The Ollie block theme, created by Mike McAlister and Patrick Posner, now has a companion plugin available called Ollie Dash. The theme made headlines earlier this month after a contentious WordPress.org review process led its authors to remove the innovative onboarding features. Ollie was approved for WordPress.org but without the time-saving onboarding features its authors initially hoped to include.
Testing the plugin, it is a night and day difference between having onboarding for a theme with so many patterns and options, versus getting dropped into a new theme with no direction.
Instead of hunting around for various settings, the plugin helps users get everything set up with just a few clicks. It includes settings for the color palette, brand color, logo, and site icon.
The wizard also enables fast page creation where users can check a box for any of the full-page designs that they want to be created as pages.
One particularly time-saving screen on the onboarding wizard is the one with the homepage settings. Getting the homepage set can be a confusing part of setup for new WordPress users, especially if they don’t know where to look for the setting. Ollie Dash allows a user to select the homepage from a dropdown before they even begin customizing the site.
At the end of the onboarding wizard, users have the option to instantly create and activate a child theme. It’s not necessary for every website, but is a major time saver for those who intend to further customize the theme’s code.
The onboarding includes docs and video resources for getting started, which can be loaded directly inside the wizard without leaving the site.
McAlister said Ollie Dash will be the foundation for more features his team has in development. They are taking the plugin route as an opportunity to add more functionality than would generally be allowed in a WordPress.org-hosted theme.
McAlister said he plans to make the plugin available on WordPress.org in the future. There are currently 1,062 plugins awaiting review in the queue today, with a wait time of 87 days for an initial review. In the meantime, Ollie Dash can be downloaded from the Ollie website and can also be found on GitHub. Users will be notified in the dashboard when there is an update.