I was very reluctant to implement themes in SETT. The way I saw it, if we controlled the theme, we could really optimize it for things that people care about -- subscriptions, views, comments, etc. But time and time again, the one thing that was stopping new people from moving to SETT was that they wanted their blog to look unique. Fair enough.
For the past four months, my focus has been building out the theming system. I wasn't surprised that figuring out a theming language and adapting SETT to use it would take two months, but I was surprised that it took another two month to build a theme editor.
The real challenge was to build a theming system that would accomodate users of all skill levels. I wanted advanced users to have access to the full range of capabilities, including Bootstrap integration, LESS stylesheet compiling, and dynamically changing values. At the same time, I wanted very beginners to have a fighting chance at editing an existing theme to change just one thing or two. In the middle of those two, I wanted people with HTML and CSS, but no programming, experience to be able to design a good theme.
On top of all that, the editing experience must be good. No one wants to edit files on their computer and then upload them to see if they worked. Previews should be near instant, and it should be possible to edit multiple files at once online, just as we'd do with a standalone editor.
Last night we pushed a big update that includes an alpha version of the theme editor, making full theming available on all Leader and Hobbyist plans. You can edit either of the existing SETT themes or use the bare-bones theme as a base to start from the beginning. Just open the look and feel panel, click the theme you want to edit, and click the little blue edit button that shows up when you hover over the name.
You can read our Quickstart guide to understand how SETT theming works.
All feedback and bugs are welcome. We're very excited to bring what we think is the best example of blog theming to date! In the future we will create a theme marketplace and allow theme creators to make money selling their themes.