A generic Premium Business Theme for the Marketplace
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October 18, 2023 at 5:12 pm #10749HRD
About a year ago our small company discovered Publii. It was exactly what we were looking for, a static site generator with a local GUI that easy enough for our non-technical office staff to operate. We purchased the Art-Gallery theme to test Publii and found it worked well (at least when running on Debian instead of Fedora, webp and the appimage didn’t seem to like each other). Problem is the Art-Gallery theme and other free themes just don’t line up with the needs of a generic business site. Granted all webcode can be modified, but still our goal was to exclusively use the “plug and play” interface.
Is a generic business theme for Publii on the horizon in the Premium Marketplace? Even if it was a higher price, like 100 Euros instead of common 35 Euro price, this would be well worth it for us. We operate as a general contractor for historic structures, so flexibility on the front page means a lot to us.
I am curious to hear people’s thoughts on this. Is there a solution I’m missing?
–ChrisHRDOctober 23, 2023 at 5:40 pm #10801candidexmedia
Hi Chris! I can’t speak for the Publii team, but it sounds like you may need a custom theme to suit your business’s needs. I find the Publii themes easy to modify as someone with intermediate HTML and CSS skills, and I often find myself customizing the templatesto replicate my imagined site designs, while maintaining the “plug-and-play” aspect.
Here’s a related post with potential avenues to find developers: https://forum.getpublii.com/topic/best-place-to-look-for-theme-developers/October 27, 2023 at 10:37 pm #10841HRD
Thanks for the response! It’s true that a custom theme could be made to exactly cover our business needs. Actually, that’s something we are trying to move away from. A custom theme provides all the benefits of site uniqueness/control on the internet, but it does place the full maintenance and cost burden upon a single company (even if it is static site). The advantage of using a flexible, yet generic theme is that it allocates the burden, interest, and risk over several parties rather than one. Yes, that does means that possibly 1,000 or 10,000 other sites will follow the same flow as your site, but they will all contain different content and can vary on the CSS theming. For industries that are web style insensitive like ours, absolute web uniqueness returns much less value than other sectors. For example, many of our competitors just use basic site building platforms with stock themes, Facebook pages, or even non-responsive HTML sites. These websites primarily role tends to be merely a proof of existence and a simple showcase of capabilities.
A Publli variant of the look/layout of the MIT-Licensed Hugo Theme Universal by devcows, (link: https://themes.gohugo.io/themes/hugo-universal-theme/ ) or MIT-Licensed Hugo-Fresh theme by Stefan M. (link: https://themes.gohugo.io/themes/hugo-fresh/) would already exceed the average site quality that I often encounter. The trick would be making Publli’s frontpage tool non restrictive, but I think this could be reasonable achieved by offering section drop downs rather than forced section placement. Simply meaning, the frontpage tool offers 1-10+ On/Off sections where the first choice is drop down option to select the content block (splash panel, hero, gallery, title/header, text block, feature articles, html block, map, etc…). Then each choice would have the appropriate sub-options. This functionality already exists in other themes, but is unfortunately tied to fixed locations on the frontpage.
I was hoping that this thread might garner more attention, but maybe custom themes is the only way to use Publii in the business world? I hope not, but maybe we are just an outlier. Regardless, thanks Candidexmedia for taking the time to write a reply.November 6, 2023 at 3:15 am #10931candidexmedia
Hi HRD! I just want to make sure I understand you correctly, but you are hoping to have more control over your front page’s layout, correct?
The trick would be making Publli’s frontpage tool non restrictive, but I think this could be reasonable achieved by offering section drop downs rather than forced section placement. Simply meaning, the frontpage tool offers 1-10+ On/Off sections where the first choice is drop down option to select the content block (splash panel, hero, gallery, title/header, text block, feature articles, html block, map, etc…).
Publii’s current themes are certainly more suited for blog and news-style sites with listings. That said, I believe most themes allow you to set a post as the front page, providing a lot of flexibility in terms of layout without having to edit the theme files. I would recommend (if the theme permits) to do the following (I tested this using the Mercury theme):
1. Create a new WYSIWYG or Block Editor post that will serve as your homepage
Build your homepage using the editor’s tools. Use the HTML source code options at your disposal to create divs/containers (for different layouts) and add inline CSS or CSS classes that you can adjust in your stylesheet. Make sure to disable post-specific settings like last updated date, related posts, comments, etc. and hide the post.
For the WYSIWYG Editor: Click on HTML source code button
For CSS classes that will often be reused, create Custom Formats via the Post Editor API.
For the Block Editor: Use the HTML block. I believe a custom block feature is in the works.
2. Change the Front page display setting to a “Selected post” instead of page listing
This setting is available in the Mercury theme’s Theme Settings, and is likely available in other themes.
3. Optionally, if the theme permits, you can also use the Hero Section’s text editor for quick front page tweaks.
If you would like to keep the post listings in your front page, some themes have a Hero section Theme setting which offers a simplified WYSIWYG text editor and source code editor. The Hero section is typically located right above the listing. Here’s where to find this setting for the Mercury theme:
It’s not quite a proper business theme, but you can do a lot with a custom-post-as-homepage.November 9, 2023 at 1:22 pm #10947bjazmoorecandidexmedia wrote:
It’s not quite a proper business theme, but you can do a lot with a custom-post-as-homepage.
I have done exactly this in one of my working demos. I want a blog too – so based on this topic: https://forum.getpublii.com/topic/mercury-theme-filter-help/ and the related blog post: https://cv.domagic.site/posts/alternative-post-template-with-filter-for-publii-cms I created a separate page to be the blog main page where a listing of blog posts could be located. The only thing missing is pagination which seems to be restricted to just three specific pages in Publii.
I am hoping that in the future the theme engine and Publii will be able to support an alternate blog item list page if you choose to use a post as your first page – even if that page must be created manually using the tips from the above sources.
ThanksNovember 9, 2023 at 3:47 pm #10949HRDcandidexmedia wrote:
Hi HRD! I just want to make sure I understand you correctly, but you are hoping to have more control over your front page’s layout, correct? Publii’s current themes are certainly more suited for blog and news-style sites with listings. That said, I believe most themes allow you to set a post as the front page, providing a lot of flexibility in terms of layout without having to edit the theme files. I would recommend (if the theme permits) to do the following (I tested this using the Mercury theme):
Thank you for the detailed writeup candidexmedia! Yes, you are correct, my long-winded forum post was primarily about more control over the frontpage (and elements like the footer) 🙂 . The method you described is something I have been experimenting with in the “Art Gallery” theme. You are right that using an HTML block opens up possibilities beyond the limitation of the theme’s default Frontpage tool. The Art Gallery theme might have been a bad choice to test with as the blog post page constricts content to the center ~50% of the screen (~25% blank space on either side of the content). It made any attempt at creating a homepage with an HTML block look… off and amateurish (which I guess is fair since I am an amateur!). I can try again with the Mercury theme to see if it is any better. I will probably still need to edit theme files in order to get a proper footer with all of the correct business information regardless of which theme I pick.
Candidexmedia, I appreciate the time you invested into trying to help me find a solution. Rather than to take up anymore of that time, I think I will have to concede that Publii just isn’t a great fit for what I need. It’s a good tool and if I had a personal blog, Publii would be my first choice. The way I see it now is that WordPress is probably the simplest tool I suggest for the front office to use. It’s not as fast nor as “secure” as a static site, but the company’s next system administrator, who will take my place, should be able to maintain it just like I have been.
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