July 29, 2013 at 11:15 am #266
Here’s the documentation I’ve prepared for the Runway functions and features overview.
I’m posting it here because the official Runway documentation site is still in development.
It’s not carved in stone so feel free to point out anything that I have missed, or anything that is incorrect or not clear. Also, if anyone has any ideas about what else should be in this overview, please let me know.
Runway features overview
Runway was built for creating WordPress themes and it encompasses both of the classic meanings of “theme framework” as defined by the WordPress developers:
- A drop-in code library that is used to facilitate development of a theme.
- A stand-alone base/starter theme that is intended either to be forked into another theme, or else to be used as a parent theme template.
But Runway is much more than just a theme framework, Runway is a Theme Development Environment.
Integrated child theme management
Create a working environment – a Theme Development Environment – which contains many different Runway child themes and then use Runway to update any or all child themes with the very latest features ready to be exported as stand-alone themes and pushed to your clients as theme updates.
Create your own theme options
Runway features an Options Builder that makes it easy to build custom option pages for your theme. Instead of hand-coding a pile of complicated arrays, you can do it all with drag-and-drop and click-and-pick.
The Options Builder generates admin pages directly in your theme’s admin menu. The new admin pages can be populated with inputs selected by you from the Options Builder interface. Group the content of admin pages with containers, or split the fields across tabs. There is even the ability to add custom fields so if you need something we didn’t already think of you can add it yourself.
Manage the WordPress admin
No more hacking theme code, Runway will enable you to add, edit and organise theme menus without any coding. If a theme is built with Runway it makes it easy to customise the permissions and theme options for any custom admin structures. Quickly modify admin options specific to a client’s needs using a nice admin interface.
Extended and enhanced functionality
Runway is modular and much of its functionality comes from what we call extensions. In many ways Runway extensions are just like the WordPress plugins you will have become accustomed to using to extend and enhance theme functionality. The big difference is that when you export your finished theme Runway extensions become an integrated part of that theme as default features.
Just think. No more installing plugins on client sites or writing documentation for how to install them. No more worrying about building features that require a plugin only to have the client turn it off or delete it, breaking the theme. And because all child themes are underpinned by the same Runway framework, features that have been developed for one specific theme can easily be added to other themes. This enables you to push out advances in technology, even changes in design trends, to all your clients who use themes built with Runway.
To give you an idea of the power and the potential of Runway extensions, here are some that we are already developing:
And that’s just the beginning, merely the tip of the tip of a very big iceberg. You can expect much more not just from Parallelus but also from independent developers. And, of course, you can develop your own Runway extensions which you can distribute freely if you like, or even sell.
Designed for re-branding
Develop your themes with yourself and your clients in mind.
Just because your theme is using the Runway framework this doesn’t mean you have to end up with a theme that is broadcasting that information. You can brand your theme any which way you like, we are not interested in taking credit for your creativity. It’s 100% your theme.
Export stand-alone themes
During the development stage you will most likely work with a parent/child relationship, where Runway is the parent and your custom, unique theme is the child. If you like you can distribute it this way when you are finished, but more likely you’ll want to “package” the whole parent/child structure into a single, independent theme. This helps you to build individual brand recognition for your themes.
So when you have finished developing your theme it can be exported as a totally stand-alone theme, independent of the Runway framework.
At the moment I’m not sure what I’ll be working on next.
Watch this space, as they say.July 31, 2013 at 7:06 am #272
Thanks Jeff!September 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm #333
I just read this again, and it’s the perfect description of Runway. I’m using this as the “readme” document for the Github repository going forward. Awesome work Jeff!
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