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Oxygen
A beauty, but a tad bit too dependent on the (paid support) Hybrid framework (3 posts)

4 stars
  1. Mark
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    This is a very well-executed theme. Coded with great attention to detail, with a beautiful clean design and nice typography. Good color scheme, lovely options page with support for a number of beautiful typefaces. The theme has a responsive design that works equally well on computer, tablet, and smartphone screens. Four out of five stars.

    Due to the relatively transparent php, html and css code (inherited in part from the Hybrid core by Justin Tadlock), Oxygen is easy to customize. A child theme is created in seconds and a customized site can be up in a few hours. A great basis to work with as a parent theme, but perfectly ready straight out of the box as well.

    Why not five out of five?

    For two reasons:
    1. The included page templates aren't flexible enough, which hopefully will be improved in future versions. The full-width template is truly full-width; it would be nice to have it optionally with a sidebar. The front-page template is gorgeous but a bit inflexible in terms of setting up: all front page posts have to be hand-picked using a custom post_location metabox and the featured content slider does not support sticky posts. Further, sidebars are handled in an unintuitive way, with the call for the secondary sidebar being buried in footer.php and the sidebar being disabled for the full-width template in an "offhand" way via functions.php. At these and other points, the code of the theme is less than transparent.

    2. The theme is perhaps a bit too heavily based on Hybrid, with a lock-in effect. Although Hybrid is a great framework, its downside is that documentation is sparse and support forums are hidden behind a paywall. This makes it hard to find good supporting information for some of the core features of the theme . For instance, a lot of metadata is called using Hybrid shortcodes like [entry-author] etc. It is hard to find out how to work with these shortcodes (and especially how to customize or translate them) without paying for Hybrid, which is not at all clear when you first download Oxygen.

  2. Griden
    Member
    Theme Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thank you for your positive review, Mark. A few comments:

    The theme is unusual and its layout is crazy indeed. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to build it. So the code may look a bit unintuitive, indeed. The word "complex" should be a more appropriate though. As a theme developer, my main goal is to make the front-end interface intuitive.

    The theme doesn't lock you in in any way. You can replace the Hybrid Core shortcodes with the core WordPress template tags/functions if you need to customise the theme. Hybrid Core is not a "layer", it consists of optional features - you can choose what to use and what not.

    On top of all, the Hybrid Core code is extremely well written and documented. A developer can figure out what its features do and how to use them simply by reading through it. An option for those who want to learn theme development but don't want to pay a dime.

  3. Mark
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks for your response Griden.

    The word "complex" should be a more appropriate though. As a theme developer, my main goal is to make the front-end interface intuitive.

    Complex might be more appropriate. However, as an admin explaining others how to maintain a site using this theme, I can report that the "location" box feels not just complex but also inflexible to users. They would much rather simply use known features like "sticky" and various categories to manage what appears where on the front page. (So I made a start with that here.)

    The theme doesn't lock you in in any way. You can replace the Hybrid Core shortcodes with the core WordPress template tags/functions if you need to customise the theme. Hybrid Core is not a "layer", it consists of optional features - you can choose what to use and what not.

    This is true in a literal way, I guess -- I'm still free to do whatever I want -- but what I mean by lock-in is well exemplified by the case of the Hybrid shortcodes. They are use all over the template files. Customizing that aspect of the theme thus means editing all template files in which, say, [entry-author] occurs. Or it may mean editing the shortcode function itself, but that is not so trivial even given the transparent Hybrid code. (For instance, I find it quite hard to find out how to override the [entry-author] shortcode function with my own version in a child theme.)

    You are problably right though that much could be learnt by reading through the Hybrid core code.

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