Horizon is getting on a bit. Even so, it’s been a solid theme powering hundreds of websites. And it’s still solid.

But it’s based on a 3rd party framework that’s no longer maintained and it uses Visual composer a page builder plugin that I wont be using in any future themes.

People still love Horizons design and so do I. So I’m going to rebuild it, same design but It will be powered by the Zorbix framework. It’s going to be a simpler theme, leaving functionality to plugins as it should be.

Horizon was our first commercial WordPress theme and we’ve learnt so much since then.

We subscribe to the ethos that a theme is for presentation and a plugin is for functionality. So the functionality it currently has ( which it shouldn’t have ), like the CSS editor, fonts editor and contact form will be removed and we’ll be recommending alternatives like “Easy Google Fonts”, “Simple Custom CSS” and “Contact From 7”. We found that many users preferred or needed the functionality of these 3rd party plugins anyway.

Why I don’t bake in google fonts

We got a lot of questions like “How do I add fields to the contact form”. The inbuilt contact form was simple and didn’t allow for any kind of customisation. But trying to recreate the power of Contact From 7 or gravity forms in a theme would be ridiculous.

We have learnt so much since we first released Horizon, our first premium theme in 2014.

Like not building on a third party that could be discontinued, not including plugin functionality, focusing on quality not quantity.

Like many of my customers, I also set up themes for clients. So I also see the downsides of themes that are littered with options.

Sure, when you need an option, it’s nice to have it. But the problem with that is that you end up with a ridiculous amount to cover all possible needs. And it soon becomes overwhelming and creates a higher overhead and a higher chance of problems. Which in my experience, is numerous is these types of themes.

I’ve used themes with bugs that they’ve known about since release but never fixed.

I would argue if you need that many options, a theme isn’t the right solution.

So we want to create themes that follow best practices that are easy to use, setup and maintain. The new version of Horizon will be the first.

Retiring the old version

Being a complete re-write to remove the long retired third party framework and to bring up to modern standards means providing backwards support is not possible.

With the number of users who have customised the theme with child themes, even modest changes likely would break their sites.

So to release the update as V3 gives users the choice as to wether they want to switch to the new version.

Version 2, the version sold on Themeforest will continue to receive updates for a year. We know many shops just pull themes when they get to EOL. We want to give a plentiful grace period of 1 year, till November 2017.

If you would like to read more about theme retirement, check out these great articles on the topic.

tommcfarlin.com/planned-obsolescence-of-wordpress-themes

wptavern.com/devpress-retires-its-best-selling-theme