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RocketTheme Blog

RocketTheme Mid-Year 2013 Status Update

alt Mid-Year 2013 Status

Back in January we reflected in our blog on 2012 and looked forward to what you could expect to see from RocketTheme in 2013. Now that six months have passed I thought it would be great to see what we've achieved and what we have coming in the second half of the year.

Reviewing the First Half of 2013

As promised, we have gone back and created responsive versions of all 12 of our 2012 Joomla templates for both Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3.x. We've also continued to improve and update our existing templates with numerous bug-fixing updates. That's 24 template updates alone since the start of the new year to be exact. We've also continued to expand and improve our Template Compatibility Matrix, so please make sure you reference this when looking at template availability and compatibility.

alt showcase

We also released a new free GPL Joomla template called Afterburner2 that builds on the original performance-oriented Afterburner template. Afterburner2 provides a fast template coupled with a visually pleasing, simple design that is still fully responsive as well as providing complete Twitter Bootstrap support. This great free template, when combined with RokBooster, provides truly impressive Google Pagespeed and Yahoo YSlow scores.

In regard to Joomla extensions, we've had a great year so far. We released an all-new responsive version of our much-loved RokBox modal media plugin. This 2.0 version uses the latest HTML5 and CSS3 techniques to make RokBox even more powerful and flexible than ever before. We've included legacy support so that it can be used even with the older RokBox 1.0 syntax, but the new standards-compliant syntax is easier and more intuitive to use than ever. There's also a great editor plugin to allow you to easily add modal popups right from your WYSIWYG editor! Combine this with a huge set of media types supported that include images, videos and module support, as well as auto-thumbnail generation, and RokBox 2.0 becomes the best modal media solution available.

Another great new extension that we've had in development for some time is our new RokUpdater extension. This innovative new extension integrates directly into the Joomla updater system and allows you to authenticate using OAuth with the RocketTheme membership system to allow the easy updating of all our extensions, both free and club-based. This makes it easier than ever to stay up-to-date with our latest releases.

Our team also released a major new version of RokSprocket, our all-in-one content display module. It now includes a brand-new Simple content provider which allows you to create content directly in RokSprocket rather than having to work with third-party content providers.

Another new feature we have added is the new "Strips" layout that allows for very flexible horizontal and vertical layouts of content. All the existing functionality still exists, of course, but the ability to create RokSprocket modules with content on-the-fly simplifies the process considerably. Other notable Joomla extension updates include RokBridge, the robust Joomla-to-phpBB3 bridge that powers the RocketTheme forums. This new 3.0 version adds support for Joomla 2.5 and 3.x.

Our team also greatly improved RokBooster so it now supports data URI and font inlining as in addition to other performance and reliability improvements. Just to illustrate the constant commitment to bug-fixing and improving our extensions, we've had 74 extension updates since the start of this year!

Regarding WordPress, we've also had a similar level of template releases and widget releases in addition to the release of Gantry 4.0. WordPress users can now enjoy all of the same benefits shared by our Joomla users.. Along with consolidating our Gantry 4.0 version for both Joomla and WordPress, we completely revamped the documentation section of the Gantry Framework site. This new system is built on top of the _GitHub__ and allows anyone to fork and submit pull-requests to contribute to the already extensive documentation for this open source project. We continue to work on providing the latest functionality of our Joomla extensions to the WordPress platform, including the newly-available RokSprocket 2.0 featuring the Simple provider and the new Strips Layout.

What to Expect in the Second Half of 2013

Much of what we planned has already been accomplished in the first half of 2013. There are some obvious items that we mentioned in the Looking Forward to 2013 blog post that clearly have not been achieved yet.

First and foremost, our long-awaited RokDownloads extension is thoroughly underway. This extension is going to be rewritten from the ground-up utilizing some of the core-concepts that made the original RokDownloads so popular. This will be a Joomla 3.x only release that requires PHP 5.3 as part of its minimum requirements. It is going to be built in a similar manner to RokSprocket in order to allow pluggable content providers such as Files and Folders, S3, Links, FTP/SFTP, Scripts, DropBox and anything else we can think of!

Also, there will be a simple management interface that allows you to edit and configure multiple providers and build a 'presentation tree' by combining any of these providers. We will probably provide a basic free version that supports files/folders, and then have an option for a Pro version that supports the more advanced providers plus other features such as advanced statistics and sophisticated ACL controls. Of course all of this is still a work-in-progress so features and functionality could change by the time we release in November/December of this year. It's definitely an exciting project that we hope will be a real game-changer so stay tuned regarding the progress of RokDownloads.

The other major effort that is well underway is the new RocketTheme v3 site, or as we call it: RTv3. Every effort is being made to ensure that RTv3 is simpler and more intuitive to use. There are some big new additions, however, and those include an all-new and extensive set of documentation as well as a very powerful search system that is powered by ElasticSearch.

We have listened to our customers and have every intention to create an industry-leading documentation system to greatly improve user understanding and education. We really think you're going to love the end result.

Another big feature that has taken a huge effort is the rewrite of the 'club' code that powers RocketTheme. We've spent a lot of effort to improve the current system to allow for more sophisticated 'packages' and also the ability to purchase individual items! What this means is that you will have the option to either join the RocketTheme clubs as you always have, or to purchase access to an individual item and and its respective forum and documentation forever. This has been the most requested feature here at RocketTheme for quite some time, and we intend to offer both club and individual item purchase options so everyone can choose the option that works best for them! I'm really excited to be able to make this functionality available for our customers.

I think you can agree that we've certainly been busy during the first half of the year and there's still a lot to look forward to in the coming months! As ever, we're 100% committed to making RocketTheme the best it can be and we're love to hear from you about how we can make it even better!


Andy Miller CEO / Founder RocketTheme, LLC