How do I use the BioShip Framework?

Simply download it and install it as you would any standard WordPress theme. See the Documentation page for step-by-step installation and Child Theming instructions and other customization details. If you have an existing theme in place, you may want to do a Preview Install for example. This way you can change the Theme Options to your liking and even create a Child Theme and style that, without having to activate your new theme (make it publicly live) until you are satisfied with the new design result. Enjoy!

Where did BioShip come from?

Well, the long version is on the home page I guess, so here is the "short" version. To begin with I was looking for a bare-bones theme ( skeleton / whiteboard / blank canvas ) that I could implement a clean and simple design on, and decided upon Simple Skeleton for a few reasons. I added some extra functionality and made options for these with the Options Framework. I then extended it with a few other free and open source frameworks that I found lying around the interwebm, and added a few plugin integrations as well. I also had a fair bit of a trawl through some other framework-style themes to get further ideas for improving the Skeleton and Muscle functions. Then re-vamped most of my existing sites (and a few client sites) with the resulting theme framework to put it through further testing paces (one live site has had it from the very beginning.) Finally I decided it was good enough to put out there, so then it came to all the documentation and graphics and design for this site. PHEW. And so here it is! Perhaps then both the hackiest and cleanest and extensible theme you will ever find. 🙂

Sounds great, but I don't really like how it looks?

As a framework, the focus for BioShip has been on creating and improving the underlying theme structure (page elements, functions, layout, templates, integrations and so on and on...) This makes it flexible enough for just about any design project's needs. There is a LOT of added features and improvements over a standard theme that may not be immediately obvious (if you are about to buy a standard theme just because it "looks" good - PAUSE - check into the details, as you may find it wanting later. On the other hand you could end up in a similar boat by buying an expensive theme with a lot of features you don't need and end up with a slow site. Or perhaps something like this has happened already to you already and that's why you're here...)

The actual skinning or styling of the theme, and any deeper customization is intentionally left up to you (or your designer or developer.) The basic styling and typography options etc. are all in place to get you started and up and running as fast as possible, even if the default styling options are rather plain looking. Ignore them, because from there, you can skin the look and feel of the resulting theme to your liking, without having to worry that the underlying theme itself is not up to scratch. This can actually save you a lot of time and/or money in the overall development of your project. Remember, how a design looks is only one part of a theme - the final part - just as a car's paint job does not account for what is under the hood.

Can you recommend a CSS Style Builder?

Yes, I would recommend using CSS Hero. It has an easy to use point and click interface to select and edit styles on any of your WordPress pages visually. So you can inspect and build element selector and style them very easily in the one place. This plugin works with ANY theme, not just those built with the BioShip Framework, so it doesn't get much better than that. BioShip comes CSS Hero ready so you can access the right page elements in an organized way. If you are a WordPress designer or theme developer without this in your toolbox you are really missing out, this styling editor can save you a lot of time!

I like the look of *INSERT THEME* better, should I buy it?

By all means if you like the design of a particular theme and want to buy a license for it, go for it. That doesn't have to mean you can't use BioShip too. I have personally converted a number of existing themes I liked (or ones that clients like or already have) into the BioShip Framework by taking the relevent styling and images from those themes and making them Child Themes for BioShip. This can also be a great way to mix and match various style elements that you like from different themes to give you an even better looking site than relying on the styling or graphics of just one theme. Of course, you would need some CSS experience to do this, but it is still an option if you don't and instead have a designer who can do this for you. Just ask them. (They will probably thank you for showing them BioShip.)

How do I get support for BioShip?

I am working on putting a unique system in place to prioritize and log support issues and feature suggestions via a user forum and/or ticketing system. In the meantime (and for a limited time) head to the Development page to get in touch with your issue or feature suggestion.

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