You may have already seen or heard about our latest Storefront extension; Powerpack. If you’re familiar with it already you can skip the next paragraph, if not please read on…!

Powerpack adds a bunch of features to Storefront, most notably a Header Layout Configurator and the ‘Designer’ which lets you customise the look and feel of a whole bunch of display elements. See how it works in the video below;

 

Child themes vs Skins

Child themes allow us to create radically different Storefront designs but they do have some drawbacks;

  • Increased overhead – it’s another product to purchase, install and keep updated
  • Stops you from creating your own child theme (WordPress doesn’t allow grandchild themes out of the box and probably never will)
  • The more a child theme changes Storefront core design, the trickier it becomes for it to remain compatible with all core/extension options – we know this can be frustrating

A lot of the time a child theme is simply overkill for most customers.

Considering these drawbacks we’ve often thought about how we might offer different designs to our customers that are easier to set up/use and are more lightweight.

Storefront Skins

Skins to the rescue!

What’s a skin? In this case it’s a preset style that you can apply to your Storefront. It changes the look and feel of your site (to potentially dramatic effect), but doesn’t change the layout or add any features. Most importantly you don’t have to install anything extra to use it.

Using Powerpack to create, use and share skins

The most exciting part of this is that we could use Powerpack to both serve our own skins and allow you to create and share your own. That means you could get access to dozens of Storefront designs (skins) just by installing Powerpack. No child theme required.

How does that work?

With Powerpacks two core features; the Header Layout Configurator and the Designer, anyone can quickly and easily create an entirely new Storefront design or “skin”.

Whilst this is currently just an idea, if there’s enough interest we’d like to add the following features to Powerpack;

  • Save Customizer states – Save specific Customizer configurations as states (skins).
  • Manage skins – Save multiple skins and quickly switch between them via dropdown. Easily edit, delete or add more skins.
  • Import/export skins – Import someone else’s skins or export your own.
  • Bundle skins – Create and bundle our own designs for you to (optionally) import and use.

Those new features combined (particularly the last one) would allow us to provide customers with a multitude of designs, created to suit a variety of different niches / industries. Perhaps even better you’d be able to create your own skins and open source them (if that’s your thing).

You might wonder why a single store would need access to more than one design. Well, you might create seasonal skins. Apply a black and orange color scheme for Halloween, for example. But the main benefit is that you’d have access to all those designs via a single plugin. If you’re building a lot of WooCommerce sites the value here should be obvious.

What do you think?

As I said, currently this is just an idea and we’d like to gauge interest before working on it. If this is something you’d be interested in please share your thoughts and vote on the ideasboard.