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Author Topic: Vertex/Shape5 vs. Gantry/Rockettheme- needing a little nudge to decide- thoughts  (Read 51537 times)
brandall
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« on: December 26, 2013, 10:12:10 AM »

I'm looking for a framework and theme collection to use as a basis for my own sites, and ultimately, for client sites. I've done a lot of reading, but there aren't a whole lot of direct comparisons out there between the two frameworks and memberships listed in the title.

I've installed both Vertex and Gantry, and I like what I see with Vertex more. But I've subscribed to Rockettheme in the past, and I like what they offer as well. So I'm having a hard time deciding. The overall style of the themes are quite different, and I wish I could afford both, but I can't.

With the Christmas sale right now, Shape5 is mighty tempting. Since the Vertex framework seems to be more fully featured, I'm leaning towards Shape5. But I'm hoping somebody can just give me a little nudge. A reason to buy that I may not have thought of or seen yet. Something that maybe I wouldn't see unless I was a paid member.

I've even done load time comparisons with the base themes. The times are approximately the same, though it looks like the base Gantry may use slightly fewer HTTP requests(without any optimization outside of a stock installation of both). But the load times are almost identical, with maybe a slight edge going to Vertex.

So any thoughts? Anyone who has extensively used both frameworks in production environments and want to tell me why you chose Shape5? What kind of success is everyone having in terms of SEO and validation? How easy is it to morph Vertex and the Shape5 themes into something more custom? Really, any thoughts are welcome!

Thanks!

Brent
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mikek
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2013, 02:04:59 PM »

Hello,

We're glad to hear you are considering a switch! You're right, most of the top frameworks do have a lot of the same features. It sounds like you are pretty familiar with the features we both offer already, so here's a couple of other things to consider that I wouldn't call features necessarily:

1. Probably one of the biggest things is that we have completely converted all of our products to work on jquery. Currently Joomla 3.X supports both mootools and jquery, but mootools will be dropped soon. We saw this a while back and completed our conversion over a year ago. I cant say for sure, but I believe RT still heavily uses mootools as well as many other clubs.

2. You mentioned http requests above, that's because we split our css and js files out into single files. ie: there's a css file for info slide, multibox, tooltips, etc. That's because you can turn each of these features off in the Vertex admin. By giving the ability to turn them off that means there is a lot less css and javascript to download overall. Many other clubs simply combine css into large files, meaning the css gets downloaded even if you aren't using the features. So our method does have a few more http requests, but only if you have everything turned in in Vertex, by turning off what you don't want there is far less to download in the end, and that's really what matters. On top of that you can turn js and css compression on as well.

3. Consider the club itself as well. We're a smaller team than what RT has, and that may sound like a negative, but it helps us get problems solved much faster because support moderators can work directly with developers to get issues resolved quickly. In fact the template itself is supported by the actual developer of the template in our support forums for at least the first two months after release. That means if there are bugs in any templates they are caught almost immediately because the developer is both developing and supporting the product. Our products go through a very rigorous testing phase before release, but bugs do slip through sometimes in the first month or two; after that it's pretty rare.


Those are the three main things I can think of. I am sure there are others that I'm missing, but I hope that helps!
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Mike Knott
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Shape 5 Team

- Need a great host for your website? We highly recommend siteground.com!


- Put your trust in the hands of our extremely qualified staff to get your job done right!


- Firebug is the most powerful web development and debugging tool, and it will save you a lot of time, frustration and forum questions:
Install Firebug
brandall
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2013, 04:54:36 PM »

Hello,

We're glad to hear you are considering a switch! You're right, most of the top frameworks do have a lot of the same features. It sounds like you are pretty familiar with the features we both offer already, so here's a couple of other things to consider that I wouldn't call features necessarily:

1. Probably one of the biggest things is that we have completely converted all of our products to work on jquery. Currently Joomla 3.X supports both mootools and jquery, but mootools will be dropped soon. We saw this a while back and completed our conversion over a year ago. I cant say for sure, but I believe RT still heavily uses mootools as well as many other clubs.

2. You mentioned http requests above, that's because we split our css and js files out into single files. ie: there's a css file for info slide, multibox, tooltips, etc. That's because you can turn each of these features off in the Vertex admin. By giving the ability to turn them off that means there is a lot less css and javascript to download overall. Many other clubs simply combine css into large files, meaning the css gets downloaded even if you aren't using the features. So our method does have a few more http requests, but only if you have everything turned in in Vertex, by turning off what you don't want there is far less to download in the end, and that's really what matters. On top of that you can turn js and css compression on as well.

3. Consider the club itself as well. We're a smaller team than what RT has, and that may sound like a negative, but it helps us get problems solved much faster because support moderators can work directly with developers to get issues resolved quickly. In fact the template itself is supported by the actual developer of the template in our support forums for at least the first two months after release. That means if there are bugs in any templates they are caught almost immediately because the developer is both developing and supporting the product. Our products go through a very rigorous testing phase before release, but bugs do slip through sometimes in the first month or two; after that it's pretty rare.


Those are the three main things I can think of. I am sure there are others that I'm missing, but I hope that helps!
Hey Mike! Thanks for the thoughts. They do indeed help me in the decision. I do have one other question, which I'll ask after a few thoughts.

I'll be honest, it took me a bit to be convinced that there was a better option than RT. And don't get me wrong, they have some excellent stuff and have improved immensely. But their framework, while flexible, doesn't currently hold a candle to what Vertex offers. Vertex has more module positions, more layout options, more flexible customization of backgrounds, colors, turning things on and off, etc.

I hadn't gone TOO deep into Vertex yet, so the stuff about turning off each part that you don't use is good to know. I do know that overall, Vertex is more complete as a framework. And the fact that we currently offer services for both Joomla and Wordpress, I like that it's for both(which was a draw for RT as well).

I think the addition of the font options, the better menu system, and the jquery support, I don't think there is a question. It's a tough thing to switch anything you're accustomed to, but I think a switch is coming!

My one hangup is the usage of the templates. I noticed after reading that you can't use templates on a client site without the developer membership. With RT, there is no such restriction. Of course, the VALUE of what you get is outstanding, so don't get me wrong, and I get why it is that way. But as I'm just starting my freelance work back up and doing a few "portfolio" sites at low cost, money is a little tighter. So I may have to use the templates for my own site, and hopefully move up later and not use the Shape5 sites for my freelance work for now.

Am I missing something on the restrictions, or does that sound correct? Can I use the base Vertex theme for client sites, or is that restricted as well? Not a deal breaker, but just not ideal.

I appreciate your help! Thanks!

Brent
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mikek
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2013, 07:27:52 AM »

Hello,

If you would be using the templates on client websites a developer membership is required. One developer membership would cover all of your clients' sites. The only way around the developer cost is to purchase individual plans for each client site and that membership then belongs to that client. If you do two more sites though it's much easier to just signup for a single developer membership, so you don't have to keep track of licensing for each site.

Using one of the standard memberships on multiple client sites is a violation of our terms. That would be taking one license and applying it to multiple site owners, essentially sharing the license between sites. The developer membership will allow you to do this, not a standard membership.

RT has the same membership, but at $50 more than us. Actually if you read their terms of service theirs is more restrictive, by requiring members to renew their membership every time you use a template on a client's site if it's expired, even if you downloaded it during your membership. We simply a requirement a renewal for any new products, anything you download during your membership can be used without renewal with us.
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Mike Knott
------------
Shape 5 Team

- Need a great host for your website? We highly recommend siteground.com!


- Put your trust in the hands of our extremely qualified staff to get your job done right!


- Firebug is the most powerful web development and debugging tool, and it will save you a lot of time, frustration and forum questions:
Install Firebug
brandall
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2013, 10:07:08 AM »

Hello,

If you would be using the templates on client websites a developer membership is required. One developer membership would cover all of your clients' sites. The only way around the developer cost is to purchase individual plans for each client site and that membership then belongs to that client. If you do two more sites though it's much easier to just signup for a single developer membership, so you don't have to keep track of licensing for each site.

Using one of the standard memberships on multiple client sites is a violation of our terms. That would be taking one license and applying it to multiple site owners, essentially sharing the license between sites. The developer membership will allow you to do this, not a standard membership.

RT has the same membership, but at $50 more than us. Actually if you read their terms of service theirs is more restrictive, by requiring members to renew their membership every time you use a template on a client's site if it's expired, even if you downloaded it during your membership. We simply a requirement a renewal for any new products, anything you download during your membership can be used without renewal with us.
Hey Mike, thanks.

Please don't misunderstand me, I don't have any intentions of breaking the license agreement or anything. The only sites I currently NEED the templates for are my own sites. I was just thinking of future plans. I did mention "portfolio building" sites, as my original plan was to do a few more sites at a lower cost to pad my portfolio a bit more(not all Joomla/Wordpress sites, but just in general). I just won't use these templates on those sites yet.

So when I saw the restriction, it just gave me a little pause. Not enough to stop me from subscribing, but just making sure exactly what I want to do. I definitely plan on following any license terms! So please understand that my post was just me thinking through it all and being absolutely sure of what I can, and can't do, and how I plan to move forward.

I'm assuming I can upgrade easily to the developer membership once I need it? I would make enough on the first client that it's all a moot point. But I'm trying to start from scratch and can't justify the cost of the developer membership quite yet.

I will say that one draw for Shape5 vs. RT is the pricing of it's top membership. I did see that it was cheaper here.  I couldn't find any restrictions in their TOS or anywhere, though I might have missed it. I do know you can continue to use their entitlements after your membership expires. But as my ultimate goal is to upgrade no matter who I choose, the lower price is a good thing for sure.

I appreciate your help, and it's pretty much a done deal that I will subscribe. Just sorting a few things out, and I'll be taking advantage of the Christmas promotion!

And let me say that the more I look, the more I love your templates and the framework. While I do like what RT does artistically, their focus on heavy "glossy" websites and over the top effects is the one thing that makes them difficult to use. Your designs are more traditional, but very very classy and fleshed out. So though it's taken a couple of weeks, I'm sold!

Cheers!

Brent
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mikek
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2013, 07:31:05 PM »

Hello,

I can't say for sure what RT's policy is on this, they would have to answer that. Their terminology seems to be a little fuzzy because their terms specifically mention clients sites under #3. Again, that's really a question for them. As for Shape5, the two options for clients are what I mentioned above. If you everything you are building is for your own sites at this point then there's no need for the developer membership at this point, any of the standard memberships will be fine. You just have to pick the correct one based on how many domains you will be installing templates on. Yes, you can upgrade to a developer membership at a later date.
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Mike Knott
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Shape 5 Team

- Need a great host for your website? We highly recommend siteground.com!


- Put your trust in the hands of our extremely qualified staff to get your job done right!


- Firebug is the most powerful web development and debugging tool, and it will save you a lot of time, frustration and forum questions:
Install Firebug
brandall
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2013, 09:23:40 AM »

Hello,

I can't say for sure what RT's policy is on this, they would have to answer that. Their terminology seems to be a little fuzzy because their terms specifically mention clients sites under #3. Again, that's really a question for them. As for Shape5, the two options for clients are what I mentioned above. If you everything you are building is for your own sites at this point then there's no need for the developer membership at this point, any of the standard memberships will be fine. You just have to pick the correct one based on how many domains you will be installing templates on. Yes, you can upgrade to a developer membership at a later date.
Thanks Mike. Sorry to focus so much on RT. The comparison isn't really that relevant in the end as much as the frameworks themselves and the themes, which I'm preferring the Shape5 options for.

I'll probably just start with the year membership for 3 sites as it would cover my current needs perfectly. And once I get a client needing a site that would need the framework, I'll use their up front fees to upgrade to a developer membership.

I appreciate your help, and look forward to seeing what all you add over the coming months!

Brent
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mikenicoll
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2013, 08:07:11 PM »

Hello Brent,

Looking forward to having you as part of the community!

Be sure to take advantage of our 25% off sale before it expires since promotions like this don't come very often.

-Mike
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Mike Nicoll
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Shape 5 Team

- Need a great host for your website? We highly recommend siteground.com!


- Put your trust in the hands of our extremely qualified staff to get your job done right!


- Firebug is the most powerful web development and debugging tool, and it will save you a lot of time, frustration and forum questions:
Install Firebug
brandall
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2013, 11:16:44 PM »

Hello Brent,

Looking forward to having you as part of the community!

Be sure to take advantage of our 25% off sale before it expires since promotions like this don't come very often.

-Mike
Thank you Mike! I definitely will take advantage of it.

I do have one question regarding the promotion. Does it end at the beginning of the 1st? Or does it go THROUGH the 1st? I only ask for tax purposes as it affects which year I put the membership on.

Be assured that I WILL be subscribing. I've just been busy with family in town and haven't gotten around to it. I'm highly impressed with what is on offer. Also still deciding between Joomla and Wordpress, since I work with both(probably go with Joomla since more templates are available, and the new ones look spectacular). But those are just logistics. You've officially pulled me away from Rockettheme!

I look forward to seeing everything that will be coming, and also upgrading to a developer membership hopefully sooner than later. Thanks for all the help guys!

Brent
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mikek
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 08:12:47 AM »

Hello,

Glad to have you on board. The sale will end at the end of the day on the 1st, not at the beginning; so the full day.
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Mike Knott
------------
Shape 5 Team

- Need a great host for your website? We highly recommend siteground.com!


- Put your trust in the hands of our extremely qualified staff to get your job done right!


- Firebug is the most powerful web development and debugging tool, and it will save you a lot of time, frustration and forum questions:
Install Firebug
brandall
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2013, 09:33:28 AM »

Hello,

Glad to have you on board. The sale will end at the end of the day on the 1st, not at the beginning; so the full day.
Excellent! Thanks Mike!

Looking forward to everything!

Brent
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