BlackCyber 2020

Extending Canvas

Written by Warren Holmes on June 30, 2014 Blog.

Today’s guest  post is from Jamie Marsland over at Pootlepress. He’s a long-time WooThemes customer, and has become a Canvas advocate over the years. He’s recently launched a bunch of extensions to help Canvas theme owners take their site to the next level over at Pootlepress.

We love Canvas. For us, it’s our go-to WordPress theme. We’ve been working with Canvas for 5 years now, we’ve trained over 2000 people and built 100’s of sites using it.

It gives you control to change design elements of your website without having to know any code. Control is the number one thing our customers want. They want to make a change to their website quickly and easily. They don’t want to have to wait, they want fingertip control. We estimate that Canvas cuts website build time down by 80%. We now build most new customer websites in 1 day. We build a lot of websites 🙂

And, the great thing is design beauty is not sacrificed by speed.

Because we’re busy building so many real world websites with Canvas we have fantastic insight into how our customers want to go beyond what is possible ‘out of the box’.

In the past, we’ve used CSS tweaks or custom PHP development to achieve the extra functionality we and our customers want. Over time, we built up quite a library of tweaks and last year we thought we should share them.

So, we wrote a post called 65 Canvas tips, tricks and CSS tweaks and were blown away by the response. We got fantastic feedback to the post and it still gets a tonne of traffic every day.

We sat down and thought “wouldn’t it be great if we could turn these tweaks into simple plugins that customers could install with 1 click?”.

Enter Canvas Extensions…

We launched Canvas Extensions to allow users to download a simple plugin that does something specific they want that Canvas doesn’t do, install it and wham – no coding.

To give you more idea of what I am talking about, here are the top 10 selling Canvas Extensions:

  1. Align Menu Right – this positions the primary navigation the right of the logo in Canvas.
  2. Sticky Header – this make the header and navigation area fixed at the top.
  3. Footer Widget Manager – this allows Canvas users to style the footer widget area separately to standard widget.
  4. Logo Inside Nav – this allows you to put a logo right in the middle of the primary navigation.
  5. Page Element Hider – allows you to hide elements like the page title, primary navigation, logo/site title etc on a page by page basis.
  6. Mobile Menu Manager – Mobile Menu Manager allows you to style the standard Canvas mobile menu without complex CSS
  7. Masonry Blog – this creates a beautiful masonry blog for your website (see for a real world example).
  8. Centre Logo and Navigation.
  9. Replace Header image – this allows you to have different headers on different pages.
  10. Font Awesome Menus – this allows you to add lovely icons to your menus.

We wanted the extensions to be targeted at helping users achieve something specific within Canvas with a few clicks. We have released 17 Canvas Extensions at the time of writing this and have another 6 in development.

The reaction from Canvas Extension users has been great and as word has spread, we’re getting useful feedback from the community of Canvas users out there on what would they want us to develop.

The Future…

Last week we released our most important Canvas Extension yet, the Canvas Page Builder. We’ve forked an existing Page Builder from SiteOrigin and made it work perfectly with Canvas. We’re also adding some very cool new features, including the ability to style full width rows within pages.

The combination of Canvas and Canvas Page Builder is awesome – once you’ve used the two together you will fall in love with how creative and quick the process is to build beautiful pages.

It’s been inspiring to see the beautiful pages being built with Canvas PageBuilder. We gave it to Dave Gillett, a brilliant designer from the UK for a day and take a look at these beautiful pages he created.

For some other examples of what is possible check out these pages we created. Each took only 10mins!

You can see all our Canvas Extensions and pick up the Canvas Page Builder here.


44 Responses

  1. Jon
    June 30, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    The Page Builder looks great to add to sites for clients to use. I was curious if there was a video or documentation explaining how to control the responsive looks across different devices? I didn’t see one along with the rest of them at

    • Nick
      June 30, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

      Hi Jon,

      We can certainly add this into our tutorials. A quick note about responsiveness though. It works extremely intuitively with the existing responsiveness in Canvas. So all you really have to do is great your page and Page Builder does the rest… I am currently finishing off a new tutorial of how to create a long scrolling full-width page use Page Builder so will be sure to add a mobile section to that tutorial…



      • Nick
        June 30, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

        @PootlePress ; )

      • Tim
        June 30, 2014 at 8:43 pm #


        I went to your website ( and I find the name PootlePress makes absolutely no sense and is quite ridiculous. Please change it immediately.

        Very nice plugins.

        Thank you.


        • jamesmarsland
          June 30, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

          Hi Tim,

          Thanks for the feedback about our Canvas Extension Plugins 🙂

          Re our name: We really love our name, very sorry to hear you think it’s ridiculous.

          Our customers often comment that they like it too, and it’s certainly memorable.

          fyi Pootle means to ‘move or travel in a leisurely manner’ and is used a great deal in our household. eg. i’m going to have a pootle on the web.

          Hope that helps 🙂


          • allmyhoney
            June 30, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

            I love the name Jamie 😉 and love what you are doing with Canvas and the plugins.

          • Tim
            July 1, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

            Hey allmyhoney,

            Please let me know if you need any help removing your head from Jamie’s butt! Fart sniffer… sniff, sniff aaaahhhh!



      • Jon
        June 30, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

        Thanks Nick, for example what I had in mind was if you set up a section with 4 columns it would be good to control the different points where it will split from 4 wide, down to 2 wide and then to 1 wide.

        Of if you had a 2 column section with one taking up 2/3 and the other a 1/3, can you control that it goes to 50 50 and then 100 100. Seeing this kind of thing in action would be nice. While I can set it up manually using css others I’ve made sites for don’t have that know how should they want to change things.

  2. Syrehn
    June 30, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    A page builder… interesting. I believe this is something that WooThemes needs to get on board with and should be a default in their themes; just look how many themes use modified versions of WPBakery Visual Composer (tons).

    Unfortunately not many clients who want control of their pages like having to deal with shortcodes in the text editor when they layout out or edit their pages… it’s just not user friendly for most.

    Since Woo has drastically changed how the Theme Subscription works a page builder and general feature enhancements across all existing themes would be the key that would convince me to keep the subscription active especially since the number of themes released is dwindling and their visual quality in comparison to others themes is definitely lacking a bit at the moment.

    In short I would rather have a Woo solution to this (page builder) and the other canvas extensions listed above than be sent off to buy a product from someone else but that being said I’m going to be taking a better look at the options from PootlePress.

    • Nick
      June 30, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

      Hi Syrehn,

      I can totally see where you are coming from and it’s encouraging for us that you see the value in our extensions.

      I suppose the reality is that Woo (and any company) has limits to what it can do with it’s products (budgets, time, resources) and I actually love the whole WordPress eco-system when others start to innovate on top of existing stuff.

      I think we are actually bridging the gap here – in the sense that we are just targeting our Page Builder at Canvas – to make it work perfectly and bring out the best of both. So it’s not a generic plugin to Canvas like Visual Composer and it’s not Woo either. Kind of a model in-between.


  3. Lyman
    June 30, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    This is awesome! I think this is a much better approach than trying to pump out new templates so often. It’s good to see Canvas getting some upgrades. I can’t wait to give these some love.

    • Nick
      June 30, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks Lyman : )

      If you have any suggestions let us know…

      Nick @ PootlePress

  4. allmyhoney
    June 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    Canvas as a framework seems the obvious route from here I my opinion. It is nice to see v5.8 roll out and I hope to see an increased pace in changes as its a fantastic theme and really well made and I hope with the new route from woo of less theme releases and a razor beam focus on core products, i do indeed hope for more and more updates to the plugins and themes such as canvas. Well done PootlePress on driving canvas forward and long may it continue.

    • jamesmarsland
      June 30, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

      Thanks very much allmyhoney 🙂

      And thanks re our name 🙂


  5. Keith Whalen
    June 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

    Love the PootlePress range (and the name). I always start new sites with the Canvas theme and the PP plugins really extend the functionality.

    With regards to page builder I have tried several column & row designers but this is the best I’ve used so far.

    • Nick
      July 1, 2014 at 10:56 am #

      Thanks Keith! : )

      Nick @ PootlePress

  6. Greg
    July 1, 2014 at 1:36 am #

    Awesome stuff,

    This idea should be absorbed into Canvas as a framework somehow. The chat a couple of months ago from Woo appeared to be the stripping down of themes, but with Canvas, I feel things like this are of benefit.

    Also glad that a banner on here now mentions Canvas Child Themes. Finally! We’ve been banging on about them for years! Couldn’t have happened too soon in my opinion. I’m actually surprised a themehouse hasn’t just smashed out loads of Canvas Childs before now.

    Go Canvas!

    • Nick
      July 1, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Hey Greg, we actually develop custom child themes for our customers and Canvas is brilliant for this. So agreed – we basically use Canvas as a framework. This is where we got our initial ideas for our extensions.

      It will be interesting to see if there is a market for commercial Canvas Child Themes or whether Canvas as a framework (plus our extensions) are enough for people to build whatever theme they want…

      • Greg
        July 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

        I wonder then on a similar note if they have considered a place fore extensions/plugins that are “certified” (for want of a better word) addons to Canvas. Additions that are primarily designed around enhancing Canvas specifically. Like the bits and pieces PootlePress has now. If Canvas is getting leaner from Woo, I’d like to ensure a way that the functionality that is re-added via plugins etc. is guaranteed compatible.

        @Woo – I wan’t a cut if you start a Canvas/Framework extension store! Copyright: Creepy Greg Off The Internets.

  7. Thomas Zinsavage
    July 1, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    I like it, and for those with a website/blog a nice theme is essential in my opinion. The overall look and feel is the first thing people see. So be sure to have a great first impression 🙂

  8. sk
    July 1, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    Great stuff, I love what you guys do for Canvas! I’ve used it for many projects and I’ve built a few plugins to extend it, but nothing that I’ve been able to apply to multiple projects just yet. Looking forward to trying out a few more of your plugins

    • Nick
      July 1, 2014 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks sk, let us know if you have any more suggestions for plugins! Cheers, Nick @PootlePress

  9. Ronald de Caluwé
    July 1, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    These guys build good extensions and offer great support!
    I can really recommend them!

    • jamesmarsland
      July 1, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks Ronald! ; ) Nick @PootlePress

  10. Jo
    July 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    The PootlePress extensions are a great addition to Canvas, and the page builder opens up so many opportunities, and with the full width options on the horizon its just going to get better.

    Also I would like to add that the support from PootlePress is top notch!

    • jamesmarsland
      July 1, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      Cheers Jo!

  11. toddlahman
    July 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    Are the plugin updates available through the WordPress dashboard, or do they have to be downloaded manually from the My Account dashboard, and then uploaded each time to WordPress, whenever an update is available?

    • jamesmarsland
      July 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      Hi Todd,

      At the moment you have to login to your account to get updates (or email us to our dedicated support email). However we are updating all our plugins very soon to include the WP dashboard updates.



      • toddlahman
        July 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

        Hi James,

        If you need any help with the plugin update code integration let me know.


        • Nick Burne
          July 2, 2014 at 8:16 am #

          Hi Todd, I think we purchased your extension for this so I’ll be in touch! Nick

  12. rubencio
    July 2, 2014 at 12:58 am #

    This was made in Canvas too:
    Hope you like it 😉

    • Warren Holmes
      July 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm #


  13. Matt Mikulla
    July 3, 2014 at 4:47 am #

    Here’s the deal folks. Pootlepress’s Canvas plugins are legit. And really useful.

    The Page Builder is super intuitive and easy to create complex layouts with any type of content. Static or dynamic.

    When the Page Customizer plugin is released I imagine Canvas being significantly more powerful from a design and custom layout perspective.

    I’m thinking about using both for creating really nice landing pages.

    Please allow us to save templates James!

    If I’m not mistaken the Page Customizer will allow full width background rows. That alone gets around a major design hurdle. Remember, only the header, nav and footer backgrounds can span 100% full width backgrounds in Canvas.

    I can build a full theme from scratch including design. But I’m sick of it. Canvas plus Pootlepress allows me the ability to achieve what I need in a flexible and clean way. Good stuff all around.

    • Nick
      July 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

      Hey Matt, thanks for the support. Page Customizer was supposed to go out this week but we decided to make sure it works perfectly with WooFramework 6.0 and 5.5.6 too as we think it’s going to be popular.

      By saving templates – do you mean pre-built layouts as these are already a feature in Page Builder…

      Cheers, Nick @PootlePress

      • allmyhoney
        July 3, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

        @Matt & @Nick, Matt mentions this “If I’m not mistaken the Page Customizer will allow full width background rows. That alone gets around a major design hurdle. Remember, only the header, nav and footer backgrounds can span 100% full width backgrounds in Canvas. ”

        Are full width background rows as you work down the page possible in the page builder now?

  14. allmyhoney
    July 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    Is there a shortcode for your masonry layout. For example could I use your page builder to have a section of masonry blogs and then below it have a normal section of texts or images? Or does it only work on a page layout?

    • Nick
      July 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

      Hey allmyhoney, at the moment it just works with the Magazine Template but we’re working on an update to make it work with widgets through Page Builder so you can achieve what you’re talking about…

      • allmyhoney
        July 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

        Super thank you would be fantastic Nick because the flexibility here is the key for sure. I just bought an extension from you today Nick but cannot login to my account with you. i sent over an email a few hours ago through your contact page, maybe you can check it out and get me hooked up to my account as I would like to buy a few more extension including the Page Builder. Thanks

  15. jamesmarsland
    July 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    Hi allmyhoney,

    Doesn’t look like we’ve received that email. Could you email and we’ll get that sorted for you 🙂


    • allmyhoney
      July 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

      Sure thing, email sent. Thanks Jamie

    • allmyhoney
      July 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

      Any luck Jamie? I sent on the email to your support email, just want to be able to login as I purchased one plugin but would love to purchase more under that account. Let me know.

      • jamesmarsland
        July 11, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

        Hey man, just to say, we’ve got all your emails… : )

  16. risultati in diretta
    July 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm # per sapere tutti i risultati in tempo reale sulle partite di calcio della serie A, B e C.

  17. Tom
    July 13, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    For those that don’t want to pay $29 for a forked free plugin, here is a link to Page Builder on the WordPress repo:

    This should have been linked to in the original post.. give and take guys! It works both ways.

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