December 23, 2016

Year in review & roadmap for 2017

by The Evolve team in Brix, Thoughts

Hello everybody, 2016 is coming to a close, and this is our “year in review” post!

2016 has been a crucial year in our company’s history, for many different reasons.

First and foremost, after 5 years selling products through ThemeForest, in August we’ve released our own Shop platform, which is just the first of many steps that will allow us to create and better distribute our products.

We consider releasing our shop to the public not only a milestone from the marketing standpoint, but also as an achievement in terms of the experience we can and should deliver to our customers, since for the first time in our history we’re able to manage everything, from the sale itself, to documentation and support, all in one place.

Brix has been the first product to be added to the Shop.

We think of Brix as a next-gen WordPress page builder, built with speed and ease of use in mind. In the months following its release, Brix has been constantly updated adding:

  • better compatibility with other plugins,
  • templates management,
  • new icons pack,
  • several speed optimizations.

The latest and greatest Brix update features what we call frontend live editing, which allows you to compose your page and see it come to life as you do it; with this feature, we think that Brix really keeps faith to its motto: create websites faster!

(Psst! What are you waiting for? Head over to Brix demo, try it out, and see for yourself!)

With our own shop finally up & running, we thought that publishing a free product on it was the best way to celebrate the shop itself and the support of our community. That’s what brought to life Windmill, a flexible and lightweight blog theme for WordPress, based on our Evolve Framework, that also plays great along Brix.

The last part of the year saw the release of Brix Lite on the official WordPress plugins repository.

Brix Lite shares the essential core features of its premium counterpart, and allows you to build content with the same level of effectiveness and robustness.

Like its parent product, Brix Lite is also updated regularly: in a nutshell, we give it the same amount of dedication and commitment you’d expect from a premium product, only that you can get this one completely for free.

This was a full year, was it?

In closing this post, we’d like to highlight some of our plans for 2017, both for what concerns Brix and our premium themes.

Our roadmap: Brix

In 2017, we’d like to keep going with a regular updates schedule for both Brix and Brix Lite.

The approach that we’d like to follow is to quickly iterate over the features that we intend to bring to the platform and ideally deliver a couple of updates a month.

Some of those updates will be lightweight, and will maybe introduce a thing or two, while others will be more substantial, and will put at your disposal powerful new tools and features.

So here’s what’s on our desks:

  • Widget mapping, both on Brix and Brix Lite: wouldn’t it be great to be able to use WordPress widgets as Brix content blocks? Yes, right? That’s exactly what we’re going to do with our first update, coming approximately mid January. We’ll start by adding the default WordPress widgets, and possibly extend the support to Jetpacks’ wigets as well.
  • We’re going to introduce support for popular plugins such as WooCommerce or Contact Form 7: plugins like these are very widespread, and offer an array of tools (shortcodes, widgets, etc.) that we think it’d be great to integrate with Brix. Support for these plugins will be on Brix and/or Brix Lite, depending on the case.
  • Better grid management controls. We think Brix’s way of managing the page grid is pretty great, yet we think we can do even better by:
    • adding better spacing controls,
    • adjusting the way columns can be split, merged and resized (also in frontend live editing mode).
  • We’ll add a great transition effect manager for elements in page, so that you will be able to make them appear exacly the way you like,
  • We’ll further enhance the already great experience of Brix frontend editing, adding sorting between sections and rows.
  • A new feature that we’ve been working on for a while now are background objects, which is the ability for editors to place additional objects in the page’s sections, make them snap and attach to specific points and greatly decorate the surrounding content with precise positioning and animation effects.
  • Last but not least, we’d like to push forward roles management in Brix. As of today, we’re able to completely restrict access to Brix only to some user levels, but in the future we’d like to have a more fine-grained support, for example preventing some user levels to do specific actions within Brix.

If these are the premises, 2017 is going to be a full year too!

There’s more, though!

Our roadmap: Fenix

We’ve already begun development on a new multipurpose theme that will be released through our sister themes shop, THBThemes via ThemeForest.

In terms of themes development, we have no problems in saying that this is the most ambitious effort we’ve tackled so far.

Contrary to what seems to be the popular belief nowadays, we don’t think that multipurpose themes are necessarily evil: we think that due to their ambition to be effectively employed in variegated contexts they should be both user, developer and server friendly, three qualities that are rarely found in that class of products.

In short, we want Fenix (that’s the name of our theme) to be fast, powerful, lightweight, tweakable, compatible with other products in the WordPress ecosystem, and we want it to be the perfect companion to the premium version of Brix, which, as a matter of fact, will be included in the theme as a free drop-in plugin.

We’ll definitely keep you posted on this, and as of today we’re targeting a first quarter release.

Wheeew, that’s what’s boiling in our pot.

We hope you had a great 2016, and we hope that your 2017 will be just as good. But you know what? Keep following us and our products, and together we’ll turn next year into something truly awesome.

Happy holidays, folks!

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5 comments on “Year in review & roadmap for 2017”

  1. Sounds really great and exciting. Well done so far!
    I’m mega interested in the “Fenix” theme. Is there a vague idea when you’ll be ready to release it?

      1. Hey Evolve Team. Really excited about Fenix and have two clients waiting in the wings who I would love to build on Fenix for. Are you close to release?

      2. Hi Nadja,

        we are close to the theme release and next week we will publish a small preview on our blog.

        Stay tuned!

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