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Python Reel: Free Plone Theme for 2013

Recently it was announced of the first release of a free Plone theme, designed and developed by Quintagroup: Python Reel, your Free Responsive theme for Plone 4.2.x  that holds a great promise to become even more popular than well-loved Schools and SunRain, all-time favourites among Free Plone Themes.

Let’s see, if those expectations can actually live up to become true in today’s mobile-dominated web.

Python Reel theme

Visual Design

At first glance design-wise Python Reel gives off that animalistic vibe that is so in for 2013, presenting the graceful styling inspired by the shape of snake. But,  it’s much more softer  take on  a serpent,  with pastel colors and elegant typography Python Reel is suitable for  most business/personal websites.  Still, Python Reel is not so simple and gentle as it may look.

Responsive Web Design

To start off, Python Reel features Responsive Web design to present itself with grace on any device, be it a small smartphone,  a tablet or  widescreen  HD PCs.  Take a look at the website on touch phone, 7-inch tablet, iPad:

Python Reel Mobile

As you see, the whole content is resized and repositioned to be more device-appropriate. 2013 is considered to be a year when mobile web usage will finally overtake PC’s. It’s crucial more than ever to have your website mobile-ready.  Fully responsive Python Reel satisfied all those requirements, coming also with mobile-first navigation and  touch-enabled carousel.

Mobile-first Navigation

Mobile users are often looking for immediate answers; they want the information and they want it now.  Simple responsive navigation won’t do, it will just take up an entire mobile screen, without actually showing much.  Python Reel has a native support for quintagroup.dropdownmenu product that transforms multi-level navigation into an elegant responsive drop-down menu, built following mobile first approach.

With a simple responsive menu you get all menu items listed at the top, which is quite messy.  Mobile-first navigation looks as a select box that triggers a pop-up with the complete multi-level navigation menu.

Responsive/Touch-Enabled Carousel

Having a carousel slider on your Plone website is not a big deal, but making it  responsive to smaller devices, meaning tablets and smartphones is a completely different story.   In Python Reel just with a few clicks you can have an elegant image slider that is not only scalable, but can be positioned in the top area or just below the header.

Сompass-powered Theme

Now, let’s look under the hood, Python Reel is powered by Compass framework built on top of Sass. So, unlike most Plone Themes this one is coded in another, cleaner fashion. CSS templates are well-structured and reusable, thus making maintenance and deep customization  easier as well.

Top Area as a Focal Point

This is where themes like Python Reel come on stage. Python Reel let’s you set your header images with the logo that comes  in a light and dark versions. The theme will allow you to set the colors of your navigation menu, including the text info.  Write your own slogan. Instead of one picture, create a carousel and change its background to match overall color palette on your website. Fortunately, the theme is rather friendly with the user,  changing colors is just a matter of changing its  html number.

With such  a combination of  features,  you can quickly create a good looking home page that looks like it was built by a professional designer.

Layout Flexibility

One of my favourite features in Python Reel is the columns settings. The columns section will allow you to set up to three columns.  You can have your content on the left with a portlet on the right, flip that around, have portlets on both sides, adjust their width or even remove them altogether. ContentWellPortlets extension in turn let you add portlets to any page section header, footer, content.   This way Python Reel theme will display a number of page layouts that allow each page to be individually customized without additional code. This allows for quick creation of multiple page designs within the site.

Social Media

Python Reel would not be mobile enough without social media to share the content and connect with your visitors on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin; keep them up-to-date with the latest news in RSS.

Try it out

After spending several hours playing with Python Reel on plone-demo, I can say it is a pretty solid theme. Seeing Python Reel only on pics doesn’t really do it justice though. You’ll need to switch on your imagination. There is little to nothing you couldn’t customize in this theme with proper tools and knowledge. So you need to try out this theme for yourself and get a real feel of what Python Reel has to offer, how easy it’s to personalize and how great and versatile it can look.

Support

Lastly, let’s cover support.  All Plone themes are not made equal.  Some, like Python Reel, are flexible and can be used for virtually any purpose. This is great, but sometimes the options can be overwhelming. As for Python Reel all customization instructions are provided in README.txt. But if there are some things you don’t fully understand or have trouble with, you can always open the ticket.  Downloading for free Python Reel you get a solid product that will continue to receive updates as well as support into the future.

Get Your Plone Theme

Overall, I really like Python Reel  and think this Plone theme can fit most business fields really well.  It’s easy to set up and customize,  plus it responds to your viewer’s device. Python Reel gives you plenty of options, but at the same time, not enough to overwhelm you. What I love most about this Plone theme in particular is how flexible it is.  It can be used for websites ranging from single-column to 3 column responsive sites.   This theme could be your ticket to mobile market.

You can download Python Reel from:

Homepage: http://themes.quintagroup.com/product/python-reel

Plone.org: http://plone.org/products/python-reel-plone-theme

Pypi: http://pypi.python.org/pypi/quintagroup.theme.pythonreel

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