I have read a lot about the PSD to WordPress services whereby web designers design Photoshop layouts, generate styles and then hand code WordPress themes in PHP. I had also seen some automation tools to generate code out of design but hadn’t really seen a complete theme generation tool with Photoshop until today.
Today, I got to know about this amazing Adobe Photoshop plugin called Divine Elemente which is a super cool product using which even a dummy can create a WordPress theme from within Photoshop. And mind you, the basic theme generation requires absolutely no coding and even better, the generated theme is SEO optimized, XHTML compliant and extremely simple code to understand as well. Now let us see how easy WordPress theme generation can get (By the way, this is NOT a paid post)
Photoshop to WordPress Theme Software
The following screen shot (Click on the image to enlarge) gives you an idea about how the Elemente plugin, launched from Photoshop, looks like.
Basically, the default blog template that comes with the plugin provide all elements – header, footer, logo, sub elements, links, social bookmarks, copyright, slide shows you name it – that you need to build a WordPress theme. All that you need to do is to reorganize, select or deselect them as you need. Of course you could add your own images, change font sizes and typography the way you want. Once you are happy with the layout and styles you can either do an HTML preview or publish the WordPress theme into a generation folder. In this folder, you will see your complete theme files generated by the plugin. You could further change your theme styles and/or add more code as you desire. And there’s an FTP option to directly deploy the theme to your hosting service.
Installation and system issues
Though it’s a great concept, I found the beta product to be a bit difficult to install on 64-bit OS. Basically, the plugin supports only 32-bit versions of Adobe Photoshop and by default PS on Windows 7 will be 64 bit. Now, if you try to install Divine Element on top of this, it wouldn’t recognize Photoshop 32-bit and to work around this, you may locate Photoshop.exe file in Windows Explorer and change its compatibility mode to Windows XP (using right click context menu, Properties -> Compatibility tab). Now, you can download Divine Elemente Beta and install.
Sometimes, even the 30-day trial version will ask you to Activate the product. This is another bug and you can work around that by deleting the License.dat file found in the ProgramData/Divine Elemente folder.
Improvement areas based on my experiments
It’s still in Beta stage and anybody can guess why. There are a number of things they have to improve drastically to make it a production quality software.
Usability: Web design tools and editors need to have a lot of drag drop, Wysiwyg mode of visualizing the final out come. They have done a decent job, but not the best work yet.
Performance: Even on a 4GB, High end multi-core machine, the editor dragged. Not sure if it’s any issue with Adobe Photoshop’s plugin model performance issues.
Documentation: Though they have provided a 200 page PDF documentation, it is still not organized and lacks language quality. It’s not easy to figure out where to do what.
I managed to develop a very basic theme using the stock template and it actually worked. In reality though, in order to produce a premium quality theme, one needs to do a bit more work after code generation, I would think.
Let me know what you think about this product, if you happened to try it out. Anyhow, the idea sounds cool.
Happy theme development!