There are multiple tools that help create website templates. Generally, these are text and graphic editors. TemplateToaster (current version 188.8.131.5295) is a unique software – a kind of a service for users willing to make profit, creating websites with unique design or sell templates separately.
To develop websites for certain CMS, you need to understand the specifics of template code structure and programming languages. It’s not a secret that templates of different systems are incompatible with each other. WordPress design cannot be applied in Joomla and vice versa. This means that being a good web designer only is not enough to create quality templates. You need to be aware of programming basics to do that successfully.
TemplateToaster is a program that allows creating templates for a certain CMS list without any coding: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Blogger, PrestaShop, Magento as well as templates with clean HTML-5 code. You will eventually get a platform, having explored which, you will be able to professionally design websites of any complexity level for the above listed CMS.
The major advantage of the program is that it offers correct responsive layout along with a powerful visual editor. In other words, you can use TemplateToaster instead of Photoshop and Sublime Text, creating technically correct and visually appealing templates on your own. How does this model manifest itself on practice? Let’s find that out now.
Ease of Use
TemplateToaster interface mostly resembles Microsoft Word in its structure and design. Yes, this template creation program is very similar to a complex text editor. The only difference is that you will be working on your website page template instead of a document like this one.
The complexity of app usage is defined by the time needed to get used to it rather than by its interface. You have to be patient to explore the application as there are many options here. They are sometimes repeated and look chaotic. Implication of some of them is not understandable right from the start. You’ll need to spend some time watching the tutorials, training and getting used to the editor.
The major problem about using TemplateToaster is a rich number of settings. This number should not be mixed with the complexity of program exploration. The interface is logical and well-structured. You have to be a web designer or a user willing to learn the basics of web design to use the system effectively. Obviously, the way you unlock the program’s potential doesn’t depend on the quality of the app.
This application will not work for everyone. Creative skills and experience are needed to use it. If a person cannot draw, then expensive paint brushes and the drawing easel won’t be helpful at all. TemplateToaster is a moderately complicated and convenient in its own way program. Newbies can also master its options, but this does not guarantee high template quality. Training and practicing will help compensate for the deficiency of talent or experience. It will take around 2-4 days to explore the technical features of the program.
Feature Set and Flexibility
TemplateToaster is the “Windows-only” app used to create responsive templates compatible with all the modern browsers that can pass W3C validation. The program supports drag-n-drop functionality, FTP and comes with WYSIWYG editor. It also has integrated graphic editor to crop images and change their sizes, color settings and other parameters. There is also a stock image gallery here as well as an opportunity to add the unlimited number of positions for modules/widgets. All these features make it possible to create technically complicated templates without coding and easily connect them to CMS.
Right after you launch the program, you will be offered to choose a platform you’ll need to create a template for: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Blogger, PrestaShop, Magento or HTML5. Popular eCommerce plugins are supported as well, including VirtueMart and WooCommerce. You can start creating your own design from scratch or by using one of ready made templates. By the way, you can use TemplateToaster as a website builder for HTML sites, such as landing pages, promo pages or resumes, for example. In other words, you can include all the text and graphic content into your template to publish it on hosting without CMS connection. This is how you will get quick and easy start.
Good template quality is also worth the attention. The number of templates is impressive and there is a preview option that allows seeing the demo-version of your template in the browser prior to making the final choice. All themes look modern and are filled with content. Such templates may be a good basis for newbies. You can start with editing ready made templates or copying the elements of other works and then proceed to DIY design concepts. You just need to get used to working in the program, master its functionality and try to learn to express your creativity.
Having chosen a ready made template or a blank canvas, you’ll be able to set up the color and font scheme of your future project. After the basic customization, you will be redirected to the program editor, which has visually complicated interface. Some options will differ depending upon the platform you’ll choose to create a template for. In case you decide to start from scratch, you’ll get a blank framework with specified block positions, font types, button styles, pagination and other standard elements.
TemplateToaster functionality is provided in 12 sections of settings. Each section contains settings for one of the website blocks or elements, namely header, footer, menu, sidebars etc. Basically, you’ll need to work with a module-based structure, which is very convenient. You won’t be confused when designing each block. What you need is to stick to the only design style, especially in terms of fonts and color scheme. Just make sure you use general template settings. They work well for all web pages by default. Some settings can be changed for various blocks, if needed.
Apart from the sections to work with template design, there is also a “File” menu, which is standard for the majority of Windows applications. This is where you can save your current project, create a new one, export files to the disk or via FTP, get help to work with the app, new updates and activate the license. In the “Preference” tab, you can set up your Proxy server address, select the language (there are 15 language localizations here), the spectrum of template width (ranging from 800 and up to 2000px by default), set up meta-data for your current template (title, description, keywords, template version, footer link and terms of its access) and copyright for it (author’s name, license, website).
As soon as you click any template area, the program will offer the section with options, which will help set it up. This is very convenient as you don’t have to memorize, where specific options are found (especially from the very beginning). All in all, there are 13 sections with options. Let’s review their structure with a short functionality description:
- “Body” includes basic website settings (background pattern or color, fixed or scroll) and an opportunity to add the “Back to top” button;
- “Page” provides the layout type selection (fixed or fluid), boundaries settings, offsets, web page width (for example, you can set 100%, if you wish the content to be fully displayed on a user’s monitor) as well as the background (texture, gradient, image or color, shade reflection).
- “Header” offers presets of header structure (12 variants), position choice (under the menu, above it, inside or without a header), background type, settings, offsets, boundaries, logo addition and overlay of other images against the background, addition of social network buttons (Facebook, Google +1, LinkedIn, Twitter) and RSS. You can also choose the available blocks (title, search box, text box and slogan) and add new text blocks.
- “Slideshow” allows adding slideshows to the chosen position, setting up the detailed effects, pagination, dimensions, background, image overlay etc.
- “Menu” makes it possible to create a menu (15 presets), select the positions, add submenu and set up the design of all the elements (backgrounds, colors, offsets, boundaries etc.)
- “Sidebar” allows adding sidebars (there are 5 available layouts here), setting up their design and height (100% height or equal to content).
- “Widgets” offers an opportunity to set up the design of widget containers (8 presets): color, shape, shades, text, fonts, icons, effects etc.
- “Content” allows setting up styles for the content web page part (16 presets). Just like in other scenarios, you can manually set up all the elements, starting with the background and up to the block shades.
- “Widget Areas” provides template subdivision into content blocks. You can create a structure of any complexity level, which resembles the process of creating a chart with any number of lines and columns. You can select a manual mode and set up all the block dimensions with a mouse or the sizes in pixels for the selected blocks by using detailed settings. Offsets, backgrounds, boundaries, block shades – all these elements can be set up randomly, if needed.
- “Elements” offers the set up of styles of small website elements, such as button, pagination, breadcrumb, label, alert, badges, line, checkbox, radio button. You can choose presets for all these elements or set them up manually, following the similar scheme in other sections (background, typography, offsets etc.).
- “Footer” allows setting up website footer. These settings are identical to those of a header and include 12 presets, layout, the choice of active elements and their styles (copyright, titles, links, social network buttons), addition of your own text zones.
- “Responsive Layout” makes it possible to preview the template in all the available screen resolutions and orientations (mobile, tab, minitab, desktop). You can also manually deactivate the responsive layout or set a fixed website width and height.
TemplateToaster looks a well-organized program under the detailed review. You will basically use the same settings, when working with various template blocks. You just need to use them properly and imagine the result you’ll get after you make the changes. We have described the sections of options on the example of creating a template for Magento. Template design and the set of options will somewhat differ, when you select any other CMS.
The functionality of the program is above the average. The most obvious advantages are as follows:
- Opportunity to adapt website design to several popular CMS. One and the same template can work well for all the supported systems.
- Correspondence of code to W3C requirements. This has positive effect upon the web page load speed and is one of multiple factors of search engine optimization.
- Responsive template design. Just tick the box and websites with your templates will have decent look on all the devices.
- Integrated FTP, which allows uploading template files to the hosting or exporting them to the local folder, where it is more convenient to learn/edit the code manually.
- You can use TemplateToaster as a website builder for HTML5 websites. This is not a designated use of a program, but it can be used for simple projects that do not require further editing. This is a kind of a small life hack, allowing to upload the entire content to the template. We don’t recommend overloading CMS templates with extra content.
- Nice quality of integrated templates. You can improve your knowledge with their help and use the themes for your project by making small edits.
- No coding needed.
TemplateToaster looks pretty nice from the technical point of view. It is moderately complicated and rather convenient. Template builder will help those users, who wish to speed up the development of unique designs for their client websites. It doesn’t make any sense to master the app to create 1-2 templates only. It is cheaper to buy ready made designs, saving your time. It makes sense to master the program for those users, who have already been involved in web design before. To get the most out of the program, you’ll need to be aware of the program features and to know how to use them properly. Taste, experience or talent are a must here.
There is a “Help” tab in the “File” section, where you will get access to the tech support of a program and links to tutorials on a free CMS. In the right upper corner of the app interface there is a question mark in a blue circle. Having clicked it, you’ll get access to the exhaustive and quality system manual. Each menu point and its designation is described there as well as a guide on working with software from the moment of its installation.
Apart from that, you can get to the community forum, documents and tech support directly from the TemplateToaster “Help” section. There is also a blog containing news, recommendations, guides and other useful things. Video tutorials, links to the groups in popular social networks are also available there. Generally, the application provides users with quality informational and technical support.
You can download TemplateToaster from the official website for free. The program has the unlimited trial version, which will make it possible to explore it in details before the purchase. You can create as many templates as you need, but you won’t be able to install them on CMS the program supports. There are two paid license versions here:
- Standard Edition ($49) offers support of all the available CMS, free updates for one year, tech support, Bootstrap Framework, a set of ready made templates.
- Professional Edition ($149) provides an opportunity to create a website from scratch, remove _ttr CSS prefix, FTP Option, use custom images in the template, element level bookmarking, custom module-Positions/Widget-Areas/Regions Design and other options.
Obviously, only the Pro version will offer a web designer all the required features. Standard Edition contains too many serious restrictions and it doesn’t make any sense to get it. To buy a program, you need to register at the website, get access to your private account and use one of multiple payment methods (Paypal, Credit Cards, Alipay, Bank Transfer, Fax, Sofortbanking, Giropay, Carte Bleue, iDEAL & many more). Right after the license payment, you’ll get a key in your private account, which has to be entered in the program activation window. You’ll be able to use the functionality of the activated version for the unlimited period of time as this is the one-time payment.
TemplateToaster is a template builder with the WYSIWYG editor. It supports several popular free CMS. Fixed license cost makes the app a more beneficial purchase for web developers. You can create the unlimited number of templates and sell them separately or make the design of your client websites unique.
The program is moderately complicated. It will work well for newbies and professionals. To get the most out of it, you have to be a web designer. You may not have enough experience, but you should certainly possess designer skills to work with the app. This will affect the efficacy of using TemplateToaster.
Absence of the Mac version is one of the drawbacks of the system. As to the benefits, affordability, Bootstrap 3 support and convenient app format should be initially mentioned. TemplateToaster will seem complicated for an average user. It’s more convenient for the majority of people to use cloud website builders. Web developers, on the contrary, will like this application, which may eventually bring them notable commercial benefit.