I decided to review Ultimatum after reading Chris Lema’s article where he gave it high marks. Also, when I went to their site, http://ultimatumtheme.com/ I love the minimalistic theme they had and I thought I could quickly create something that nice. Wrong!

When I downloaded the theme, it was HUGE! and took forever to download/upload. Once it was all uploaded, I activated it and got an out of memory error. No problem, I increased the PHP Memory limit and was able to access the wp-admin back-end fine. When I came to view the theme, there was nothing there, just a blank white screen of death.

After scouring their support forums, I found out this is actually the intended result, and that there is all sorts of unintuitive processes like layouts that need to be created before you can actually see anything displayed on your screen, even if you do actually have content. Wow. Super frustrated already and now I have to create a layout when I am not even sure what is possible? Luckily, I found a nice tutorial, but it can only be accessed if you are a member. Bummer! My impression was that it seemed like a lot of work to get something up that looked worse than no style sheet at all!

At this point, I am not sure if I should continue trying to learn this thing to make something decent looking which I can see as an uphill struggle with or without out having a predetermined design, or get my predetermined design on and then code it from Twenty Eleven, my usual base starting point. I think this will create the best result, I was just hoping that I could find a nifty shortcut, but again, there is no substitute for simply doing good honest work from (almost) scratch.

Published by Suzette Franck

Suzette Franck has been in web development for over twenty years; she started making hand-coded HTML websites on geocities with font tags and tables back in 1995. Since then, she has taught herself CSS, Sass, PHP, MySQL, as well as becoming a Wordpress expert; evangelizing and presenting at over twenty-two WordCamps across the country and multiple WordPress meetups in Southern California where she resides, about all aspects of building and maintaining sites on WordPress. Suzette is passionate about WordPress the application as well as the WordPress Open Source Community, and loves to code and teach others the wonders of WordPress. She is a purveyor of lowbrow art, and when she is not WordPressing, she is painting or visiting Los Angeles art galleries to add more work to her growing art collection.

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  1. Just a heads up. I was comparing it to other Drag & Drop themes with the goal of evaluating it on that level. It was not a comparison of best themes to use – in which case, Genesis & Catalyst are favorites of mine.

    1. I read your review of ultimatum off your site and if you were not recommending it, you could have fooled me. I suggest you reread your own site. Nobody likes to buy something that doesn’t work on the basis of a recommendation from someone who really ‘didn’t mean to recommend it in the first place’.

  2. Suzette,
    I tried this, too. Saw a deal for the dev license on mightydeals. Picked it up. Played with it for an hour. Got mad. Set it aside. In my opinion, Headway is still head of the class where it comes to drag and drop theme-ing.

  3. Headway is good, I use it and recommend it, but don’t discount Ultimatum – especially since you already bought it. Take a half hour to watch the videos on the Ultimatum forum under Tutorials and you’ll understand how easy and powerful the framework really is. Then take another half hour to play with the theme. Good luck.

  4. Any thoughts on whether a complete WP novice should go via the Headway/Ultimatum or Catalyst/Genesis?

    1. I have only used Headway, and I thought it would be pretty easy for a savvy novice. I wouldn’t recommend Ultimatum. Not sure about the others.

  5. For what it’s worth, I have Headway, Genesis and the Catalyst Theme. Headway I gave up on, because it’s incomplete and buggy and the forums (which, if you’re not a member you can’t see) are full of problems with the framework and dissatisfied customers. Genesis and Catalyst and top notch, although I tend to use use catalyst more as its more customisable without knowing code.

  6. Hi there Suzette,

    I have found your website today and your thoughts on Ultimatum. The guys have been working very hard on this drag and drop framework. They have just brought out 2.5 a brand new version. We have been using there framework for about a year now. We have built over 30 sites using there framework and when you get into it you can design and build a site in a day. Please take some time to revisit this framework. I would love to read your thought on the new version.

    Kind regards

  7. Hello,

    I am a coder from WonderFoundry and I want to clear some points. UltimatumTheme is not a WordPress theme. It is a framework to create themes. So ın our old version you have to do your templates all your own.

    Right now we have a new version and we all like it. It is still a framework to create template. But this time we added a template in it by default and you can use/edit it. Also we have bootsratp and all bootswatches (You can see a demo video about it in this short video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXLVlcc2Zd4) in UltimatumTheme 2.5 . If you have time please look again our product. I am sure you will love it. It is coming with a lot of new features like sliders, portfolio tools, visual composer… You can create sites like your in just 1 or 2 hours I think.

    We will glad to see you in our forums to improve our product together.


    Inanc Eren Demir

  8. Hello Suzette – i understand your frustration but most frustrations are based on previous experience and expectations both I can see above… I started developing my own themes using thematic theme and hand coding each page template and creating child themes and so forth ( as a hobby ) – wrote all my html and loved it then i was wanting a shortcut like you and started investigating other options – while i trust Chris about his preferences again I’m sure Chris will say ” depends on what fits your needs and work process ” I LOVE Ultimatum and even though i know ithemes is by far a safer route ( I love ithemes Builder ) to take in the hopes of my sites staying up and support is awesome – UT is by far one of the fastest and easiest frameworks I’ve used ( try dottorro theme – fun stuff there too ) and I can recreate most any site in a couple hours to the pixel almost – So I guess I’m saying is all this ” how i feel stuff ” doesn’t matter unless someone else can benefit from my experience and to do so I hope everyone will review this video and then look at the code and ask yourself are you comfortable handing this to a client ” as is “! I’m not into putting ” AS IS ” signs on y websites – lol – I wish i knew more code standards and php but I don’t and really would like someone to compare the frameworks based on their code and not our need for pretty pics and or ” how we feel ” Granted when I’m having a bad day i love to jump on someone elses bandwagon and enjoy the ride but… – what is the verdict ? Is Ultimatum producing good code? Is it…? That is my question cause after running them-checker i am not sure it is: ) ! thanks for you post and I hope to find answers to my questions as soon as google finds one too! : ) After seeing a post inside UT forum where a member posted their error messages i saw a reply from the developer that said ” turn debug off ” solution? i guess that fixed here problem with seeing errors – lol – Got you book marked thank you for sharing and GOOD LUCK to all ! I’m a mac user by the way and I like ritz on my ice cream and feel everyone should try it once a week till they agree!!! : ) .

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