Over the past few weeks, the team has been working on something beyond themes. We thought developing a plugin would be just as challenging and we finally decided to set foot on it and see where it’d go. So today, we’re releasing our very first WordPress plugin, the Laboratory. If you’d now rather try the plugin right away and skip whatever there is down below, go check out the download link over at WordPress.org.
Basically, what we intend to do with Laboratory is to give some FREE extra features for the theme that you have bought from us, or any theme, really. Built to work with any WordPress theme, Laboratory is a set of modular WordPress extensions packed into one bundle. In this initial release, we’ve equipped Laboratory with several modules such as a custom CSS/HTML editor, a shortlink generator, a custom login page editor, a dynamic menu generator, a responsive slideshow generator, a tabs widget, and the Socialcast that integrates your site with social networks.
What we’re aiming with Laboratory is to give our valuable customers a better WordPress experience. Not only will Laboratory ensure total compatibility with all ColorLabs themes, from the past and the future, it will also spare you the hassle of installing too many ‘essential’ plugins from different authors that will potentially break your site.
Speaking of its features, all modules can be activated and deactivated straightforwardly, just like anything on WordPress. All the modules work independently so you can activate the ones you want to use and leave the others off. The custom CSS/HTML editor helps you with stylesheet and HTML tag editing. The shortlink generator integrates TinyURL and Bit.ly services to your WordPress site and assign a short URL for your posts, pages and other post type entries. The custom login page editor lets users change the WordPress logo and link in the login box shown when entering the admin page.
Frontend-wise, this first iteration of Laboratory comes with 3 modules that will help you achieve better content organization. Firstly, the dynamic menu generator that assigns different menus for different posts or pages. Secondly, the responsive slideshow generator that lets users easily add slideshows of images inside the content of posts/pages and onto the sidebar as a widget. Lastly, the tabs widget that adds a list of latest and popular posts and comments onto the sidebar.
One last feature of Laboratory that shouldn’t be missed is the Socialcast. It essentially integrates your site with popular social networks such as Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. With this module, you may display Instagram photos, Pinterest pins and Twitter tweets on your sidebar. You can also display your Instagram and Twitter profiles, if you want. All these work as sidebar widgets that can be configured independently.
We’re so excited to see where this is going in the near future. Our minds are spiced up with ideas and we’re really expecting your feedback. For now, go check out the download link over at WordPress.org. More screenshots after the break.