A Happy New Year 2020

As I prepared to write this New Years blog post I always browse through the posts of previous years. Doing so I always feel grateful and excited. When we started this blog I could never have imagined myself in 10 years still here, loving my job in the web design and WordPress community. What’s even better is the excitement I feel to write, create, and share is still exactly the same.

Thoughts on 2019

To be honest, we had some ups and downs over the last year. With many changes and uncertainties happening in WordPress along with all the different opinions surrounding us, it sometimes felt difficult to see a clear path for our work. WordPress and especially themes are going through big changes right now, the biggest we have ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Gutenberg project is a much needed change and we are very excited for the new possibilities, but it was not always easy to meet everyone’s expectations and at the same time learn and create something new that we feel will be a solid new solution to create designs for WordPress.

The Aino Project

The way we build websites with WordPress has changed completely with the introduction of Gutenberg. It’s not 100% there yet, but we are working on it. Over the last year we took this new opportunity to see how we want to create web designs with Gutenberg as a new tool. Our answer is our new Aino project. The first versions of our Aino theme and block collection is already available to use via Github. We hope to make Aino available on WordPress.org as soon as possible.

We are also preparing our first ready-to-use block design templates. This way it will be much easier for users to create pages in the editor, without the need to add block by block individually.

I will also create small snippet like video tutorials to explain how Aino works and what you can build with it.

We plan to have a versatile Aino theme/block combination ready by March, capable to use for a wide number of different website projects.

This month, I will also prepare a poll for all Elmastudio theme users. We want to make sure we are listening to your feedback, wishes, and suggestions, so that we can build the designs you need and want to use.

Maintaining our existing themes

I know that lots of patience was needed from your side over the last few months in regards to updates for our existing themes. We struggled to build a new Gutenberg project while at the same time meeting expectations for our existing themes and I’m very sorry for letting you down.

We did not publish many theme updates in 2019 and we want to change that in the new year. Therefore, we are finally rolling out automatic theme updates. The next updates of our themes (which will be coming over the next days) will include the new auto update feature. It will be optional to use. I will write a separate blog post as soon as all themes have this new feature included.

A Big Thank You

We want to thank you for your patience with us over the last year. We know we did not release lots of updates in 2019. But we believe this quieter time was needed to be able to create modern WordPress designs in the future. We want to thank you to bear with us and we hope you are as excited as we are for 2020.

The web is constantly and quickly changing and we can see that in the WordPress world right now. It’s a challenge for us as individuals to keep up with these changes, but it’s also exciting and inspiring at the same time. I think this year we will better see the positive new possibilities we will have on our hands with Gutenberg, especially in regard to building modern web designs in WordPress.

We hope to contribute to this positive change with our Aino project and we would love it if you are excited to try out our new work and give us feedback on it.

Wishing you all a wonderful start into the new year.
Ellen & Manuel

6 comments on “A Happy New Year 2020

  1. Hi Ellen and Manuel,

    I had the same feeling about WordPress changes last year. On one hand, I like the idea of Gutenberg because it brings a lot of new possibilities. On the other hand, the path for theme development is very unclear. This is the main reason why I’ve not released any new themes last year. I was mainly focused on improving existing themes.

    Also, I’ve started a new site project — Knowledge Base plugin for WordPress. First, I’ve begun to develop this plugin to update a documentation portal on my site but then I’ve realized that it can be useful for other people as well. So, I am planning to release it for WordPress community once I am done with basic functionality of the plugin.

    Wishing you a wonderful new year as well! I hope we will get a more clear vision for the WordPress themes this year :)

    All the best,
    Taras

    • Hi Taras,

      thanks you so much for your comment and your thoughts on theme development. We fell exactly the same, the uncertainty was and is very difficult to deal with and we honestly struggled a bit last year.

      I think the new year will become easier and I plan to release a number of blog posts and video tutorials in regards to building blocks and new ideas for themes as well. We did a lot of thinking and researching last year, which was helpful and I learned a lot. It was just difficult to develop something nee for users during this stage.

      I would love to know more about your new plugin, did you write on your blog about it? And let me know once you have it public on WP.org as well. The ideas sounds super helpful.

      Wishing you a happy and successful 2020,
      Ellen

      • Ellen,
        I am looking forward for your video tutorials and blog posts!

        I’ve not written about the plugin on my blog yet but I can send you a tweet once it’s ready.

        Thank you,
        Taras

        • Hi Taras,

          thanks so much, that is encouraging. I always struggle a bit to actually put video content and tutorials out there, but I love to create them. I think I need a plan to better organise my “creating time”.

          Yes, please keep me informed, I would love to hear more about it.

          Best, Ellen

  2. Hi Ellen and Manuel

    Happy new year for you.
    I am excited to hear about the Aino project, and by the way I love the themes you created.
    I really hope that the themes will get a more frequent update in the future.

    I just bought the theme bundle, by the way :-)

    Cheers

    • Hi Rizqi,

      thanks so much for your kind reply and feedback, we wish you a very happy new year, too :)

      yes, we definitely plan to release more smaller updates in the year, especially supporting the default WordPress blocks. Otherwise we will also work on our Aino project and we will offer something special for all Theme Bundle users who want to work with Aino later this year.

      Best, Ellen

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