What is Architect?
Architect is a theme independent content layout and design framework for WordPress. It is optimised for Headway, and takes advantage of its features.
Architect will replace ExcerptsPlus, GalleryPlus, SliderPlus and TabsPlus. It already replicates at least 80% of those plugins’ features; however, some of that other 20% may not make it into the first release.
Architect uses panels to layout the individual content, and blueprints to layout the panels and select the content. Blueprints are then how the content is finally displayed on your page.
Because I don’t like charging you for four plugins (E+, G+, S+ and T+) that do the same core thing. That is, display content on the page.
Although I could have bundled those plugins to alleviate the cost issue, support (and development) becomes significantly easier and more efficient with one plugin.
The third reason is responsive and adaptive design, When those four plugins were developed, no one cared about responsive sites. Of course, now it’s almost mandatory. As a result, responsiveness was hacked onto them with varying degrees of success. With Architect it was there from day one of development.
And, with Architect, no matter what theme you use, it lets you have virtually any layout for your content you want, instead of being limited to those provided by the theme. And for frameworks, it just makes it heaps easier to develop the layouts you want.
One plugin. Many possibilities
One plugin makes things easier for you. If you visit WP plugins and search for different content layout types, you get a lot of results: Slider: 843; Gallery: 1362; Tabbed: 2795; Grid: 382; Accordion:160
That is a lot of plugins to look through! And if you wanted all those layout types, that is nearly 20 billion billion combinations of plugins to test! (This is why plugin conflicts are common.)
Whereas, Architect is just one. However, that doesn’t mean you get just one layout.
With all Architect’s settings, it offers you tens of thousands of possible unique layouts but without the time, cost or risk of conflicts.
Architect provides quite a few means of rendering your blueprints:
- Headway blocks (this content on this page is using an Architect block)
- Action hooks (these can be done in code or using Architect’s built in Actions Editor)
- Template tags
- and even replace the default WP gallery shortcode layout with an Architect blueprint. (The How Architect Works graphic above is displayed using the WP Gallery shortcode overridden with my own gallery design using Architect)
I love Headway theme framework, and swear by it. But as long as I’ve been developing plugins for Headway, web devs, even ones who Headway is their first choice, sometimes have to develop on other themes and so ask if my plugins work on other themes. (SliderPlus does, but none of the others)
Because of the way Architect works, that is, all panels and blueprints are built in WP admin, and then you choose a display method (like Gravity Forms, for instance)), it was very easy to make it theme independent.
Pricing has not be finalised yet. However things we know are:
- Price will be at least twice the current cost of a single Plus block and like them, will be a subscription model to cover support and development
- Existing Plus block owners will receive a generous discount
- Anyone purchasing a Plus block between now and Architect’s release, will receive Architect for an even greater discount.
Final price and discounts are still being discussed with Headway.
Architect has been in solid development for a year, and nearly two years since the idea started to take form.
Until now, I am the only one nagging me to get it finished. Now, I need your help to beta test it, break it, and crack the whip to get me moving on finishing it! 🙂
If you’re interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Always keep in mind that beta software should not be used on live sites without accepting any consequences. For example, in beta there’s always the risk that I might make necessary changes that scrambles existing layouts. That said, I am using Architect myself on several live sites, so I am loathe to avoid breaking anything unless it’s critical to do so.
If all goes well in beta testing, I am really hopeful of a mid/late November launch for Architect.
You can learn more at the Architect website, which itself is still under development, but does provide more info. architect4wp.com
Also, if you want to see another live site using Architect, check out mansfieldcourier.com.au