Putting Swift in Legacy Status & Launching a new Framework, #Helium

I got into WordPress theme development in July 2009. Swift is the first WordPress theme I developed, and till about two months back it is the only theme I developed except for a couple of child themes for Swift. Back in 2009, there was no responsive design and WordPress was mostly used for blogging than a CMS. Even two years after the first iPhone was released and a year after the first Android phone was released, mobile traffic was barely 10%.

Fast forward to present, businesses and business owners are increasingly preferring WordPress over Drupal or Joomla as CMS and more than 50% of traffic now comes from mobile.

When Swift was developed without these two things in picture, especially the responsive factor, it made sense to do everything in a single theme. If I have to go back to 2011 and do Swift all over again, I would probably take the same approach again, but my mistake is when I re did Swift in the first quarter 2014 I did not fully take into account the growing popularity of WordPress as CMS and and increasing visitors on mobile. It was ok for that time but made further development hard and cumbersome, to add a new feature I had to think of several things as everything was very closely coupled.

After the update to Swift in 2014, I started working on some new ideas outside of WordPress for almost a year. Then got back to WordPress and started working parallely on a “Location based social network”, which is now called NYBR. The idea was very exiting and the work on NYBR turned fulltime.

First Full Time Job & Our First Born 🙂

Me & Riya Maanvi

I started working on SwiftThemes while I was still in college, and launched the premium version of Swift right after graduation. I never felt the need to take a job, or I was lazy to apply for one, and that did not matter as SwiftThems and my blogs were doing well, thanks to you all lovely Swiftlers 🙂

In mid 2015, while I was working on NYBR, a senior from college posted on our alumni group about a requiremnt for frontend developer. I said I’m interested, I wasn’t serious at that time, it was late in the night and I was bored, something like drunk talking, I wasn’t drunk though. I gave the interview in August, and 3 Months later, I got the offer.

Now, I had to think about it seriously. I always wondered, what I was missing by not taking a job and I wanted to find out, plus it was a good team to work with. So, I took the job.

Though this was a huge corporate company, the department I was working for was pretty new and was like a startup. We had to work like a hackathon for almost a month to roll out the first version of the product. It was hectic but super fun, enjoyed every moment of it.

A month after taking the first job, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl and she kept me pretty much busy. She is 15 months old now.

Things learnt at first Job

  • Learnt to ship early than waiting for the perfect time.
  • Learnt AngularJS.
  • Understood the power of SASS.
  • Got better at JavaScript & using web develper tools better.
  • Learnt how hard it is to find smart people, interviewed 30+ people for a single position.
  • I used to think money is the motivation to work at these jobs, I was wrong. It has more to do with doing interesting and meaningful work.

Since the product was heavily dependent on me, the first 3-4 months were very hectic (but fun) leaving me no time to touch Swift.

Things learnt while developing NYBR

  • Meteor JS framework.
  • Got to know about some helpful CSS selectors and how they make things easy.
  • How CSS rules affect performance on mobile devices to improve scroll and animations performance.
  • To better delegate tasks between JS and CSS. Earlier I used to depend only on CSS.

Why I’m moving Swift to legacy mode

Once things settled of, I wanted to get back to working on Swift, but it was too far behind what other themes had to offer in terms of features. Working further on something that wasn’t built to handle the future needs did not make sense. I thought of getting back in the game with a new product for WordPress, A Progressive WordPress theme that will make you site look like a native webapp. This seemed the ideal choice, since

  • There was no such thing in the market for WordPress.
  • WordPress made REST API support official.
  • Experience I gained in angular and JavaScript at the new job.
  • Experience building the NYBR mobile app.

You can check the demo here, I tried it on few of my sites with error logging enabled. I’m working on fixing the issues I found in real world usage, it should be out soon.

Reason for stopping swift themes development

  • It wasn’t build with the present day requirements in mind.
  • To provide better support to those who want to use WordPress as CMS
  • Mobile usage has increased a lot.
  • WordPress customiser came in, and it’s very easy to use and develop for.
  • One theme fits all doesn’t work today.
  • We no longer have to worry about the dreaded IE 6,7,8

What now?

I’m almost done developing a new theme framework called Helium, that builds upon the awesome work of Justin Tadlock of theme hybrid. You can check the demo at

There are still few rough edges, will fix them and share the beta soon. After the stable release, there will be different themes for different niches. This will make development easy, and also helps us keep the themes very lean without much effort.

One thing majorly different this time is, our themes won’t try to do everything and leave the plugin related features to plugins. In that line we are moving features like header/footer scripts and ad management to dedicated plugins. The ad management plugin called “Easy AdSense Ads and Scripts Manager” is already live on WordPress.Org

Sneak peek of the PageSpeed themes PageSpeed 🙂

What about the current Swift theme users

We will continue to offer maintenance, support and security updates for Swift to the existing customers. But we strongly advice and request you to migrate to the new framework.

If you bought Swift in the last six months, then you will get a free upgrade to the new framework.

Thank You

A big thanks form the bottom of my heart for supporting and using Swift all these years and very sorry for the extended stagnant periods in Swift’s development.

Normally I should be sad to abandon something where I spent major part of my career, but I’m happy that it makes way for a much better product with a better vision and I’m proud of taking the step finally.

I hope you will find the new framework and themes easier to use, and we will make sure the themes are faster than Swift.

11 thoughts on “Putting Swift in Legacy Status & Launching a new Framework, #Helium

  1. OK, So where does that leave people who have purchased lifetime developer licenses for SWIFT longer than 6 months ago, with the expectation that you would keep dev eloping SWIFT.
    Do we get access to the new Helium theme?
    Or do we have to purchase another “lifetime” license?
    Can content from SWIFT be easily transferred to Helium?
    Or does the site have to be totally rebuilt?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Eric,
      1. We will keep the time longer than 6 months for lifetime license owners.
      2. We haven’t yet decided the pricing of the Helium framework. We are even considering offering it for free.
      3. If you want to use Swift and helium, yes, you have to buy another license.
      3. Swift and the Helium framework are two different things. Content will be transferred but the design won’t. We will be there is help you.

  2. What a great bunch of experiences leading to this point Satish.

    I’m terrified about migration … but very interested to see where Helium goes. I guess it goes upwards!

    Best wishes
    Michael Storer

  3. What will happen to the affiliate Program?

  4. I am unable to access Members tab – waiting for swiftthemes.com?

  5. Satish, I was one of the early adopters of Swift and am still using it after 5-6 years! I’m sure your new theme will be just as good and probably well worth taking up.

  6. I’ll be interested to see what happens with Helium.

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