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Aesop Story Engine

Suite of components that enables the creation of interactive storytelling themes for WordPress.

The Aesop Story Engine is a suite of open-sourced tools and components that empower developers and writers to build feature-rich, interactive, long-form storytelling themes for WordPress. At the heart of ASE are the suite of storytelling components, which are created on the fly while crafting posts within WordPress.


Utilizing these components, writers can can take their work to the next level, and developers can utilize the core storytelling engine to build feature-rich, visually compelling WordPress themes. Here’s a demo theme incorporating these story components. http://playground.aesopstories.com

Audio Display an audio player with support for MP3. This is great for showcasing audio interviews.

Video Showcase a fullscreen video with support for Kickstarter, Viddler, YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, and Blip.TV.

Content The content component is a multi-purpose component that can display a background image, background color, or can split the content into multiple magazine type columns.

Character Display a character avatar, title, and small bio to help readers be reminded of key story characters.

Galleries The ASE Gallery component allows you to create and manage unlimited story galleries. Each gallery can be displayed as a grid, a thumbnail gallery, stacked, or sequential type gallery, all with caption support.

Chapter Headings Creates scroll-to points with headings.

Image The image component displays an image and caption, with optional lightbox. Also allows you to align the image, as well as offset the image so it hangs outside of the content column.

Locations This component allows you to create a map for your story. You can add markers to the map with custom messages. This is a great component for showcasing a characters travels.

Parallax A fullwidth image component with caption and lightbox. As you scroll, the image moves slightly to provide a parallax effect. Includes optional floater parallax item to use for multiple levels of parallax engagement.

Quote Show a fullwidth quote with large text. Control the color and background of the quote component.

Timeline Create a story with a timeline that sticks to the bottom. The timeline works a bit like chapters.

Collections The 13th component is meant to be used on a page of your site, and allows you to display stories from a specific collection (category).

Document Viewer This component allows you to upload a PDF or image, that is shown to the user once they click the component.

Here’s a demo theme incorporating these story components. http://playground.aesopstories.com

Here’s documentation on the Story Engine. http://aesopstoryengine.com/documentation

Theme Implementation

It’s important to know that the plugin only produces very basic CSS for the components. The theme is responsible for making the components appear different ways. For this reason, the Timeline and Chapter components may not function as intended. Refer to your themes documentation to see if it fully supports Aesop.

Theme authors and developers will find documentation covering everything from the markup that is generated, to actions, filters, and instructions for full Aesop integration.


** Update 7.31.14 ** Aesop Story Engine 1.0.9 now features full theme compatibility with a simple code snippet that will load styles based on the components that you decide. While a dedicated theme is required to run components full-width, this will at least load all of the additional styles to give a basic design. Simply remove the component that you do not want to load additional styles for.

add_theme_support("aesop-component-styles", array("parallax", "image", "quote", "gallery", "content", "video", "audio", "collection", "chapter", "document", "character", "map", "timeline") );

We reccommend placing this in a WordPress themes functions.php, or use a plugin like Code Snippets and put it there.


This story engine was in beta for over 4 months, and every attempt has been made to ensure that 1.0 is as stable as can be. No breaking changes will be made until the next major version, which at the moment isn’t even a speckle in my daddies eye. All components are pluggable, and there are ample filters and actions to manipulate just about everything you can imagine. Refer to the documentation below for more.


If you think something is missing, we want to hear from you. Post your request and bugs on Github.

Requires: 3.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.9.2
Last Updated: 2014-7-31
Downloads: 10,384


4 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars


10 of 12 support threads in the last two months have been resolved.

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