Since version 1.7.0 (released April 3, 2018) themes made under Apollo13 Framework are finally free from Redux Framework plugin dependency. These themes are:
Let’s explain what does it all mean.
Redux Framework plugin
Why did we use it?
As a small team, we look to outsource as many things as possible and focus on things that only we can do. For example, instead of recreating Revolution Slider plugin, we have it bundled with Rife Pro theme, as someone already does a great job with maintaining it. Another great example is Elementor – why create another page builder, that will be closed source, when we can just make our theme fully compatible with one that is great already, and extend it with our additions.
Same was for Redux Framework plugin. At the time when we were preparing our first framework theme, FatMoon, Redux team made huge implementation of Customizer settings. As we wanted to save time, and all looked promising we have decided to use it as a required part of a theme, responsible for theme settings interface.
Why was it mistake?
The idea was good, pay some money & save a LOT of time to focus on other important aspects. However, we made 2 mistakes in this decision:
- We have made a core part of theme dependent on an external plugin.
- We didn’t notice that “Redux guys” are more making this for fun, and they don’t have a business model.
What it meant for us, is when WordPress was making changes to customizer, guys from Redux Framework plugin didn’t do much to fix issues that came along.
Issues on updates are unfortunately normal things in WordPress world. However, lack of any response, even when we paid for an extended license is not good. After many months of trying to reach guys from Redux, we have decided we have to write our own implementation of Customizer. This took some time, but it was worth it.
What comes with version 1.7.x of our themes?
Live settings in Customizer
WordPress customizer got a lot better in last few WordPress releases, and now it supports crazy useful thing like partial refreshes. This means that after changing the options page don’t have to reload fully, what was slow and painful. Currently, full refreshes are reserved only for options that can’t be viewed otherwise.
With version 1.7.0 we have already implemented partial refreshes for few sections, and with next updates across a 1.7.x branch, we will be adding next section of options to be “partials” instead of full refresh. With the release of 1.7.0, you can use “partials” for:
- General settings → General Layout
- General settings → Page preloader
- General settings → Cookie message
- General settings → Footer
- General settings → Hidden sidebar
Additionally, Custom CSS is currently fully live, and show changes instantly on your page in preview:-) It is all thanks to changes added in WordPress 4.9 to their Additional CSS setting. You can read more about the difference in those 2 fields in the documentation for the Rife theme.
Other settings will, for now, reload page fully on change, but we will work on converting them to “partials” with each new version of the theme.
Long lasting bugs removed & memory saves
Two longtime bugs are finally removed thanks to not using Redux Framework anymore. These are:
- the issue with not changing/stuck settings in Customizer
- live preview losing changes if few options were changed
I can’t tell you how many support topics were caused by these 2 bugs, but I am glad it won’t happen again.
Another thing is that themes now uses less memory then previously, and if you remove the Redux Framework plugin you will save even more memory, and it means faster loading site!
To compare, I have tested Rife Pro on the same installation in 3 variants:
|Generation time||Memory used|
|Rife Pro 1.6.6 with required Redux||0.53S||39,683kB|
|Rife Pro 1.7.0 with Redux||0.36S||31,198kB|
|Rife Pro 1.7.0 without Redux||0.33S||29,745kB|
So savings in my case are huge, cause it is almost 25% or ~10MB.
This was a simple installation, so it may vary, however, every saving is good for your site and page loading times.
A word about importing Designs
As many users can still have a version of our themes below 1.7.x, Redux Framework plugin will still be installed with import till 7th May 2018. After that date, it will be removed from dependency.
So till that time, if you are using a theme in version 1.7.x, just remove the Redux Framework plugin after importing design, as it is not used in theme at all.
What is coming next
As I said already we will be implementing the next theme options to be partially refreshed, and make the main menu finally editable from Customizer.
Along the way, we will work on front-end optimizations to make the theme work even better for your site. We will announce them as they come in the changelog or in next blog posts.
Hope you will like what is coming!