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Member Update - October 2016

October Update 2016

 

September Recap


New Products & Benefits

  • Trace - animate and draw SVG icons (formerly called SVG Paint)
  • Contractor Theme (Build) - a fixed width responsive theme perfect for new Muse users
  • Disqus - easily add user commenting to your website
  • 3 new product tutorial videos 

In addition to the items above, we also launched a completely rebuilt (and highly optimized!) version of the MuseThemes core site. Based on our before and after comparisons, the new site loads over 1,200% faster and makes downloading products easier than ever before. Plus, we think it looks pretty sweet.

As webbies we thought our members might appreciate some of the technical considerations and highlights of our rebuild, so our ninja developer Kevin is writing a blog post on it for you all to read. It will probably be extremely nerdy – coming soon!


Existing Product Improvements:

  • Sidebar Off-Canvas Menu - a complete widget rebuild. Improves responsive compatibility, adds additional customization and doubles the number of link options.
  • Superhero - fixed child position issues and improved compatibility

Note - a great deal of our development time in September was devoted towards the MuseThemes core site upgrades, and the new projects outlined below.

 

October Projects & Priorities

(please note priorities and projects are subject to change)

 
New Projects:

  • Snipcart Widget - Released this week, Snipcart is a powerful ecommerce system that features customer login/logout, a shopping cart and customizable cart buttons. Based on your feedback, we’re looking at adding subscription and recurring billing support immediately to this product so stay tuned for an update.
  • Navigation / Gallery System - We are working on an extremely flexible gallery and site navigation system that can be used for very large projects and updated remotely by your clients or customers. I’m really excited about this product (more information below).
  • Superhero Slideshow - A highly requested upgrade, we’ve modified our Superhero widget to also work as a fullscreen slideshow. Development is done and we’re currently testing this updated widget for release.
  • Stacks - We have a new set of Stacks ready for production! The design is done, and we just need to build out the Muse files and package them up for release. Here’s a sneak peek:

 MuseThemes Stacks Coming Soon

 

Final Thoughts

Mega Navigation / Gallery Project

A common question and complaint we hear is that the Muse widget option panels are too limited. Users want to be able to add tons of images to galleries, add SEO information to those images (alt text and titles) and easily update the widget without redoing all of their work. It’s often a challenging decision for us to strike a balance between a flexible and customizable widget, without a huge intimidating option panel containing 1,000 options.

Our team has been researching new ways to “load" gallery or navigation content, and we’ve recently found a great way to do it (thanks to our developer Arifin for the discovery!). This new system uses a comfortable format that most computer users are familiar with, and supports clients making remote edits that update instantly on the live site.

I personally think it’s pretty ground breaking in the Muse space, and I’m super excited to release our first widget that supports it. While these products are still in testing and subject to change, we’re planning to push them live over the next two weeks.

 

Agent / CMS System

Agent has been quite the project for us – we’ve certainly learned a ton throughout this process. Our initial version of Agent CMS was nearly fully functional, but we ran into late roadblocks that really limited the flexibility of the system. It felt like we were taking away the freedom that Muse gives you, and creating a monster that would require us to rethink our entire company. I made the decision that it wasn’t smart for our small business to neglect the very thing that got us to this point (quality widgets / themes for Muse designers) and I had serious concerns about the ongoing support, development and security aspects of launching a proprietary CMS.

Rather than continuing to pursue Agent as something we built in-house, we began looking at other CMS systems that may play nice with Muse, and we found one that caught our eye. While not as powerful as a completely custom content management system, it does seem to satisfy many of the major requirements our users have asked for in a CMS. Based on our initial tests it works as expected, is simple to setup and even supports Business Catalyst (crazy right?).

So what does this all mean? It means we’re shutting down ongoing development of Agent, and shifting gears to an existing CMS. Please accept my sincerest apologies we did not deliver Agent as promised. We should not have announced it until we were 100% certain it was ready to go. Hindsight is always 20/20, and although I don’t regret taking on an aggressive project, I do realize we made a huge mistake announcing our plans too early and putting you in a tough spot with your clients.

Now to this existing CMS (no, it's not Wordpress). We’re planning to roll out training and setup instructions for it by the end of the month, pending the results of our final testing. Initially we may provide a couple of sample widgets for you to try out and provide feedback on. If you believe this CMS will satisfy your needs, we’ll dig deep into it and see how far we can expand it. If you don’t like it, we’ll shift gears to something else. We’re moving gently on this one...


***

As you can see we have a big month ahead! Lots of exciting new products on the horizon, along with some groundbreaking techniques that really push Muse beyond it’s current capabilities. The MuseThemes team will also be attending Adobe MAX in early November, so we may have a light week coming up while we’re away promoting Muse and actually interacting as physical beings (as opposed to online only).

Thanks as always for supporting MuseThemes.com – you guys are awesome!

Cheers
SH

Steve Harris
Steve Harris / Calgary, Canada

Steve Harris started MuseThemes in 2011 and steadily grew the company, going from a full-time corporate employee to being his own boss. More than just MuseThemes, Steve is a conference speaker, Lynda.com author, and holds equally large collections of both business books and fine scotch.

Comments

Ryan Warren
Ryan Warren

On the Snipcart is their a way to add a portion to the cart were the customer can choose their size…ex: t-shirts, shoes, etc.

Paul Kelley
Paul Kelley

Thanks for dealing with the CMS issue with professionalism, honesty, and transparency Steve. This is exactly how to handle the inevitable bumps in the road on complex initiatives.

Rainer Geyer
Rainer Geyer

Great what you create it all!

Keino Aragort
Keino Aragort

Great !! I´m Glad for the proyects ! CMS CMS CMS CMS CMS We Need

David Claghorn
David Claghorn

Thanks for the exciting updates and for your constant communication with us, your customers. I use your templates and widgets with every web project I have. Keep up the great work and exciting widgets and templates.

Martin
Martin

Musegain has one that uses Wordpress. Come on muse themes you can do better than them !

Louis
Louis

As asked by Ryan Warren I too need this option…

“On the Snipcart is their a way to add a portion to the cart were the customer can choose their size…ex: t-shirts, shoes, etc.”

Ursin
Ursin

Thank you all the team for the great work you do – respect! – By the way, I’m working on a website that I’m designing in MUSE and dynamise it for the CMS called Contao. The tool comes from Michael Herzog and is called conmunicator. I could not get the job without this solution and the job is still unpublished, so I can not make any further details, but it works great.
Greetings from the mountains of Switzerland.

Joseph Bates
Joseph Bates

I think this is great and have a client that is in need of this now. I was looking a BC and I found myself wishing there was a Muse version (easier – less complicated) of that beastie. I am looking forward to whatever you can bring to the market that will increase the ease and usability Muse!

Craig Thomas
Craig Thomas

Great news and looking forward to what you are producing this month. Its a shame about Agent but completely agree with how you have handled it. Keep up the good work Steve and your team.

Maddi Newman
Maddi Newman

I’m new to the Muse community and this is my first newsletter. Fabulous to hear what you are working on and the CMS stuff, I like your direction and thinking. I’m pretty excited about seeing what comes off the line in the next while.

Dezi
Dezi

I love Muse! I especially love Muse Themes!! My one pet peeve is not being able to find more detailed tutorials on some templates. For example, Build. I have made myself crazy trying to resize the logo image frame to larger dimensions so as to accommodate a larger logo and I keep failing. I like to think I have scoured the site, but truth be known, I probably just gave up. I’m imagining the tutorial section having short clips/writings on all the hiccupy things that have simple solutions organised by name (e.g. Fixed/Fluid Nav Bar Editing Tricks) to help me feel gob smacked silly for not being able to figure it out myself. You know what I mean? I hope you know what I mean :) Cheers, and thanks for the opportunity to speak. jd

Erik
Erik

Hi,

Please consider to develop a real form widget where the user can select a date and/or time, plus a selection from a menu. It is something that missing from the rich collection of widgets that you have.

I have again mentions before.

Thanks for the nice work you do.

Rami Koren
Rami Koren

Great news! i am proud to be a muse theme member

Rami Koren
Rami Koren

Great news! i am proud to be a muse theme member

Sacha
Sacha

You guys are truly awesome. Thank you for your continuous transparency and incredible products. I appreciate you!

Gary Vey
Gary Vey

Thanks for your honesty and dedication to us, your customers. Although I have been sometimes a little critical of some of your products, I still love using your them. They give me the tools I need to let my creativity come to the screen.

Adam Aptaker
Adam Aptaker

Awesome! I am excited to see the new CMS! I’ve had to revert to the museXpress in the meantime (not a fan). I would love to completely disconnect from the whole Wordpress thing all together. You guys build the best muse additions out there along with the best documentation on how to use your products. I’d rather you take your time and do it right than just push something out there before it’s ready. Can’t wait to see the new rollout!

Ulf Laursen
Ulf Laursen

Great update, Steve – looking forward :)

Daniel Sapsead
Daniel Sapsead

Thanks for the update Steve. Completely understand the need to pivot on the Agent side. Much better than putting something out that is inflexible.

Can’t wait to see what you guys produce.

Rob Snijders
Rob Snijders

The way to go! Good news for the CMS. Looking forward to test the system.
Thanks for your info.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson

Whats wrong with Business Catalyst? why re-invent the wheel?

Peter Sanders
Peter Sanders

1) Perhaps an e-commerce Stack with Snipcard?
2) Good slideshows and galleries are always welcome!

Susanna Affentranger
Susanna Affentranger

Thank you for keeping us updated! Especially the CMS part was the most important info for us. You guys are doing great, and we are happy to hear that there is another CMS solution in development right now. Keep up the good work, and thanks for everything!

Keith Ross
Keith Ross

I hope I read this correctly, but if you have a gallery widget that is responsive, and easy to load a large gallery, and controls the sort order easily, with nearly full screen hero images in the slide show, my prayers are answered.

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