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How Make takes full advantage of WordPress 4.0

By Corey McKrill on September 8, 2014

Last week, WordPress 4.0, “Benny,” became available for download or automatic update in your WordPress Dashboard. Enhancements include improved media management tools, easier video embeds, and a more immersive editor – all in all, it’s an extremely rich update with lots of new features.

However, we think there’s one exciting aspect of 4.0 that many observers have underemphasized: a collection of changes to the Customizer.

While the Customizer received a number of improvements, the change most users will notice is the new panels interface, which makes it easier to view comprehensive, contextually-appropriate theme options right from the Customizer.

We like this change a lot. In fact, we’ve taken full advantage of it with the latest version of Make, our drag-and-drop theme featuring custom layouts.

Make and the new Customizer

At The Theme Foundry, we’ve long viewed the Customizer as a game-changing tool for WordPress users. Make now incorporates the WordPress 4.0 Customizer enhancements right out of the box, so it’s easier and more intuitive than ever to customize your theme.

Here’s a taste of what it looks (and feels) like to use the Customizer in Make:

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WordPress Customizer Panels

Current Make users will notice a big difference in how options appear in the Customizer. Don’t worry, though – all of the options are still there! What’s different is how they’re organized.

Per the animation above, Customizer options now appear in convenient, easy-to-navigate sliding panels that control different aspects of the theme. Making changes to your theme is easier because there are fewer options cluttering up the page at one time.

Just look how the new Customizer interface (left) appears compared to the old one (right):

Wordpress Customizer Before and After

Aligning Make with the new Customizer experience was a natural step in its ongoing development. Given the enhancements in 4.0, it looks like the greater WordPress community sees the Customizer’s potential, too – and that’s an exciting thing.

So, what’s next?

Building this Make update around WordPress Customizer changes was an important step, but we’ve got a lot more in store. While nothing is set in stone, here are some of our ideas for future Customizer enhancements in Make:

  • Import/export for Customizer options and the ability to save and share new Style Kits
  • Lots more typography options – potential ideas include font weight and style, text transform, and line height.
  • More flexibility in header and footer layouts
  • A better user experience for adding and managing background and logo images
  • The ability to modify post-specific settings for the post or page currently displayed in the Customizer preview pane

What do you think about these ideas? Are you using Make and have have an idea or two of your own? Let us know in the comments – and enjoy the new Customizer features!

13 Comments

  1. Brian Krogsgard

    I’d really love to see the import / export option, especially since WordPress child themes don’t import the customizer settings. Right now, if a user creates a child theme they have to recreate all those customizer options if they create a child theme after the fact.

    Great work on these changes. Looking awesome.

  2. Sami Keijonen

    Like Brian I’d like to see import / export option for the Customizer. I’ve set a demo site for client and if it would be helpful to import / export options in live site.

    And Yes, I like Panels also and using them myself already.

    By the way, which tool are you using to create .gif animation?

  3. Kristy Ewing

    I like now having the option to adjust font sizes for various headers (h1, h2, h3, etc.) and so love how you’ve utilized Customizer for that purpose. All in all it’s a wonderful improvement, making MAKE even more attractive to designers.

    The upgrade did however create an ugly type moment for a site currently in construction—because I had implemented Custom CSS to have font-size control over headers—and of course that just happened to be when the client was reviewing it from their location (argh!). After stripping out font-size values in Custom CSS and revisiting the size of each header in Customizer the design is back on track.

    All’s well that ends well. Keep up the good work guys!

  4. Corey McKrill

    @Kristy The header option additions were inspired in part by your related topic in the support forums, so I’m glad they work for you!

    Sorry that you ran into that temporary styling issue. We tried to make the switch from one header option to six header options as seamless and backcompatible as possible, but we knew that some customization scenarios might slip through the cracks. Sounds like you got it resolved though!

  5. Corey McKrill

    @Brian we’ve definitely heard from a lot of people who have run into that issue when switching to a child theme. Automatically inheriting from the parent theme would probably also address this, but Import/Export is ultimately more flexible because it addresses other scenarios as well, such as @Sami’s, as well as enabling people to save and share color schemes and site designs.

    We’ll be working on this soon.

  6. Jonathan

    Thanks for compact customizer option!

    As for your future ideas, I really like “The ability to modify post-specific settings for the post or page currently displayed in the Customizer preview pane.” That would be a great and handy feature to have in Make.

    How about an option in the Page Builder for a side scrolling gallery? Then, adding options similar to the current “Slide content” would allow for more customization.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  7. Magali S.

    Great !

    It could be very useful to have additional widget zones in the header/footer to add there specific menus or a plugin like transposh.

  8. Daniel Sieradski

    Any ETA on import/export? I have a client’s site that is being hosted on WPMU which will require that it’s imported rather than migrated via SQL. I can’t move it until import/export is ready.

  9. Corey McKrill

    Hi Daniel,

    There isn’t an ETA yet for getting import/export into the theme. However, Arrowroot Media has built an experimental plugin to accomplish this that might work for you.

  10. valclark

    Great that you continue to develop Make so a return after time shows improved functionality with the goal of keeping the theme up to date rather than dead in the water. A relief, in fact, since I then do not have to monitor for, at least, essential updates as online life progresses. In truth I like you guys and trust your interest in serving clients. :)

  11. Justin Busa

    For anyone still interested in customizer export/import functionality, we just released a new plugin that does exactly that! We’re still waiting for the plugin to be approved in the wordpress.org repo, but we do have a version hosted on GitHub that you can download if you want to test it out…

    https://github.com/fastlinemedia/customizer-export-import

    We also have a blog post with more info on the plugin here…

    http://www.wpbeaverbuilder.com/wordpress-customizer-export-import-plugin/

    Don’t hesitate to let us know what you think!

    Justin

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