Ian Stewart of Themeshaper.com wants to know, what do you really need in a WordPress starter theme? It’s an interesting question to ask these days because of the wide assortment of not only starter themes, but theme frameworks that are available. Two years ago, theme developers were using themes that they created themselves. While that still occurs today, many are using themes such as Genesis to build out websites. ∞
By Jeffro on January 16, 2012
WP-Snippets has gone through a few changes as of late. Among them is a responsive design, a button to mark snippets as favorites, better ways of filtering snippets, and a few other enhancements. WP-Snippets is one of those really cool ideas that I talked about during the early days of WordPress Weekly and I’m stoked to see someone out there actually turn the idea into a reality.
By Jeffro on January 16, 2012
WordPress did not create the concept of content management. Such systems have been around since before the internet was a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye. But true innovation rarely effects the greatest change. WordPress took an existing concept, made it highly useable, and introduced it to the masses (free of charge).
By Jeffro on January 12, 2012
Earlier this morning, I discovered that while moderating comments, a small little X icon appeared that I’ve never seen before. After inquiring on Twitter why WordPress never gave me a new feature pointer to explain to me what this feature was, I was told that it came with the newest version of Akismet. On January 5th, 2011 Akismet released version 2.5.4 of their plugin and amongst the changes was the addition of a button that allows site administrators to easily remove the commenter URL. This particular feature is something I’ve become used to using as it’s part of the Ajax Edit Comments plugin. I think it’s pretty slick that this feature is now available despite it not actually being in core. In fact, if you didn’t know any better or forgot that you recently upgraded Akismet, you might think that it was added with WordPress 3.3.1 like I did.
I use this feature quite a bit because even though a comment may come across as spam, it appears relevant enough to the post that I publish it without the benefit of the commenter URL. Some folks don’t like this behaviour and would prefer that either the comment is deleted or published in its entirety. Are you one of those people?
By Jeffro on January 12, 2012
WordPress consultant, Konstantin Kovshenin has published an excellent guide describing what theme/plugin lock-in is and how to avoid it. This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for a long time but have never been able to put into words for a post. The biggest culprit in my opinion when it comes to lock-ins are themes, especially commercial ones. These themes not only come with features that make it unique, those features sometimes store or alter data in a way that makes it very difficult to switch themes or even upgrade WordPress. The first comment on that post by Diane illustrates my point exactly.
This problem is even more pervasive than articulated here. The theme options of many commercial themes create functionality unique to that theme and then if you want to make a change, boy are you screwed. We see this problem with clients all the time.
Looking back at my history of using WordPress, choosing the right theme based on looks, options, and functionality was one of the toughest decisions I would have to make. I think I’ve only switched themes five times or less for both my personal site and WPTavern.com. Quite frankly, switching themes is a giant pain in the ass. Widgets become messed up, the layout is screwed up and although I like themes with options, I have to read the manual to figure out how to get the layout I like or at least, witnessed on the demo theme. Once I have a theme configured both functionally and aesthetically, I try not to do anything to disturb it. I get sick of the layout sometimes but the thought of switching themes and how much work that entails always settles me down into sticking with the current implementation.
Definitely read the comments at the end of the article as Mike Schinkel carries on an interesting conversation on ways or methods on which this entire situation could be improved.
By Jeffro on January 11, 2012
Dev4Press has an interesting post that contains performance benchmark numbers that show just how much of an impact certain plugins have on loading times within WordPress. Amongst the 35 tested plugins are bbPress, W3 Total Cache, WooCommerce and a few of the plugins developed by Millan. I as well as many others were shocked to see bbPress with such poor numbers thanks to it loading everything on every page load instead of only what it needs. Keep in mind that it’s not about how many plugins you have installed on your website, but which ones. It only takes one poorly coded plugin to cause you grief.
For some additional reading on how to optimize plugin loading, please see this tutorial by Millan.
Hat tip via WPCandy.com.
By Jeffro on January 10, 2012
@WraithKenny – #WordPress plugin repo should have a favorites button. – via Twitter
Now THAT’S a good idea! Stretch it further by giving us the
option decision to make our favorite lists private or public on WordPress.org. There are all sorts of things you can do from there on in.
By Jeffro on January 9, 2012
If you’re the owner of an iPad, you’ll likely love the sound of Touch Punch which is a newly released plugin by David Gwyer that enables users to use touch screen gestures to control the WordPress administration area. For example, with Touch Punch, you can now drag and drop widgets using your fingertips. Here is a list of activated WordPress admin pages that the gestures will work on.
- Admin dashboard – Drag to re-order admin dashboard widgets.
- Widgets page – Drag new widget instances into widget areas, and sort existing widgets.
- New posts/pages – Drag to re-order meta boxes on new post/pages.
- Edit posts/pages – Drag to re-order meta boxes on existing post/pages.
- Navigation menu page – Drag to re-order meta boxes, and individual menu items to change position/hierarchy.
- Add new links page – Drag to re-order meta boxes (Note: the first three meta boxes are fixed by WordPress but the others are sortable).
I don’t own an iPad so I’m not able to test this plugin but I know there are plenty of people within the WordPress community that do, so if you manage to try out Touch Punch, let me know in the comments what you think of it.