The wait is finally over: you can now download Headway 3.
If you’re an existing Headway customer, simply log into your member dashboard and you’ll see the download link.
What’s the deal with Headway 3?
Well, it’s been completely redesigned (as has the website, so be sure to visit us if you’re seeing this in a reader or email). Entirely new code base written from the ground up. This was necessary to accomplish what we wanted to do with Headway: it’s faster (much faster) and it does more than ever. And it STILL does it without requiring you to write a bunch of code or have a degree in computer science. Let’s go over the improvements.
Separation of Management, Layout and Visual Styling
While the Visual Editor did a lot in Headway 2, it could be a little confusing because it was trying to do everything, including things that weren’t really… visual so much as structural or administrative. In Headway 3, you now have three cleanly separated functional areas: Management, Grid and Design. Grouping controls by their major function makes more sense, but to do it the interface had to be redesigned. Especially now that there’s an entirely new way to create your website page designs!
Game-Changing Feature: The Headway Layout Grid
Headway’s always been about working on your design visually. Headway was the first visual drag and drop commercial theme framework for WordPress. The Visual Editor changed the game by letting you design live right on the page. No more “let’s check a bunch of options sight unseen and hope it looks good” like other themes. The Visual Editor is still there, but in Headway 3 we’re introducing a whole new way to create the page layouts: the Headway Layout Grid.
The Layout Grid lets you DRAW your website, just by clicking and dragging. You draw a Block (yeah, they’re Blocks now, not “Leafs” anymore—and you’re so welcome!) and then choose what kind of Block you want it to be. If you change your mind you can change the Block type. No need to delete and redraw the Block. Blocks can be dragged around and resized. Each Block has options you can set such as content filters or to give it a custom CSS class.
Your Website, Your Way
What this means for you is that now, more than ever, you can create your website, your way. You can easily tell when websites are built using some of the other theme frameworks out there, because unless you’re a master at CSS your site will look similar to other sites which also use the theme. But with Headway, you have so much control over everything that the only way anyone can tell it’s powered by Headway is from the footer link or by checking the page source code.
It’s safe to say that at this point, Headway isn’t even a theme anymore: it’s a full-blown website design tool.
The Visual Editor, Reloaded
One of the problems in the previous visual editor of Headway 2 was that what you could change wasn’t the same for all the various elements on a web page. And what you could or couldn’t change seemed arbitrary. For example, why should you have the ability to give one text element small caps but not another?
So in Headway 3, Clay Griffiths created something ingenious and yet simple in how it works. The visual editor contains a layered “drill-down” system to getting to any little element on the page and doing anything you want to it.
Another improvement you’ll be very happy about is you can now do much, much more before you even have to think about writing custom CSS. Everything can have rounded corners, now. Any piece of text or any box can have drop shadows, and all without writing code! Many more elements can now have images uploaded to be the background.
There’s more I could say but this post will already be crazy-long, so I’ll just mention one more thing about the Visual Editor: the list of fonts and font sizes you can pick from is now HUGE. Like, at least three times as many fonts and font sizes as previous.
Developer Madness - HEADWAY BLOCKS API and more
I’m gonna talk about developer stuff here for just a moment, so if you’re not a developer/designer, feel free to skip to the next section.
As much as we love to tout how friendly Headway is for non-developers and everything is drag and drop, the truth is all this “easy” stuff is good for developers, too—as long as it creates fast, clean code. Everybody loves saving time and getting more done in less time. Imagine being able to pull off incredible designs in record time for your clients. After all, that’s the reason why Headway was created in the first place! And Headway 3 has some great developer features.
- Syntax color-coding in the Live CSS Editor - In addition to the style.css file in Headway, which you can edit and FTP back up to your server, Headway has a Live CSS editor. Any custom CSS you type in updates the page immediately, live, right in front of your eyes.
- Blocks API - This is kind of a big deal and something no other theme can even come close to touching. You can use the Blocks API to create custom Block types. If you have a particular type of content that needs to appear in many places on a site, and using the existing Blocks repeatedly would involve a lot of redundant effort or you simply have special content you need to pull up and display, you can use the Blocks API. Even better? You can actually sell your custom Blocks in the Headway Members Marketplace. Think of all the various industries out there that might need custom block types: real estate, medical, ecommerce… the potential is huge.
- Easy Hooks - Easy Hooks aren’t just for developers (you catch that, any of you non-developers who’re still reading this?). But they’re especially handy for you. Just open the list, choose the place for your code, and then type or paste it in. That code will appear or run on every page where the hook appears. It’s still WordPress hooks, just… easier.
- Child Themes - Because of Headway’s Grid Layout System, you can create child themes that let users customize its blocks more extensively than any other parent/child theme framework out there. And just like the custom Blocks, you can sell your child themes in the Headway Member Marketplace (well, you don’t have to sell them if you’d rather give them away, but it’s up to you).
Headway 3 does child themes in a big way. We’ll be developing our own child themes and making them available to Headway customers, but we’ve also partnered with other theme developers to port their popular themes over to Headway as child themes. Now you don’t have to choose between Headway or that nifty video blog theme you saw on Press75. Now you can have that theme as a Headway child theme. We’ve partnered with Press75, Allure and Organic to bring you some excellent child themes for Headway.
Even better is that for some of them, you’ll be able to customize them more extensively than any other parent/child theme framework out there could. This is because of Headway’s Grid Layout System and Visual Editor. Some of the same cool moves you can make when building your own site can be done with a Headway child theme.
Make Headway Today
Log into your member dashboard to download Headway 3 (because it’s completely redesigned, there is no clean upgrade path from Headway 2 just yet—we’re working on it) or if you’re not yet a Headway customer, head on over to the main page to get started.