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RocketTheme Blog

Looking Forward to 2013

alt Looking Forward to 2013

As we reflect on the past 12 months, we are really proud of what we achieved in 2012. We moved from fixed layouts to more modern responsive web layouts, we started developing Joomla templates and the vast majority of our existing extensions to support Joomla 3.0. We also created and refined our ground-breaking RokSprocket extension that is now available for Joomla 2.5 and 3.0 as well as WordPress. We also have started converting some of our previously released Joomla 2.5 templates to Joomla 3.0. To help enable this we had a major update to our Gantry framework. The new 4.0 version has a new back-end design, speed and performance optimizations, support for responsive layouts, and a brand new default front-end template based on Twitter Bootstrap. We continue to translate these advances we make on our Joomla products to WordPress and of course phpBB.

So what's coming in 2013?

We are really excited about this coming year and we have several big things planned. We are going to continue to create great new templates, themes, and extensions for all our platforms, so let's break the details down into several key areas for easier digestion:

Joomla Templates & Extensions

For 2013 we have plans to implement some stunning new HTML5 based template designs that should provide some refreshing results and really push the boundaries of what you think is possible from a Joomla template. Gantry4 is enabling us to do some incredible things with responsive designs and we feel confident this will be the de-facto multi-platform web standard for web development well into 2014. We will be converting more of our existing portfolio of Joomla 2.5 templates to Joomla 3.0. Also, as requested by our members, we will be converting a hand-picked selection of our existing templates to create new responsive versions. To ensure everyone can keep track of development and features of our Joomla templates, we have completely revamped our Template Compatibility Matrix:

Joomla Template Matrix

Another new development that we are currently investigating for viability relates to the Kunena Forum for Joomla. We have been working closely with Matias Griese, co-founder and lead developer of Kunena, who is helping to develop some key components for our new RocketTheme site (more on that later). As a by-product of this development, we have been working on a base Kunena template that works with Gantry4 that will allow the development of Kunena templates that match our Joomla templates. If it is economically feasible, this could become an additional companion to the Joomla club.

On the extension side of things, we will continue to improve and bug-fix our current extensions. Last year we released RokPad2, a complete reboot of our previous RokPad version that takes advantage of the advanced ACE editor engine. Soon we will be releasing a brand new version of RokBox, called RokBox2, that will be another ground-up rewrite with advanced HTML5 responsive layout and improved functionality and ease of use.

A major release for this year is the much anticipated new version of RokDownloads. This new version of RokDownloads will retain the much-loved ease of use from the old version, but will be built from scratch for Joomla 2.5 and 3.0 with a radically improved user interface as well much more functionality and flexibility. We have had this one in the plan book for some time, and it is long overdue. Also we have similar plans for RokCandy which is a very handy tool for creating easy-to-use macros and for performing site-wide macro replacement in content and modules. We are going to rebuild this handy extension with even more power and flexibility to take it from a handy tool, to an essential part of your Joomla toolbox. Just like we have done for Joomla templates, we have created a Joomla Extension Compatibility Matrix to help you keep track of our extensions and their availability.

Joomla Extension Matrix

WordPress Themes & Widgets

Gantry for WordPress will start getting more of the great Gantry4 functionality that we developed for the Joomla version. We have already released a version with responsive layout support, and the next version will get more performance and bug fixes as well as support for our sophisticated LESS compilation with variable support, a RocketTheme exclusive! In the coming months we will be bringing a refreshed UI as well as the new and much improved Bootstrap-powered base template that is already in the Joomla version. The Documentation will also be updated to reflect all these new changes and additions. We will continue to bring our cutting edge designs to WordPress and continue to bring over several of our advanced Joomla extensions to the WordPress platform.

RocketTheme Site

For nearly 6 months we have been working behind closed doors on a new site design for RocketTheme. Dubbed, RTv3, this will be a major upgrade for the RocketTheme site that focuses primarily on reducing complexity and improving usability. The new site will run on Joomla 3.5 and be powered by Gantry4. Everything is being redesigned to provide more power and flexibility and in general terms, improve the whole user experience for guests and club members alike. This is a major undertaking and requires all of our internal extensions that power the site to be rewritten from scratch. As part of this process we also plan on moving from phpBB3 to Kunena as our forum platform of choice. This means we also have some key functionality that we need to add to Kunena to ensure the forums have the functionality we rely on daily. We are working very closely with the Kunena team to ensure that any functionality created for our needs that makes sense for others, makes its way back into the Kunena core. As we get further along with the development of RTv3, we'll provide sneak-peeks of features and functionality, so stay tuned!