Dandelion theme – by ThemeForest

The Dandelion theme is another Portfolio theme released through Theme Forest and I can say at a first glance it really is quite impressive both in the features it offers as well as its overall appearance which should appeal to a vast audience from...

Review published: March 28, 2011 · by LeTune · 6 comments · Rate this theme

The Dandelion theme is another Portfolio theme released through Theme Forest and I can say at a first glance it really is quite impressive both in the features it offers as well as its overall appearance which should appeal to a vast audience from business, personal to even a corporate level.

Product Features and Benefits

For once I’m kind of stumped as to where to begin with this theme as it is packed with features and options that you can choose from which are going to benefit anyone who ends up using it. The slider on the homepage rotates images while at the same time providing a small line of text for each image if you want to have it describe what people are looking at. This could easily be used to rotate a graphic designer’s portfolio or a photographer’s recent body of work.

A feature that it offers that stands right out is the ability to change the colors of the background. There are actually thirty different pre-defined background colors you can choose from and thirty different patterns that you can apply to that background. You can tell instantly that this has not been created by an amateur and a lot of thought has been put into the development of the design and options.

Immediately below the slider you have the option of a three column layout which could be used to link to your most prominent areas in your site such as About, Work and Pricing. Below this is an area where it lists your recent posts, integrated twitter feed, RSS feed and photos from projects you may have worked on.

Functionality

This theme provides massive functionality. Beginning with what is most obvious is the nice jQuery menu drop down which is at the top of the theme. Then there are numerous jQuery options at your disposal like Tabs and Accordion sliders which you can use to present your content.

On the backend of the site the theme runs off its own admin panel called “ Pexeto Panel which is very professional looking and very simple to use through its click and change interface. Using the interface you can build custom skins, create unlimited sidebars and specific ones that only display on certain pages; all of which are widget enabled. You then have the flexible slider management and custom typography.  The panel sports a left side margin with the options of General, Page Settings, Slider Settings, Style Settings, Translation and Documentation. It’s probably one of the nicest theme option panels I have actually seen online today.

You then have the choice of four sliders; Accordian, thumbail, Nivo and static image which makes customizing any slider a cinch!

You can choose between a full width theme or the left and right sidebar layout.

When it comes to presenting your portfolio to the world it offers four different options which will keep you happy no matter how tricky you want to get in displaying your body of work.  You have showcase, gallery, and quick gallery where you can choose from full width, with sidebar, one, two and three column pages.

Compatibility and Code

I tested the theme in Internet explorer, Firefox, Opera and Chrome and found it functioned and appeared ok in all of them though I did notice in Opera a slight delay when you when over the menu areas at the top, though nothing that would prevent me from not using the theme.

I was able to establish it uses several plugins such as Wp-Navi and Wp-Syntax yet I cannot determine if these plugins are required for the theme to function.  Wp-Navi provides a more advanced paging to your site and Wp-syntax lets you place in pages and posts code.

I checked the theme to see how valid the XHTML and CSS and there was a total of 72 errors and 132 warnings, so definitely something is amiss there.

Performance Check

The theme loaded in all browsers reasonable fine with the dummy data yet it’s to be determined how it would load with different data in. I ran it through Google page speed tool and it showed a score of 72/100 which is kind of low for a theme if 75 is average.  Had it scored 100 it would have been classed as perfectly optimized. At the moment Google is very big on load speeds of websites so it was nice to see that they scored high.

3 Pros – Things that are great about the theme

  • Beautifully designed and easy to use
  • Packed with features and ways to customize it.
  • The backend Pexeto panel

3 Cons – Things which aren’t too good

  • Speed of loading through Google speed score ranker
  • The XHTML validation came back with way too many errors.
  • You have to purchase through Themeforest which means putting in more cash than the actual theme itself as theme forest requires a set amount.
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