WPCandy's Starter Theme Project

WPCandy releases a starter theme: that is, a basic, barebone theme with commonly used template tags and the usual theme files already in place, ready to be used as a base for your own theme. I like it, and for details sake there are a bunch of other starter/framework themes you can check, most notably plainbeta’s Whiteboard, Darren Beale’s WordPress Naked, Elliot Jay Stocks’s Starkers, and ThemeShaper’s Thematic.

GSoC 2008 Plugin Installation from WP Dashboard is Looking Great

One of the WordPress projects at Google’s Summer of Code 2008 is the addition of plugin installation feature inside your WordPress’s dashboard. Now, if you take a look at that Google Code page, you’ll see that it’s pretty much empty. But here’s Dion Hulse, the contributor to that project, reporting about the whole thing.

It’s not finished yet, but everything seems to be working okay, there are a few slick-looking screenshots, and don’t forget to check the video as well.

List of Themes that Uses the Custom Header API

WordPress Rocks! listing some of the most popular themes that use the Custom Header API. There’s no better way to learn than by peeking into other people’s code, so you might want to grab some of these themes and hack away.

More Details on WordPress's Custom Headers API

Ryan Boren’s introduction on WP’s Custom Headers API is a good start, and here’s a lovingly detailed article on that same subject on Blog, the Magazine. If you’re going to add this feature on your theme, you want to read this. Seriously.

WordPress Custom Image Header API

Old stuff, but I just found this now. If you have used a WordPress.com blog before, you’ll see a tab under Design that says Custom Image Header, where you can see a form to upload and modify the header image and text color of a theme.

Turns out there’s an actual WordPress API for just this functionality. More themes should use this, I say.

Interesting Idea: Theme that Creates Pages, Automatically

Alex raised a good question at the wp-hackers mailing list:

I am interested in the opinion of people on this list as to whether they see any problem in a theme adding Pages to the database when it is activated…

This, it turns out, is perfectly possible, as explained by Alan J. Castonguay:

A theme is just a visually-oriented plugin, and can do anything that a ‘normal’ plugin can do, including wp_insert_post()’ing Pages. The theme’s functions.php file is loaded in wp-settings.php, just after the plugins, but before the init hook, for every page load.

How awesome. Can you imagine it now? Create a theme that automatically install a Contact Form for the users! Or pretty much any other pages that gets filled by plugins, only in this case the page is automatically there instead of requiring users to create that page and input whatever the magic keyword needed to invoke a plugin’s functionality. Woah.

(Of course, it’s probably best to ask user first whether they want to create that Page, but still.)

Gears on WordPress.com

The dot-com side of WordPress gets the Gears first:

On WordPress.com it is used to store all images and other web page components from the admin area to the user’s PC, speeding up access and reducing unnecessary web traffic.

The speed increase is most noticeable when Internet is slow or on high latency and makes everybody’s blogging experience more enjoyable.

Gears work on a bunch of browsers. Not all of them (Opera is noticeably missing), but good enough.

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The Week in WordPress: 2nd Week of November, 2012

Ghost, Rethinking WordPress. Also don’t miss the discussion over at Hacker News.

For The Aspiring Professional WordPress Developer is a collection of good advices for those wanting to be a WordPress pro.

Recently I had the task of cloning a WordPress site both to my local server and to another development server that I host. The Duplicator plugin has been a massive help for me, makes cloning really simple and fast. Highly recommended.

Classy Plugins

Eric Mann uses classes in his non object-oriented WordPress code. Here’s why.

Playing Nice with the “the_content” Filter

This great article could be useful if for some reason you have a need to filter the_content in your theme.

Google Goes After Links In WordPress Themes

New post from the Search Engine Roundtable: Someone “…received a response from Google to a reconsideration request that the only way his site will be reincluded in Google is if he removes all or most of the links in those WordPress themes.” The problem is that those links are in the form of sponsored links on footer (a practice I saw a lot in the past, not so much in the present).

I don’t think it will be easy, or even possible, to do what Google requested. If a theme contains an upgrade notification feature it might be possible to do, but even then the users might choose not to upgrade.

Secondly, if this is true, I wonder whether Google differentiates between credit links (“Designed by…”) and sponsored links. I would say they should, but then again I’m not a SEO guy.

Theme Options Gallery

New favorite blog: Theme Options Gallery by Konstantin Kovshenin, discussing “the best (and the worst) theme options screens around”. Loving the in-depth article and discussions already available there.

Dive into Responsive Prototyping with Foundation

Pretty safe to say that if it shows up on A List Apart, it’s going to be the de facto standard. Time to learn some Foundation.

Google HTML/CSS Style Guide

Couple of days ago we got Starbucks’ style guide, and now here’s another by Google. I think the interesting thing is the rule to “\[o\]mit the protocol from embedded resources“. So instead of typing <script src="http://www.google.com/js/gweb/analytics/autotrack.js"></script>, they recommend to type <script src="//www.google.com/js/gweb/analytics/autotrack.js"></script> instead (without the http part). Never heard of that before.

“I Woke Up but My Server Wasn’t There”

Robb Shecter’s WordPress site got popular overnight thanks to Reddit and went down immediately. The interesting aspect is that the site was new and it’s on a relatively high-powered server. The author then found that the theme he used in particular was doing too many (47!) server requests at a time, and the site ran along very well after switching back to Twenty Eleven.

I think it’s an important read for any theme developers out there.

Read the story here

Modern Web Development – Part I: The Webkit Inspector

A superbly detailed article, part one of a series about web development toolchain.

Crayon Syntax Highlighter plugin

I’ve always been on the hunt for that perfect syntax highlighter plugin. Currently I’m using WP-Syntax, which does its job very well. However I’ve just found this plugin called Crayon Syntax Highlighter, which could be a good contender for the best WordPress syntax highlighter plugin out there.

It looks good, and I like the little toolbar on top of the code box, with the small icons. Additionally, it also offers a lot of customization options. Lastly, it seems to support the same pre tags to wrap the code, similar WP-Syntax, so if I do make the switch, my old codes will still be highlighted correctly.

Starbucks Style Guide

The Starbuck website has its own style guide, accessible for public. I think its a neat idea, wouldn’t it be cool if themes have their own style guide? Pretty sure it will be helpful both to users or developers alike, if time consuming to write.

Also, I wonder what they use for the various toggles panel on the top right corner like on this page. It shows background, baseline, boxes, can be used to change windows size as well. Looks like it’s custom coded, imagine how super useful it can be if it’s a jQuery plugin.

NHP Theme Options Framework

I love theme options frameworks. And I want you guys to check this new framework called NHP. It passes my “does its UI look like the rest of WordPress enough?” test (screenshots here), it has tons of field types, and even offer validations, too.

Can’t wait to test and probably use it too in my to-be-released theme hint hint

What Dev4Press thinks WordPress needs…

This post at Dev4Press outlines what MillaN, its author, thinks would be a necessary addition to WordPress.

Based on the comments, it appears that a lot of people agree with this list. Some of the items mentioned can be achieved with plugins (e.g Tax Meta Class to add meta data to taxonomy items, Custom Post Types Relationships for, well, creating custom post type relationships), so expect there to be a bunch of debates about what should and shouldn’t go to the core.

I like his list, but I disagree with his assessment that we don’t need new core themes. We do, especially to bring about the standard for how a theme options should be designed. This is the aspect that desperately needs to be standardized. Different theme companies and individual theme designers have their own idea of how the theme option UI should look, and it’s hurting the users.

Upgrading from WordPress 1.5

I recently spotted this interesting Ask Metafilter thread where user gd779 tries to find a way to upgrade his old, WordPress 1.5 install. One of the answer is pretty detailed:

I think the right approach is going to be:

  1. Do a full backup of your WordPress files
  2. Do a full database backup (mysql dump using phpMyAdmin or similar)

Then, from your 1.5.2 install:

  1. Upgrade to 2.0
  2. Upgrade to 2.5.1
  3. Upgrade to 3.0
  4. Upgrade to 3.3.1

It is quite fascinating thinking about the solution to this. There’s an official Codex page called Updating WordPress, but it doesn’t seem to go that far back in time.

Smashing Special: What’s Going On In The WordPress Economy?

Siobhan McKeown wrote this awesome, birds-eye view of the whole WordPress economy. Make sure to read this two-part article so you know what’s up with WordPress and identify what opportunity lies ahead.

I agree with Matt’s prediction on that article:

I think the next big opportunity is around agencies and consulting—there will be five to six companies as large as Automattic, just providing high-end consulting and services to the large customers who are adopting WordPress en masse.

Start with Part I of the article.

Automatic responsive images for WordPress

The one issue with creating responsive web design is in displaying images, especially getting the most appropriate size in a particular screen size. One solution for it is the Responsive-Enhance jQuery plugin. It works by loading small-sized images by default, then checks the screen size and loads the bigger version if necessary.

According to its creator, Josh Emerson:

This results in a faster perceived page load speed, but a slower actual speed. I’m happy with this solution as I care more about perceived speed than actual speed.

This tutorial by Keir Whitaker takes the whole thing further by teaching us how to apply Responsive-Enhance in WordPress.

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