Post by Qphoria » Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:47 pm

I've been trying to recommend some themes to people but after working with so many sites and trying to install them, I've come to realize how effing Terrible so many themes are.

I've been quite open about past themes that I considered terribly codes like Shoppica et al, but at least Shoppica didn't replace core files or require you to have an empty database. There are themes out there by big sellers like TemplateMeta, themeglobal, and others that replace dozens of core files and layout files so that if you ever wanted to remove their theme, you'd need to reinstall opencart! THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!

So I'm hereby creating a blacklist/whitelist of either theme authors and/or individual themes that make this garbage.
I'm putting them into 4 categories:

1. Avoid at all Costs. These are the ones that replace core files. If you are a theme maker replacing ANY core files, you have already failed at life. These also seem to be the ones that require you to have a clean database and you must run their sql file to install all their demo descriptions and store settings to make their demo on your site, rather than make your site look like the demo.

2. Not recommended. These are the ones that at the very least use their own files, but blindly include files that don't need to be copied, like the payment folder. If you are a theme maker and have a payment folder, you have again failed at life! At least this can be easily fixed by deleting the payment folder from the theme. But who knows what other files they just copied over from the default theme that weren't necessary.. The more files they copied from the default, the more painful it is to upgrade.

3. Use with caution. These are your Shoppicas, Journals, PavMega, etc.. Themes that add an additional abstraction layer that can be a pain to work with.. often complicated by using ocmod vs vqmod since ocmod is more difficult to debug. These are popular themes and can be very nice, but also add so much of their own stuff that you can get lost in their world. Use with caution.

4. Generally safe. These are the themes that follow the proper steps to theming. They create their own files, even if they have their own version of modules. They never overwrite any files. They use a proper modification system like vqmod or ocmod to integrate themselves where necessary (tho usually this should not be needed). And they only include the files that they've actually customized.

I'd like to get feedback from others as well, including the theme authors who I will likely aggravate... But it's getting difficult to tell people to stick with OpenCart when many of the the available attractive themes are coded like garbage.

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Post by Qphoria » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:01 am

1. Avoid at all costs:
  • TemplateMeta/OPCXXXX themes - These guys are the epitome of how to do it wrong. Their themes come with replacement files for core engine files because they were too lazy to make a proper vqmod script or use a more proper way of adding additional layouts and file loading. They often include a sql file that is required for any custom tables, but also includes demo data and overwrites your existing settings, layouts, etc. They make little to no warning that you will lose everything if you install their theme and offer no way to return to normal if you want to use a different theme. Unfortunately these guys have a huge presence in the extension store.
  • Themeglobal (1.5.x themes). TG looks to have changed their ways in their 2.x themes but their older 1.5.x only themes replace core module files like bestseller, featured, etc instead of including their own.
  • Thaiphong (Some of them) - Makes a lot of nice looking themes, and they have their own modules, but he has an installer that he expects you to use that will overwrite your settings and layouts. This is a fail. I think you can use the theme without using the installer, but it isn't clear from the instructions. His installer should only affect his settings and use updates and inserts for those settings rather than blindly delete all other settings.
2. Not recommended:
  • Panforest - This author makes minimalist themes, but blindly includes all folders (including payment) within their theme, so use with caution and be sure to delete the payment folder.
3. Use with Caution:
  • Themeglobal 2.x themes. They have gotten better for the most part, but I still see a few that replace core module files. Remember, if you choose to leave their theme for another, you will likely have errors because of their incompatible version. Themes should NEVER replace core files. Hopefully they clean it all up going forward.
  • Journal2 - Probably the most popular 2.x theme. Earlier versions were a mess to install but it seems to be better now. It uses its own abstract layer still, but so long as you understand that, you can mostly follow the structure. Just be wary of their own image resizer and other unnecessary features when trying to make custom mods for things.
  • globethm - These guys seem to have a lot of features in their themes. There's a lot that happens within their core module. Also a few core file edits which is completely unnecessary.
  • Thaiphong - He is listed in 2 categories because some of his themes require you run an installer and overwrite your settings while others omit the installer and it turns out to be a nice theme. Be wary of which theme you get. This one seems safe
  • pavothemes - These are popular and robust themes. They do use their own system library files but maintain almost proper compatibility with OpenCart core files. It does replace the admin common.js file which is a foul.
4. Generally Safe:
  • ShopMe - I've used this theme a few times and find it to be a very good theme overall. The author strives to follow the theming requirements in opencart and adds a LOT of additional custom modules and features within the theme like a one page checkout and megamenu. I've recommended the theme to a few of my clients and they've been generally happy with it.
  • FocusThemes - From what I've seen these are nice minimalist themes that don't overwrite core files.

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Post by EvolveWebHosting » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:07 am

Thanks for putting this list together and I agree there are a lot of themes that are disappointing.

I would like to find better themes to recommend to clients as well. This is a commonly asked question by many.
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Post by labeshops » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:19 am

I found a LOT of themes do not take multistores into account. Adding extra control panels to make things "easier" is all fine and good but they rarely work with multistores and many I tried break the core files so that even using that theme for just 1 store of a multistore set up is rarely an option. This is why I usually stick with the default opencart theme I modify myself. I would like to urge theme developers to state upfront if they are fully tested with multistores or not.

Running Opencart v2.2 with multi-stores from http://www.labeshops.com which has links to all my stores.

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Post by OSWorX » Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:34 am

Beside the already written fact that some of these 'developers' produce terrible themes it should be highlighted in very big letters, that all those templates which are changing the backend (admin area) in a way that it replace important functions or destroy the standard admin template should be banned forever!

Either they develop a complete new admin template additonally with new functions - I could live with it - or let it and focus only on frontend (shop) design.

Design is design, and they should have their focus only on that.

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Post by Johnathan » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:18 am

Thanks for this -- I just told someone the other day that I had no recommendations for good OpenCart themes, because I haven't ever encountered one I thought was well-coded to conform to OpenCart template standards.

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Post by Qphoria » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:16 am

Johnathan wrote:Thanks for this -- I just told someone the other day that I had no recommendations for good OpenCart themes, because I haven't ever encountered one I thought was well-coded to conform to OpenCart template standards.
Yea at this point I just pick the lesser of the other evils, but some are so evil they must have been created by the devil himself.

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Post by madimar » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:19 pm

This is an excellent topic, and I generally agree with previous comments.
According to my experience, Shoppica has been the evil of the evils, a big code mess, with tons of unnecessary and poorly written code.
On the other side, considering current best selling themes, I personally find Journal an excellent and flexible theme, well coded, optimized.
It is true or is not only a theme but considering all the improvements and features it introduces, it doesn't have big impacts on Opencart core files and Opencart general behavior or code.

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Post by JNeuhoff » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:47 pm

I have yet to see an Opencart-compliant web theme. What I don't understand is why theme makers can't make proper use of CSS only, along with supporting images. An ideal web theme should not have to use its own re-structured template files which are bound to break other 3rd-party extensions using VQMod/OCmod/Override Engine.

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Post by JNeuhoff » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:45 pm

Is there actually any place where end users could get clean Opencart web themes which abide by the Opencart standards?

It is obvious from this forum thread that only developers are concerned about this issue. Most end users couldn't care less, they just install terrible web themes like crazy, and then cry out for help when other 3rd party extensions get broken because of that.

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Post by labeshops » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:09 pm

Well, I'm an end user and not a developer :)

What about a certification program for themes? Perhaps some of us that are concerned would be willing to test themes submitted for certification to make sure they work properly? I would be willing to test them in a multi-store environment. Perhaps a special seal or something could be given to those themes that pass inspection?

Running Opencart v2.2 with multi-stores from http://www.labeshops.com which has links to all my stores.

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Post by i2Paq » Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:47 am

That is why I hire a specialist, a OpenCart Theme builder who will build your theme based on the Default OpenCart theme.

It is rather costly but it pays in the end.

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Post by idmsjs » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:36 am

Maybe a list of certified / a commercial premium edition - that then later gets released?

You say: That is why I hire a specialist, a OpenCart Theme builder who will build your theme based on the Default OpenCart theme.

It is rather costly but it pays in the end.

I do agree its a great core but all these little theme add on's tie you in to people who want to sell and move on and so custom code will be the same.

Maybe OC could dare I say offer a commercial premium edition with more features that is supported centrally?

Come Dan make the jump, I would rather pay OC direct than this mishmash? I just paid $69 for a theme from Themeglobal just to have slideshow and mega menu and other tarty bits.

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Post by JNeuhoff » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:06 am

idmsjs wrote: I just paid $69 for a theme from Themeglobal just to have slideshow and mega menu and other tarty bits.
Mega menus are horrible, and I usually stay away from web sites using them when I can. The same is true with many slide shows: Some may look pretty, but often too slow, and probably not good for Google ranking.

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Post by idmsjs » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:44 am

Maybe OC could dare I say offer a commercial premium edition with more features that is supported centrally?

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Post by Dhaupin » Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:44 pm

+1000000 for all of that! So many themes are utterly-unthoughtout garbage.

You know what drives me more nuts though? Lack of constructor classes in a cart that focals on mods ;)

Imagine a world where class="MT10" without messing around. Revert back to line 1 and rethink base helpers...

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Post by JNeuhoff » Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:51 pm

Dhaupin wrote: You know what drives me more nuts though? Lack of constructor classes in a cart that focals on mods ;)

Imagine a world where class="MT10" without messing around. Revert back to line 1 and rethink base helpers...
Not sure what you are talking about. You are very vague in your statement.

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Post by Burt65 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:35 pm

idmsjs wrote: Maybe OC could dare I say offer a commercial premium edition with more features that is supported centrally?
Jerri
I think we have a winner here... :banana:

Been Using Journal 2 for a while now (and definitely not by choice).. It has change my way of looking at Opencart.
But for the price and functionality that it offers, it was a no brainier.

"Why are there so many Terrible themes?!"
Same reason as why there are so many terrible extensions, I guess.... money! And a lot of stupidity on our side as a customers...

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Post by IP_CAM » Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:45 am

>> And a lot of stupidity on our side as a customers... <<

One cannot really blame a Customer, because a Customer does not know, what he get's, with a Theme, in the first Place.

And when I look at Themes, I find some, they are larger on DATA than Opencart itself. So, I assume, they probably change just about everything, on a default OC Software !? I would never even try to install something like this ever,
after my first screw-up with a PAV theme, it 'healed' me from ever trying again.

No Wonder, that this does not always work. Because, in Addition to this, Customers download a lot of additional Mod's, so, after a while, the Shop Software is full of something, and nobody has an idea anymore, on, what exists and what's enabled, when it comes to a problem.

The only way, to fight this problem, woul be, to add a REQUIRED Sub header to this Forum, and everybody would have to fill it out, Themes, Mod's, Versions, e.t.c., before beeing able to ask any questions. It would not solve the problem, but it would hide it more, at least, I guess :D

Technically, OC must be very robust. Otherwise, it would long have be gone already. Under Circumstances, given, by the Way of handling this kind of 'Setup'.

But it's basically also a matter of communication.
A user has to find 'answers', quick and fast. But this place offers neither one, I have to click 4 times search reload, to get to the first 'allowed' result page. Or on the Forum 'New Posts' Page, rather seldom, one is able to find out, on spot, what version is involved. But thousands of Pages, and links, leading to posts, down to 1291, at the same time, when more and more v.1.5.x Mod's silently seem to leave the scene... (already!)

But as long a V-2 Install read-me file exists, in no way related to V-2 Versions, i honestly doubt, that a big Concern exists, otherwise, it would have been removed, or upgraded at least, and would so possibly have prevented a lot of problems, failures, fully unrelated to any Custom OC-Theme.

Things, like that, would already make it a little easier.
Just to mention it! 8)
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Post by OSWorX » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:07 am

IP_CAM wrote:>> And a lot of stupidity on our side as a customers... <<
....
One cannot really blame a Customer, because a Customer does not know, what he get's, with a Theme, in the first Place.
Could you (or someone) define what a 'customer' or 'user' is?
Can someone be called a customer who is able to push the On-Button of his device and think OpenCart is a 'App'??
Or should he know a bit what Internet means, a bit of basic understanding what a 'Server' is, a 'website', etc.?

Or is it someone who can spell 'Computer' errorfree?
Or someone who knows which permissions folders and files on 'his' server should have?

These days where noobs are offering 'best hosting' which security holes greater than the 'Great Barrier Reef', but cheaper than a 'Mac' - everybody think he is the 'King'.

Do you want them call 'Customers' - really??

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