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Alex

Marketers Delight 5.0 Dev Notes

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Wasting no time after Marketers Delight 4.9.4, I am swiftly moving to the next initiative: MD Optins.

I have been dreaming this feature out single the release of MD4.9, which added the Integrations panel, and I am so excited to finally get a move on this project!

MD Optins will merge the old email forms and popups features as well as introduce enhanced email form functionality (checkbox consents, other form fields), a few new email service integrations, and a special new kind of optin form that will really make a difference in your conversion rates.

Just about every update since MD4.9.4 has been preparing us for this stage, and I expect to move very fast on the completion of this feature thanks to those updates.

My head is still two updates ahead, but MD Optins will add features to your website that will really make your email marketing far more effective.

Here's an early look at the reorganized admin panel. While much simpler, you will be able to perform amazing website actions from here. Understand that as MD gets simpler, your capabilities expand astronomically.

I will keep you updated here and am open to any feedback and questions throughout the development process.

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 6.12.42 PM.png

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- Alex
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A huge part of the new MD Optins system is to make sure creating popups is fast and easy. The Popups Designer is getting a total UI overhaul and a whole new rethinking of the popups creation process.

Instead of trying to build popup designs piece by piece you will be able to toggle through premade templates that all interact with the same text, image, and optin settings for a controlled and easier popup creation process.

Even creating custom popup templates from the Designer will be made easier, and adding your own custom popup templates from your child theme will be as easy as using a filter and writing HTML and CSS (keeping things simple!). I will be releasing MD Optins with a few nicely designed popup templates and then open the doors to showing you how to create some too, and plenty more will be added later down the road too.

You can see an early preview below for an idea of how the new Popups Designer will work. This doesn't show much, but hopefully gives you an idea of its flexibility in comparison to the current way:

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Making a little progress daily and I've decided that the best way to release MD Optins is to do it one update at a time. The revamped MD Popups is nearing completion and MD4.9.5 ships all kinds of other great improvements which I am excited to share!

MD Popups will ship with 6 custom templates and some very powerful custom template/HTML tools that will allow you to build your own if you wanted. Thanks to the new Popups system, I will be able to create a library of custom popup templates you will soon also be able to import into your sites to extend MD's awesome default popup templates.

Will show more soon, but here's an idea of one of the templates in action:

1651143227_ScreenShot2019-07-01at7_47_43PM.thumb.png.57f6137e110e86f7a6071c9a2fd73e9a.png

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- Alex
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Spent a few hours today restructuring the MD5.0 theme files to make different components more accessible and MD's internal libraries easier to navigate. Not only is clean file organization necessary for ease of development but it is imperative a theme as far reaching as Marketers Delight is structured properly so all of the aggressive features and enhancements coming in this version are sustainably built.

The new root file structure of MD5.0 will look like this:

498763647_ScreenShot2019-09-10at8_52_29PM.png.42cea09097491f937c60dbd7dc068dde.png

A few notes:

  1. The content folder has been renamed templates, and all of MD's template files will now live here. This will make finding all of the files eligible to be overwritten from your child theme easier. Don't worry—if your child theme has the content folder in it MD5.0 will still read those files.
  2. The css folder has been moved to the root as well and this will make finding different sections of MD's CSS templates easier too. In a nutshell, the style.css file in the root directory is generated from all of the template files in the css folder, which have been broken down into parts. For example, all of the CSS for buttons, columns, spacers, text formatting, menus, etc. all live in their own file. This makes finding specific blocks of CSS easier, and because these files are dynamic, we can use PHP to output dynamic settings which then print to the static CSS file. I will explain this CSS system more in depth as it is very cool, but I anticipate you will have a lot of fun with these template files!
    198648865_Image2019-09-10at9_00_14PM.png.c5b6f6f9a90c76077c5bd76cd7ff4848.png
  3. This was done in MD4.9.4, and the scripts.js file is also located in the root directory. It makes sense to be here and goes well with style.css, which holds all of your site's frontend CSS.

Apart from some serious internal rearrangements MD5.0's main features will be the Optin capabilities shown off here so far. The Popups feature is getting an overhaul and is becoming far more flexible and getting loads of new templates. Admittedly the first version of the new interface I came up with is pretty uninspiring (screenshot below), but I am happy to have made progress on a way more uplifting and easier to use interface. I am slightly embarrassed to show this screenshot off, but it will be great to compare it to the inspired design which I will tease here shortly. 😛

1147394598_ScreenShot2019-09-10at8_11_29PM.thumb.png.720688ac34d8b7acce8ee8c135f42e14.png

More updates coming soon! MD5.0 is going to be a massive hit!

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- Alex
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By the way, I fixed a permissions error on this forum that now allows you to reply to this thread. Any feedback or ideas are all welcome and encouraged since your voice here could shape how this tool works!


- Alex
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The MD5.0 lineup is looking like this:

  1. Totally revamped data system/options API — This cuts down the data MD saves to your site significantly and also offers new and easy developer tools for creating custom admin pages, settings, and other ways to extend the WordPress admin panel. This is the most exciting part of MD5.0 and opens the doors to the new features as well as exciting new capabilities like importable templates, settings, and the MD page builder.
  2. New Site Design panel — I am ditching the Customizer in MD5.0 and moving the site design options to the MD admin page. The Customizer technology is burdensome to build on top of and is too involved to offer a great live preview experience. it is also clear to me that WordPress itself is no longer taking the Customizer seriously anymore as they are developing Gutenberg, so I am moving the Site Design options to their own admin page where we will have more control and an easier time designing our sites than ever before!
  3. MD Optins — This is the star of the show, all backed by the new refinements mentioned above. MD optins will introduce a totally revamped Popups builder (still using the Customizer, but in a limited basis), Floating Bar call to actions, and a new feature called Corner Notes.

I have been working on this update feverishly and though still a few weeks away, I will be opening up an Alpha/Beta test program to anybody who is interested. MD5.0 is going to take us to the next level, hope you are getting excited. :)

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- Alex
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On 12/4/2019 at 10:48 AM, Alex said:

...opens the doors to the new features as well as exciting new capabilities like importable templates, settings, and the MD page builder.

Good stuff.

On 12/4/2019 at 10:48 AM, Alex said:

New Site Design panel — I am ditching the Customizer in MD5.0 and moving the site design options to the MD admin page. The Customizer technology is burdensome to build on top of and is too involved to offer a great live preview experience. it is also clear to me that WordPress itself is no longer taking the Customizer seriously anymore as they are developing Gutenberg, so I am moving the Site Design options to their own admin page where we will have more control and an easier time designing our sites than ever before!

I actually like the Customizer so with an improved live experience and more control coming w/MD5.0 is exciting news.

 


I consult, create products and brainstorm all day

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18 hours ago, Ray said:

I actually like the Customizer so with an improved live experience and more control coming w/MD5.0 is exciting news.

To clarify the "live preview design" will be no more and instead we will use a simple design panel. I realize the risk I am taking at upsetting people with this change, but I think it stands to delight all of us who experience weird inconsistencies with the current designer. Here is a glimpse of the design options ported and reorganized to the new panel:

1865298026_ScreenShot2019-12-12at2_57_43PM.thumb.png.5ce9c1d6ef152429d29ba4a0962e55a7.png

Color options opened:

114417293_ScreenShot2019-12-12at2_59_27PM.png.d5440b8dbc7b421fa9cc6874fc55476a.png

The goal here is to know what is required for your site's branding and choose the few main colors involved, then let MD's smarter than ever design system update colors and other design elements based off that one decision. Because I am spending so much time on the precision of these new controls, I am making a bold gamble that no live preview is needed and you can trust that these options will take care of everything for you live.

What is really great about the new Site Design panel is the Typography system, which has not only been refined to display more precise calculations but now shows default font sizes for desktop, tablet, and mobile right in the settings:

1314331539_ScreenShot2019-12-12at3_01_36PM.png.ddbc79190a6dbe7bb7b9f2d4c305b373.png

Just like the existing design system, all spacing, site widths, and headline fonts are calculated based on the Body font size and line height which allows your site to build itself proportionally and relieve you of coming up with your own arbitrary values. Of course you can go in and set custom font sizes and other attributes, but much has been done to make the defaults as best as possible.

I hope this gives you some ideas of what you will be working with. Like I said I took a risk but the new kinds of options and controls that can be added to our sites will make this transition worth it!

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- Alex
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39 minutes ago, Alex said:

...I realize the risk I am taking at upsetting people with this change...

ehhh. Change or die, right? Ha!

41 minutes ago, Alex said:

I hope this gives you some ideas of what you will be working with. Like I said I took a risk but the new kinds of options and controls that can be added to our sites will make this transition worth it!

This looks really good. Slick, simple, and intuitive -- exactly what I've come to expect from MD.

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Development is going well, these past two weeks I have averaged at least 4+ hours a day on MD5.0 (many days going over 9) and I am extremely relieved to have the most critical things left to do in a nice bulleted list on my whiteboard.

Taking a couple day break around Christmas (you will probably see me here more), and will take that refreshed energy to knock out the rest of those items. Due to how massive a rewrite of MD this has been, I am releasing MD5.0 after a public alpha and beta test stage.

Alpha will be a period where those of you who volunteer to test MD5.0 on blank sites can take it for a spin and find any bugs and send in usability improvements.

The Beta period will be for testing existing sites (you'll want to use a staging site for this) and running the updater script needed to port data from the old format to the incredibly improved format. I am confident that this updater will go smoothly and move any options around without losing your settings. There will be a few small exceptions, but nothing flicking a few switches won't fix.

The other big news of MD5.0 is that Page Leads will be formally deprecated and available as a Dropin. Because of what MD5.0 will now make possible with frontend site editing (coming around MD5.2 or 5.3), the Page Leads system will no longer be in the mix and replaced with an alternative far more powerful.

See the above posts for insights into MD Optins, the new Site Design panel, developer tools, and other enhancements coming to MD5.0. As I wrap up the hardcore development groundwork, I will be moving to the sexier "flashy" features that this now makes possible and start back up the newsletter and blog to start hyping this incredible new iteration of Marketers Delight.

Stay tuned. :)

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I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years and took some time for themselves. I took a bit of an extended vacation with family and friends I haven't seen in a while, and fortunately got much of the MD5.0 development I talked about in my last post completed. I am running some tedious tests on my own and will open the Alpha testing period shortly thereafter, shooing for the end of January if not sooner.

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MD5.0 is not just about huge new features, but refining the core of what makes a website authoritative. Take the new author box design, which isn't afraid to be more bold than its current design and list your links in a nice and subtle way.

Why make the author box stand out more? Not only is it important to craft a post that is highly informative and detailed, but to also add credibility. With just a few lines, a good head shot and links to your most important pages on the Internet, you can instantly back up your post with the new Author Box coming into MD5.0.1885931615_ScreenShot2020-01-14at10_54_05PM.thumb.png.82ce3554f76f9855288795a7a6fe62ff.png

 

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The revamped MD API is going to be one of the best custom fields and settings builder in WordPress, and the new Floating Bars and other MD Optins tools will be a testament to its power. With minimal effort, creating as many floating bars as you need with advanced settings will be a breeze. Can't wait to release Alpha!

377149048_ScreenShot2020-01-19at12_16_44PM.png.da0fe568b44652c12c7325313071e31f.png

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The first demo Floating Bars are coming out, and deploying these things around your site will be a breeze with the above admin controls! MD5.0 is about templates, so alternative templates will be available just as writing your own custom HTML templates is easy to plug into this system.

364223875_ScreenShot2020-01-22at7_37_24PM.thumb.png.e5a3c2f8900c1e9d4ab8b579cc5f3af7.png

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On 1/23/2020 at 2:38 AM, Alex said:

The first demo Floating Bars are coming out, and deploying these things around your site will be a breeze with the above admin controls! MD5.0 is about templates, so alternative templates will be available just as writing your own custom HTML templates is easy to plug into this system.

Looking great!

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