The RocketTheme development team has been hard at work getting Gantry 5 ready for prime time. After months of work by our small team, the Gantry 5 release candidate is now available on Github.
In late 2009, the open source Gantry framework was initially released to the public. Before Gantry, we found ourselves having to perform a lot of repetitive steps while creating new templates. A lot of our time was spent hand-coding the same features each month. We needed something simpler, and our solution was Gantry.
This framework would not only help us create powerful and flexible Joomla templates and WordPress themes, but also to empower a growing community of Joomla and WordPress developers that would benefit from using a framework that was easy to understand, yet powerful enough to meet the needs of their clients.
Fast-forward to 2015, and Gantry 5 is set to redefine what a theme can do.
A New Development Approach
Gantry 5 is a complete, ground-up rewrite of the Gantry framework. Taking advantage of the latest Web technologies, Gantry 5 is built for the needs of tomorrow's websites, today.
We wanted to create a framework that benefited from years of user feedback we received from Gantry 1-4. By opening up our development process to the community on Github, and creating a chat room where beta testers and Gantry users could communicate with our team directly, we were able to take Gantry 5 to a level that wouldn't have been possible before.
This is the first version of Gantry that is community driven, not just community inspired.
By shedding a lot of the weight that comes with maintaining backward compatibility through multiple major updates, we were able to create a slimmer, faster user experience. We added human-readable solutions such as YAML configuration and an all-new touch-friendly user interface. The Gantry 5 Administrator is simple to use with drag-and-drop functionality and no programming experience required.
A Better Way to Theme
It is easier than ever to create a unique, flexible theme with Gantry. Twig templating, YAML configuration, and integrated support for SCSS, LESS, and CSS are just a few of the ways Gantry 5 is set to make life easier for developers.
One major improvement is Gantry's cross-platform capability. Traditionally, if you wanted to make a template for Joomla and WordPress, you would have to build it for each platform, with a lot of specific steps required for each one. Gantry 5 eliminates a lot of that by being independent of the content management system. We expect Gantry 5 to not only work with Joomla and WordPress, but also other content management systems such as phpBB, Magento, and flat-file platforms such as Grav.
Full disclosure: Grav is also made by members of the RocketTheme development team.
On the design end, a brand new Layout Manager and Menu Editor gives you the power to quickly assemble and style your site exactly as you need it to. The Style administrative panel enables you to adjust the style of your site in seconds.
For your end users, the ability to create simple-to-use Particles will give them the freedom to update information on their site without ever having to open a text editor or risk breaking the site's code. Everything they need can be accessed from the administrator.
Gantry 5 is continually being developed, and will receive regular updates and additional features well beyond the 5.0.0 release. Our Development Roadmap is constantly being updated with new features and plans for upcoming releases.
The Gantry 5 Release Candidate is not a stable release, and users should expect frequent updates with bug fixes and feature additions leading up to 5.0.0.
Gantry 4 is not going anywhere, either. Because Gantry 5 is not backward compatible, our team is dedicated to maintaining support for Gantry 4 in parallel with Gantry 5 for the foreseeable future on both Joomla and WordPress.
Where to Get Help
A chat room has been set up using Gitter where you can go to talk about the project with developers, contributors, and other members of the community. This is the best place to go to get quick tips and discuss features with others.
Documentation is also available, and being continually added to as development progresses. Is something missing? You can contribute to the documentation through GitHub.