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Say hello to the biggest upgrade to the first truly revolutionary WordPress theme framework.

After three years of hard work, $2 million+, and a dozen developers and designers later, we’re excited to launch Upfront 1.0.

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted on this very blog about the launch of our new WordPress theme framework / entirely different way of doing WordPress, and promised you that we’d be working our behinds off over the next 12 months to make it even bigger and better.

And guess what, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing, and what a journey it’s been.

Starter Themes
Our stunning Upfront starter themes are ready out-of-the-box and are completely customizable.

What’s New in Upfront 1.0?

Well, under the hood, just about everything! This is by far the most stable, speedy and elegantly coded product we have ever released.

Together with the sheer experience of using Upfront, well, we’ve completely reimagined that, too.

Today, we’re introducing an absolutely brand new way of stacking, padding and creating beautiful layouts straight off the bat – while retaining the absolute flexibility of our initial release.

New APIs, huge boosts to performance, new ways to style and lay out your sites visually without the need for code… Upfront 1.0 is bigger and better than before. It’s so intuitive, it’s stupid.

And as for power, this platform can cater to your wildest dreams of efficient theme-wide customization, from fonts to colors to preset element designs. You know that first time you discovered web design, what you could achieve by tweaking that bit of HTML code or shunting that box around Dreamweaver…? It’s like that, all over again, but so much better.

So, let’s get into the details.

Build Any Website in Minutes

With Upfront, you’re not limited by the starter theme you choose – any theme can become infinite other themes.

Say you I wanted to turn website A into website B…

With Upfront you can transform any of our starter themes into a completely different theme.
With Upfront you can transform any of our starter themes into a completely different theme.

How long would that usually take you with a regular WordPress install? Or even using another drag and drop builder, or Squarespace of Wix?

This is how easy it is to do with Upfront:

Total time: 13 minutes, tops.

Upfront’s Tools Make Customization Easy

Install any starter theme and customize or completely rebuild it to your liking and see your edits in real-time.

Upfront isn’t just a page builder limited by boxes, slide controls and dials – you can modify any element to any degree with complete design control.

Settings API

Settings API

We’ve introduced presets for elements so now you can style everything from galleries and sliders to menus and buttons to look exactly how you want.You can then reuse any styling of an element across your entire site.

You can then reuse any styling of an element across your entire site.

Drag and Drop API

Positioning elements, such as text, images, forms and everything else on your site is now much, much faster.

To quote our Product Designer, “the new Drag and Drop API kicks serious ass.”

New drag and drop
Improved GUI

Improved GUI Editing Options

We’ve added new visual options for styling elements from the Upfront sidebar so you can now control how your elements look without delving into CSS.

Of course, you can still customize the CSS with our super cool code editor.

Responsive Design Built-In

Not only does the new drag and drop style of Upfront make every single design you make responsive straight off the bat, but you can also customize your design, using Upfront, with a minimum of fuss.


Compatible With Your Favorite Plugins

One of my favorite plugins is Gravity Forms and, of course, I want it on my Upfront site. How hard is it to get it to work?

Guess what? Not hard at all. In fact, it’s super easy.

  • Select the widget element and place it where you want
  • Select Forms (just like you would a usual widget)
  • Oh, and that’s it 🙂
Gravity Forms

And, of course, if you want you to really take control of how your site looks you can easily add your own custom CSS, just like this:


Amazing Performance

Your site, when built with Upfront, will pass every single Google Pagespeed test (bar your servers, we can’t fix that… yet 🙂 you can to throw at it.

Plus, it’s fully compatible with our amazing WP Smush Pro plugin – not only can you crop, customize and manage your images in Upfront, but you can set Smush to give them the super lossy treatment at the same time, giving you load times and SEO A grades all the way round.

Gorgeous Parallax

Add parallax scrolling to any region of your site in just a couple of clicks. No code, no messing about, just stunning parallax in seconds.


True Front-End Text Editing

Create a new text area, type in your words and format exactly how you want them to look – add emphasize with bold type, add a splash of color and even throw in an emoji or two. Upfront 1.0 also includes markdown so you can do all your formatting from the keyboard, saving you even more time.

Text editing

Post and Page Creation

Create new posts and pages from the front-end of your site – there’s absolutely no need to delve into the backend of your site. In Upfront 1.0, we’ve also improved the image insertion experience and there are more changes on the way.

Post and page creation

Fullscreen Videos

Embed gorgeous full-width videos in your website from popular video sharing services such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia.


Big, Bold Sliders

Make use of Upfront’s responsive design with wall-to-wall sliders. Choose from two sets of available controls – side arrows or bottom dots to navigate between your slides and make it easy for your visitors to check out your content.

Sliders come jam-packed with five animation transitions, and there are more precise controls for how quickly you want slides to rotate.

Blank Slate? We’ve Made it Even Easier

Who wants to get started with a blank piece of paper? Who wants to recreate the wheel every time you start? No-one!

Which is why we’ve developed a range we like to call the ultimate starter themes.

Basically, take one of these themes and rip it apart and make it your own.

Every theme can be turned into any other design, but to help you out each theme comes with its own fanatically tested, tweaked and customized design parameters, typography selections, individual icon fonts and a heck of a lot more besides.

So you can customize, tweak and create that site you’ve always dream of in a fraction of the time it’d take anyone else to manage it.

And we’re adding new themes all the time. Here are some of the designs you can download today:

Upfront themes

Oh, and you can even create your blank slate too, if you really want to 🙂 Just delete everything – you can do it in less than 30 seconds!

So What, Precisely, Are You Waiting For?

Take a more detailed stroll through what Upfront offers or find out more about joining WPMU DEV today.

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