what to do? (I will definitely give the products theme to my wife for her ecommerce site currently using the 2010). Would BP Daily be your recommendation?

  • Tammie

    @wadams92101: Cool glad you are enjoying them. It's tricky to me it's really hard to pigeon hole themes I almost myself like to create the content then try on each theme like you would clothing :slight_smile: That being said Daily to me deals with a larger amount of content easier and Product is about featuring things.

    I see Nelo, Trident and Dixi as great for non BuddyPress sites you want a solid CMS look for and you perhaps add your own styling through the images and other things. Looking at your content my advice would probably be Daily but then again you may want to see what BlogsMu is like without the community as it could also be suitable as a nice striking format - Daily is a bit more subtle but certainly can take a ton of diverse content and has a bucket load of widget areas and you put up your own custom header along with pick a strong style (most of our themes have their own colour variations built in on top of the theme default). It's a good 'kid in sweetie shop' thing hopefully choosing a theme :slight_smile:

    BuddyPress is not required for any of our themes no. Just put one onto your WordPress 3.0 or 3.0.1 site with single or multisite and voila. Just remember to go into theme options under appearance to set things up. There are also video tutorials for instance:

    Product theme tutorial

    Daily theme tutorial

    Custom header tutorial

  • terry hall

    @wadams9210: I make my living setting up websites for businesses and business owners with and emphasis on Mu/MS & BP installs. I am not a theme developer (they're my heros).

    Here's what I've found:
    > WPMu Dev: Themes are solid once the bugs are worked out. When combined with the 133 theme pack a Mu/MS has the themes handled. I work with my graphics person to customize the look & feel of the theme I'm working with (most of the theme variations con work nicely for most websites).

    > Theme Frame Works: My favorite is Theme Hybrid http://themehybrid.com. I have worked with Thematic http://themeshaper.com - Both work very nicely out of the box. To make any significant modifications requires lots of searching, tweaking and fine tuning. Making minor changes can be like searching for a needle is a haystack - which can be very painful.

    All-in-all, any solid theme (free or commercial) can be modified using child themes to meet your needs. I can't speak for the other commercial theme sites, but the WPMuDev team offers excellent, patient & speedy support. This alone pays for my monthly subscription.

    Good luck and have fun.

  • JoseffB

    I used SP before I found WPMUDEV.... haven't left since.

    Beauty of these themes are that they are "80% complete" for all my projects and I only need to tweak the remainder 20% of the theme to my specific needs. OK, do I really need to tweak it no but I like to customize.

    For Magazines I would use Daily as it's a great layout. I usually tweak this into a 3 column page/post layout for advertising purposes. Super simple and nothing breaks. Love these themes.

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