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Before 1.0

Review posted by cgfnortje on at

Worth the 40 bucks, even if you live in Zimbabwe!

Anyone who ever thought about starting a web magazine may tell you that getting a developer to get your site functioning efficiently will cost you way more than forty bucks. Most people will also tell you that the go-to free CMS for something like that would be WordPress. Let’s be honest: both CNN and the New York Times probably looked into this a bit and they both use WordPress. I doubt that they would’ve picked a CMS that isn’t pretty good.

However, as a person who likes to play around with CMS platforms, there are a few things that turned me away from WordPress. First on the list is that WordPress is much harder to figure out than Concrete5. I am not a web professional in the strict sense of the word. I pretty much taught myself how to design sites. I’m also the first to admit that I’m not half as good as some other guys and girls who call themselves web professionals. That’s why I sometimes buy their themes. However, I believe that this lack of ability and know-how put me at a bit of an advantage in some respects.

For one, I have a good idea what “ordinary” website owners might find easy to work with and what they may find really hard to figure out. When I’m talking about “ordinary” I’m thinking about the sorts of owners who have basically no background in HTML, CSS or JavaScript. This does not include the computer illiterate. If you have a hard time sending text messages on your new smart phone, rather get your kids to run your magazine.

With Viewport, you don’t have to be a web professional and you don’t need a webmaster. In addition, if you compare it to some of the more decent WordPress Magazine themes (those that include most of the plugins a magazine might use), the pricing of ViewPort is remarkably affordable. This is what might attract big name magazines to Concrete5 in the end, and no matter which way you look at it, having a lot of big names using your CMS, theme or app is never a bad thing, even if you get nothing from them ever again. Bragging rights is a very good marketing tool.

This theme can do most of the things you’d expect an online magazine application to do. If you set up your home page as instructed in the theme documentation, you’re pretty much on your way. The developers and designers also seemed to have worked close with ChadStrat, who developed some of the more popular news manager applications on the Concrete5 Market Place. At the time writing this review, I have not yet checked how well these add-ons integrate with this theme. But I’m assuming that given some time, the developers and designers of ViewPort might look into this themselves (if they haven’t already).

However, even if none of the current News Managers on C5 works with this theme, the article page type can now be set up to work with C5's composer. You'll end up with more or less the same features and can even customise the layout of your composer to include the feature image block or an area where you can complete the meta description or any other SEO stuff you might think of. This can all be done from the page type default and the composer settings. With this theme, it makes Concrete5 a very powerful publishing platform.

I also think whenever anybody starts to think about buying a theme, they do so reluctantly. The first thing on your mind is that you don’t want your site to look like 400 other sites that also use the exact same theme. You want to make it look a bit different, maybe change the size of the images a bit, change some background images in the CSS, etc. You might even want to change the language in some of the default blocks on certain pages if you’re planning to use the theme in another country where English is but one of the languages or not spoken at all.

With this theme, you can make a few changes from the dashboard by clicking on the customize button where you'd usually install the theme. For most people, this might be more than enough. But sometimes you get guys like me who likes to look at the HTML and CSS on an editor or notepad and do it from there. I thus always appreciate themes that have good comments. This allows part-time designers like me to easily make a few changes to the stylesheets to get the theme looking exactly the way I want it to.

Luckilly, Chris Seymour (the author of this theme) did a great job entering comments into all of his files, which will help anyone with some background in design to further customise the theme to your client’s needs.

When you download and install the theme, the package's software automatically installs two of the core Concrete5 blocks on one crucial page type (the article page type). These blocks are the Guest Book & Comments block and the Next & Previous Nav block.

In prior versions of this theme, this caused me a few problems as I prefer to use Disqus for my comment sections and wanted to also change the labels of the Next & Previous Nav block to another language.

However, after Chris Seymour fixed a few bugs in the latest version of this theme, you can now replace any of the blocks you don’t want with any other block you’d prefer. Again, you can set these blocks in the page type default so that each new article already have your AdWords, a page list, or whatever else, the moment you publish. This saves a tremendous amount of time, which is always important for professionals in news media.

As far as it concerns this theme as a platform to build a web magazine or news site, I think it is perfect for a school press club or even a small local news site. I think it also has a lot of room to grow into something more complex once your news site really starts to pick up steam. However, one thing I would really like it to do is to archive old articles with the click of a button.

I’ve been writing for fifteen years and have written quite a few articles for well established news papers. These media giants have millions of articles on their sites.

Now even if you are just starting small, you will soon have a few thousand pages on your site. To manually move a few hundred individual pages to an archive each month can be quite a task. Most news manager apps do it automatically. So it might be a good idea to get an add-on with which one can create an archive for each month, move the pages by date range, and at the same time automatically save the old page paths so visitors will still be able to find the pages.

You’ll also want to hide the archives under something like the search page, because if a journalist logs onto Concrete5, look at the sitemap to add a new page to a category and see a few thousand pages, such a journalist might feel a bit intimidated. With WordPress, you don't see it unless you go out to look for it. Out of sight, out of mind.

I don’t know if such an add-on already exists on Concrete5. But I have certainly heard some people mention that this might be one of the reasons why big names in media haven’t yet flocked towards C5 as a publishing platform. Seeing pages upon pages in the sitemap might create the mental impression with editors that the cupboard is getting a bit messy. It’s all an illusion, of course. You don’t have less pages lying around using other CMS platforms for publishing. You merely don’t know where to look for them!

So to summarise: This is a pretty decent theme with most of the applications you’ll need to run your own web magazine. I give the entire package full marks. The design is aesthetically pleasing, as a magazine should be, and it does quite a few nifty things out of the box.
Review posted by daniel329 on at

Awesome Theme...

This is a very well designed theme... After testing a few themes.. this one looks really good.. its easy to use and very professional looking.. Chris themes are by far some of the best.. Thanks...

1.0 - 0.9.1

Review posted by yusufdebruijn on at

Viewport Menu Stuck

I activated this theme on a currently running site which is about 1 year old and once i activated it, the dropdown menus did not work. They show as if they are stuck on the open-state. Does anyone know how to fix this, otherwise an very nice theme.

Response by c5mix on at
Can you post a link to your site so I can take a look. Thanks.

1.0 - 0.9.1

Review posted by SkyBlueSofa on at

Nice theme and easy to use

This is a great theme. Right out of the box, it had much of the functionality that I was looking for.

As a web designer, I didn't want to start from scratch on a new site design. I was able to update this theme and make it my own very easily. I completely changed the feel of the site with a few updates to the font colors and backgrounds.

The site I was building wasn't a news site, but I loved the idea of built in article categories and this theme makes creating, displaying and integrating new categories quick and painless. I used the categories to create sections for my portfolio, blog and add ons that I've created.

It's the small things, like the included custom page attributes and author profiles that made me smile most: not a lot of programming to get the site to where I wanted it to be.

I definitely recommend this to someone looking for a new theme and I will recommend it to my clients, too.

Great work on a great theme.

1.0 - 0.9.1

Review posted by HOBOcs on at

Viewport Theme - We are really happy!!!

We created an online newsy web site for our local community using Chris's Viewport theme. We tested it for a couple of months primarily for my users (the ultimate editors) training.

The funcationality works great out of the box. It has been a big learning curve for my users not so much because of any site/theme issues, but because they needed basic training on C5 (editing) in general. Every thing was here that was required to get our online magazine up and running.

The site content will now be maintained by our users who are now amazed at the functionality and things they can do.

We received timely and patient support from Chris. We had a couple of support issues but nothing serious. A couple of tweaks here and their due to version issue.

Thanks Chris, your development and support of Viewport is much apprecated.

1.0 - 0.9.1

Review posted by banditetr on at

Perfect support and nice design

The support of c5mix is awesome I'm really thankful for all the help to get this dona as I will so I give for that 5 stars.

1. + The Design is very good and like "slate" mobile friendly
2. + the header menu is perfectly made for mobile devices and it is working on all devices and browsers
3. - you don't have so much customization options like in slate
4. It is a Design that is made for blog's or else (where are comments)
5. - You have to change a lot in the css files (in my case)

If you have a private modern site with a blog and you like black and grey colour in the header it is perfect for you. If you want to run a company or professional site take the other design from c5mix - slate or else

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