Pros and Cons of the Make Theme for WordPress
Last May I noticed an announcement from a friend of mine that his company, The Theme Foundry, had released a new WordPress theme, called Make. I didn’t give it much thought at the time. Most of the sites I build have custom designs, and I usually start with something like Underscores, or no theme at all. Then last fall I decided to switch my own blog to WordPress, and needed a theme, and didn’t have a design. I tried out Make, and quickly fell in love.
Before I get too far into this, I’d like to point out that Make has 2 URLs you should check out. The free version of Make is in the WordPress.org theme respository. There’s also Make Plus at The Theme Foundry’s web site. Make Plus is actually a plugin that greatly extends the Make theme, and costs $99. It adds lots of functionality and comes with support, which is great.
What I like: The Customizer
Make uses the WordPress Customizer extensively, making it super easy to make some pretty unique site designs without touching any code at all. This helps avoid the issue of your site looking just like someone else’s, even though you’re using the same theme.
What I like: The Page Builder
The page builder is pretty slick. It lets you use visual tools to create columns of content, banners, galleries, and in Make Pro many more types like Products, dynamic widget areas, and a bunch more.
The thing I love most about the page builder though is that the content doesn’t break if you stop using it. I actually rarely use it, but it’s nice to know that if I ever switched to another theme my content wouldn’t break.
What I like: Fantastic Template Coding
As a developer I typically create a child theme for Make, and occasionally copy some of the templates to my child for changing things more deeply than the customizer allows for. The templates in Make are very modular, and it’s easy to move a minimal amount of code from the parent to the child and still make significant changes.
What I don’t like: Portability
As a professional developer I often build themes for clients. Traditionally, once the theme is done I make it into a zip file and they can install it. It wraps around their existing content just fine.
Make relies on the WordPress Customizer for much of its design, and those options are stored in the database. This means that I can’t simply make the site look right and then package it up and release it.
I earlier mentioned that the use of the Customizer was something I like, and it is, as long as I don’t need to move it anywhere.
You’ll note there’s only one thing I don’t like, and that really only applies to developers. Even for developers there are ways to deal with that issue. I’m currently building a new site for a client, and I’ll just send along the database when it’s time to release.
For the average site user I can’t really think of any reason to not use this theme, unless you have a really custom design that simply doesn’t fit. Anyone who can use a mouse can make a unique design with Make.
This post may have come off a bit like a commercial, but it’s really the raving of a fan. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
If you want to learn more, watch this 3 video introduction to the Make theme that we published just a couple of months ago.
Make is awesome! They’re working on a way to export/import customizer settings, and there’s a working plugin for this in GitHub created by ArrowRootMedia. I imagine some sort of standard way of handling this issue will be adopted in core or as a feature plugin.
A similar problem is the shortcodes for layout that get embedded in your page markup. You can minimize these substantially in Make, but I expect to see a standard best practice emerge for all builder themes. One approach is to transform all the shortcodes to HTML.
I’ve wondered why Make (and others) restrict the builder tools to pages rather than posts. I haven’t looked into it — it may be easy to override — but it does create the potential to generate a lot of not so portable content at this point. I don’t know if the portability problem can really be solved apart from core builder functions being taken into the WP core itself, as in the case of the menu system which came from WooThemes.
There is already a way to import/export an entire website: WP All-In-One Migration tool. It exports the database, plugins, themes, and media files into one package that you can port to a new wordpress install. Handy for backups too. I set up a client website with Make and a child theme – customized it to their liking, then ported the whole thing with the tool. All the Customizr settings came along for the ride.
I don’t work for the plugin, but I have been using it for a while and recommend it.
I can’t seem to locate that??
Lauren: is this what you are searching for?