Review: Ultimatum WordPress Theme Builder
Ultimatum WordPress Theme Builder.
When I first started learning how to design websites, I used Adobe Dreamweaver to customize various themes I found on websites such as Templatemo and Template Monster. This method works decently fine, but there’s lack of customization and to make a template from the ground up is very time-consuming. After I discovered WordPress, I created a few websites with themes from Elegant Themes, but found that it is very hard to customize a WordPress template without advanced PHP knowledge. Also, most pre-built WordPress templates are geared towards blogs, so trying to make it work for a static website isn’t a walk in the park.
When I decided that I was finally done using static HTML and CSS files to create websites, I attempted to turn my website into a WordPress child theme of Twenty Eleven… It worked out alright, but it basically looked like Twenty Eleven with a custom header, background, and CSS edits. I pretty much accepted the fact that it was going to look like that until I saw an article about a theme building framework on Inspired Mag. The framework is called Ultimatum Theme and was on sale for $57, which is 54% off. After checking out the Ultimatum Demo Site and reading about some of its features, I went ahead and purchased it.
My first 24 hours with Ultimatum were quite rocky… The program installs like a theme inside of WordPress, but after it’s installed, displays nothing but a blank screen. After reviewing the support forums, this is called a “blank canvas” and is there to inspire creativity. I kind-of wish that they would at least include a starter theme to get beginners started, but it was no big deal. I started porting my HTML website over to WordPress using Ultimatum and got the homepage finished in about an hour. I was impressed with how easy it was to use, but I felt like they made it out to be easier than it actually is. As a web designer I found it simple, but you still need to know some web design terminology such as container, wrapper, padding, etc. It would also be helpful to have a semi-firm grasp of HTML and CSS before diving into Ultimatum, but for the most part, I didn’t write any PHP code, it was quick, and my website looked perfect.
The next morning when I went to work on my Ultimatum website, I was greeted by some flying cows telling me that my website had been suspended by FatCow (full story here). I posted a thread in the Ultimatum support forums and one of the developers replied quickly and worked with me to fix the problem. As it turned out, an image resizing plugin called TimThumb was causing the troubles and Xenous, the developer, promised to fix the problem and send out an update for everyone to install. As promised, an update arrived just a couple of days later that completely fixed the problems with TimThumb. I was really surprised that the developers were not only so active in the support forums, but quick to help Ultimatum users out with all of their problems.
After I got my website back online, it took me about 14 hours to finalize my website. I tried at least three different designs, but I wasn’t happy with any of them. As it turns out, when you have full control over what the website looks, feels, and performs like, it makes you want to make it perfect. After modeling my website after the Ultimatum Demo Site and adding a subtle background texture, I was happy. My website is now fully customized, exactly how I want it, and all done without writing more than 10 lines of code.
Even though my website turned out great, Ultimatum still can’t do everything. I would love to be able to export my themes as standard WordPress themes, but from a software standpoint, you would still need Ultimatum running on the back-end to ensure everything worked. I was also disappointed with the amount of documentation that they provided. I’m okay with the “blank canvas” method, but I feel that they should include some strong documentation on how to fully utilize the program. I found some instructional videos in the support forums, but they were too specific and didn’t give a broad lesson of how to use Ultimatum. If they could create an online manual that could teach users with no web design skills at all how to use the framework, it would be perfect.
All in all, Ultimatum is one of the best investments I have ever made. Not only does it make my websites look beautiful, but it saves me a lot of time creating and maintaining them. I will definitely be convincing my new web design clients to purchase their own copy of Ultimatum so I can make their sites look spectacular as well. If you are planning on purchasing the Ultimatum WordPress theme, please use my affiliate link below to help support OmegaWeb.com. Thanks for reading.