The Volatyl Framework for WordPress is my pride and joy. Yes, I created it with my own fingertips and I’ve built many websites with it. In fact, Build WordPress Yourself is built on Volatyl, just in case you didn’t know.
Surprisingly, I’ve grown fond of standalone WordPress themes since I built Volatyl. It hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves because its early development stages are over and I’ve moved on to learn about other things.
Don’t let that fool you, though. Volatyl is an awesome WordPress framework great for any designer looking for a fast, smart way to easily deploy multiple WordPress themes.
Let’s take a look at what makes Volatyl so cool.
Power, Flexibility, and Ease of Use
That’s the intersection that mattered most to me when I was building Volatyl.
I wanted to create options that did a massive amount of work for developers without limiting what they could accomplish. I also didn’t want those options to be difficult to implement. There was no point in replacing one complicated task with another.
So what I came up with is a control panel made primarily with checkboxes.
You simply check a box to make something happen or not make it happen. Why get any more advanced than that? If a framework is a code library for WordPress themes, accessing that code library should be a breeze. With Volatyl, it is.
What you see there is pretty simple. You can show or hide basic elements of your theme in one click. What about the more complicated stuff, though?
One of Volatyl’s most powerful options that gets used all over the theme is the HTML structure. The difference between a full-width and page-width HTML structure is a big part of a websites design.
Volatyl makes it easy to select which structure is right for your theme design.
Here’s a list of things you can do by making simple selections in the Volatyl options.
- determine your theme’s HTML structure
- choose a site-wide content/sidebar layout with up to 3 columns in all possible configurations
- turn the entire theme’s responsiveness on or off
- upload a logo to automatically replace the site title
- hide default header elements like the site title and tagline
- register fully functional menus in the header, above the content, and below the content… all responsive and fully support dropdowns
- replace default blog navigation with numbered pagination
- display featured images on the blog feed or single posts (separate options)
The list could continue on. The point is that building a WordPress theme requires a lot of “busy work” that developers shouldn’t have to do over and over again. Volatyl takes care of that work… simple or complex.
Individual Posts & Pages
Site-wide control of your theme is great. Sometimes it’s not enough, though. Individual posts and pages may serve their own purposes and I believe they should be able to make some decisions of their own.
That’s why I built a few key overrides and added features that apply to each and every post or page you create.
All posts and pages can sport their own column configuration. By default, they’ll adopt the site-wide layout. Changing that layout for a particular post or page is too easy.
Changing the layout is nothing if you can’t change the styles to go along with it. Separated by a space, you can give any post or page an unlimited amount of classes that will be added to the body element. This makes for writing very simple CSS selectors 100% tailored to your own naming conventions instead of WordPress’.
I have a horrible habit of treating this feature like it’s nothing. Forgive me.
By simply checking a box, you can register a new sidebar (or two) that is specific to your post or page. With the box checked and the post/page published, the original sidebar will still display. At any time, though, you’re free to go build your new sidebar widgets configuration and they will take over just like that. So slick.
Landing and Squeeze Pages
WordPress pages aren’t always used for displaying content the same way the rest of a theme does. Sometimes they’re packed with sales copy or content that requires absolutely no navigation or distractions.
That’s why landing page and squeeze page templates have been built right into the theme. Simply select a template for your new page and you’re done.
To take that a step further, page titles sometimes get in the way. So on pages, you also have the ability to check a box that hides the page title altogether. Too easy.
Volatyl Hooks Interface
One of the great things about frameworks is that they almost always come with a list of hooks that can be used to insert content all over your theme without much hassle.
These hooks are written in code, of course, and usually require code to tap into.
To escape writing code, plugins are oftentimes built that will tap into those hooks for you. With those plugins installed, you can use simple textareas to insert your content.
The problem is that most of the plugins created for other frameworks limit flexibility. Inserting content in an “above content” hook means that your new content will display above the main content all over the theme.
What if you only wanted it to display on the homepage? To do so, you’ll need to abandon the hooks interface in the plugin and get back to writing code.
This is where Volatyl stands out. Not only is the hooks interface built directly into the theme, but each and every hook comes with built-in conditionals that allow you to customize where your new content will display.
Sure, there will be times when your conditions need to be even more specific. If that’s the case, you are more than free to write your own hooks. In fact, I’ve already written each and every one of them for you.
Check out the Volatyl Hooks List packed with ready-to-use examples.
That leads me to the most popular feature of Volatyl.
Volatyl Framework Documentation
Sometimes I don’t know if I should be happy or sad about the fact that Volatyl’s documentation gets more attention that the software itself.
As you can tell from BWPY, I don’t mind explaining things in detail and that’s what the docs represent.
I provide a documentation page for every single Volatyl option. Not only that, I’ve written articles on how to customize your themes and do common tasks like add Google Web Fonts and build new elements into your HTML structure.
Have a look at the Volatyl documentation and see for yourself.
Final Words About the Volatyl Framework
It’s only right that I support my own framework, right? 🙂 It’s not about that, though.
Volatyl was born out of necessity. A strange shift in the WordPress framework market caused me to feel like none of the existing frameworks could fit my needs.
Instead of using them anyway, I built my own. I took the ideas I liked from other frameworks and built them into mine. What I didn’t like about them, I left out of mine.
More importantly, I built features into Volatyl that I felt made sense, like the post/page sidebars and hooks interface. I made Volatyl useful to me as an active freelance theme developer. If you call yourself the same, give Volatyl a try.