Well, for the last few weeks I’ve watched the momentum around PageLines DMS grow. PageLines is an organization I’ve had the privilege of connecting with for the last year and since February, I’ve been building sites exclusively on their framework. It started with an article I read on the ManageWP Blog. In the article the author (Nathan Weller) talked about the idea of creating sites that were built in such a way as to allow users the ability to move their content from one theme to the next without losing it all.
It was a simple idea but one that I had as yet, not really thought through. I have to be honest, this has been a year of extreme growth for me. After being out of the full-time industry of freelance design (web and otherwise) for the last 8 years or so, I’ve been on a steep learning curve to bring myself up to speed on the latest technologies and best practices. That’s not to say I wasn’t creating or designing, it was just in a different capacity and at the ‘just get this done’ level instead of the deep learning phase I’ve come to enjoy so much. So as I read that article a deep sense of responsibility came over me, that I owed it to my current and future clients to give them a platform they could use into the future.
Along with that challenge came something else I had been working through as a designer. As a frequent user of Theme Forest I’d learned first hand the frustrating reality of so many different developers creating parallel offerings. It’s true they were all working off of WordPress and they had that in common but that was where commonality ended. With each new theme came a new culture and system to learn. I would see a theme demo that I really liked and then have to hack away for hours and sometimes days at a time trying to understand why some things were done via shortcode while others were set in the theme options, and the theme options were always different. I was getting frustrated with what I thought was a poor way to develop and design and even went so far as to start thinking about calling my developer friends all up and pitching the idea of building some type of starting point options panel that I could give away to people just so that I’d have at least a little understanding of what was going on.
Nathan Weller (the author of that ManageWP post) had a list of frameworks that offered good support, developer options and a community of designers/developers working to extend each framework. It just so happened that PageLines was on that list. I knew that name because in July of 2012 I had used PageLines to design a site for my friend Jarret Popowich. I’d found it a little confusing to use and I didn’t really understand how I was supposed to create a site with it but I fumbled my way through it and got a great looking site up for my friend Jarret and then moved on to other projects.
It was now time to take another look at PageLines and see if I could figure out how to use it. Well, I read everything I could find on PageLines. I read their docs, downloaded their theming kit, and watched every video they’d produced on designing sites with PageLines. Then I discovered the store. The store opened up my design capacity to a whole new level because I could extend PageLines with great functionality using custom sections and plugins designed specifically for PageLines. And that was it, I was hooked.
Well, after a month or two of practically devoting myself to designing with PageLines I decided to take my investment to the next level. I’d gained so much from designing with PageLines that I wanted to get more involved in the developer community. I asked PL how I could become a PageLines ‘pro’ and they said to get involved in the community first and go from there. So that’s what I did. I jumped in, got involved and haven’t looked back. It’s been great.
One of the things I was able to do was get beta access to the newest version of PageLines, something they’re calling PageLines DMS. Where PageLines 2.x is a framework for building sites on, PageLines DMS is a totally new way of thinking about how a site on WordPress is built. I know what people say every time they hear that, ‘yeah, whatever, there are loads of other frameworks doing that.’ Not like this.
I am really excited about PageLines DMS and its launch on July 24th. I really believe that it is going to unlock website design for the many aspiring designers out there looking for an opportunity to get the code out of the way so they can focus on creating stunningly beautiful websites. I have the really cool honour of having the first public site on PageLines DMS and have since added eight more designs. Some for clients and some that I’ll be releasing on the PageLines DMS store.
DMS launch is just days away and I am so excited to see other people get their hands on it and to see what they come up with.