How to Get your Post Thumbnail’s Width and Height

In Settings > Media, you are able to set only the height or width of the Thumbnail images and WordPress will resize them proportionally (i.e.: if you have a fixed height, then the widths will vary depending on your uploaded image dimension, and vice versa).

Inside the loop, you can get a thumbnail’s width, height and URL using this code:

$imgdata = wp_get_attachment_image_src( get_post_thumbnail_id(), 'thumbnail' );
$imgurl = $imgdata[0]; // the url of the thumbnail picture
$imgwidth = $imgdata[1]; // thumbnail's width
$imgheight = $imgdata[2]; // thumbnail's height

For the second parameter of the wp_get_attachment_image_src function you can also use ‘medium’, ‘large’ and ‘full’. They correspond to the dimension for the other sizes in Settings > Media.

Read more about the wp_get_attachment_image_src function.

WordPress 3.0 Theme Development Links

These are some of the best, currently available resources on the various WordPress 3.0 features relevant to theme development. I’ve been using and growing this list personally for a while as a sort of launchpad and they should be enough for most development needs.

There are plenty other resources, tutorials, and tips out there that I do not include here, though. For that, Google is your friend.

Menu

Custom Post Types

Custom Taxonomies

Multisite

Custom Header and Background

Editor Styles

New Theme Template Files

Miscellanea

Understand Child Themes, Hooks, Actions and Filters in Five Minutes

What on earth are they?

Example time. A theme you like uses <h2> tag for post titles. You hate that and want <h1> instead.

The old, boring way is you open the theme files, starting from index.php, changing all <h2> tag to <h1>, then moving to the other files: archives.php, tag.php, category.php, doing the same thing over and over again, hoping you don’t miss anything.

Gah!

That is not clever because a) it’s too much work, and b) when the theme is updated, you’re screwed.

Wouldn’t it be better if you could just a) write the change once, have it applied globally, while b) at the same time not modifying the theme’s code?

Yes. Yes of course. And you can do just that by mastering the art of child theming, Hooks, Actions and Filters.

Enter Child Theme

Child theme is a lazy developer’s best friend.

A child theme is everything its parent is, except for the changes you add that make it awesome-er.

When you use a child theme, WordPress will check whether it has the usual PHP files. You know, index.php, header.php, the likes. If your child theme has it, great, WordPress will happily use it. If not, WordPress will smile at it knowingly and use its parent’s files instead.

BAM! Now you understand how parent-child theme works in WordPress.

Every theme can be a parent theme, but some are especially kind and beneficial to their children. They are usually known as theme frameworks. Ever heard of them?

They make the best parents for various reasons (good coding practice, built-in SEO), but in this case it is because they have hooks aplenty.

Hooks, Filters, Actions!

Hooks are marked places on a theme. The start of the comment area. The post meta. And so on.

Actions and Filters are the things you can do at those places.

Actions do stuff. Like showing a picture of kitten after your post title. Filters specifically deals with modifying texts (or HTML, same thing). Words go into your Filter and come out differently. Profanities get Filtered into ****s. <h2>s to <h1>s.

Let’s repeat that.

Hooks: places. Actions: doing things. Filters: changing texts.

Theme frameworks are smart because they are made to be modified. Those clever guys and girls who wrote them know that you want to add stuff between your post title and content, that you want to change the wordings on your comment forms, so they add tons of useful hooks in their frameworks for you to use in your child theme.

Hooks are provided by the parent theme. Actions and Filters you write yourself in your child theme’s functions.php.

And that is all.

Recap

Think of an awesome theme to create. Or a neat feature to add. Use a theme framework as a parent. Create a child theme. Use parent’s Hooks to add Actions and Filters. Joy.

Further reading

Once you grasp the concept, visit these places to learn the technical sides.

How To Modify WordPress Themes The Smart Way by Ian Stewart. Explains all of these concepts with easy to follow examples.

Adding Custom WordPress Hooks by Benedict Eastaugh. For when you want to create your own theme framework.

Plugin API : Hooks, Actions and Filters at the WordPress Codex. Plugin? Yeah. Hooks, Actions and Filters were initially features that has to do with plugin creation.

Theme Options UI: Consistency Matters!

Just tweeted this:

Doing it right: #genesiswp ‘s theme options UI mimics WP’s look instead of having its own fancy UI.

Consistency Matters

A lot of you must have seen how various WordPress themes have different theme options UI design. Most of them opt for pretty looking options page with labels, inputs, buttons, icons, and forms that look wildly different from the rest of the Dashboard.

If your theme is like that, you’re doing it wrong.

Huh? Why?

Tutorial: Using jQuery Masonry with WordPress

Need help implementing Masonry? Hire me at Microlancer.

This is a short tutorial on integrating Masonry, the jQuery layout plugin, with your WordPress site. We will try to use that jQuery plugin to show a list of posts in a neatly stacked layout, similar to the one I have down here. Here’s an explanation about Masonry, from it’s home page:

Think of it as the flip side of CSS floats. Whereas floating arranges elements horizontally then vertically, Masonry arranges elements vertically then horizontally according to a grid. The result minimizes vertical gaps between elements of varying height, just like a mason fitting stones in a wall.

Here’s a visual explanation, which I took and edited to fit my layout. Pay attention to the numbers, which shows the order of the elements in your HTML code:

Read the rest of this tutorial→

How to Develop a Theme on a Live Site in WordPress

A quick post to show what I just discovered. Recently I had a case where I needed to show a static coming soon page for non logged-in visitors, but had to show the fully working theme to admin users because the development was done live.

A little Googling got me to this WordPress Maintenance Mode Without a Plugin tutorial by Sivel. It’s a three parts, real quick tutorial that allows for:

  • Maintenance mode both for a certain or indefinite duration.
  • Style-able maintenance mode notification page.
  • Show normal blog to logged-in users.
  • Easily turned-off maintenance mode, since you just add a few files to the WordPress installation and can delete those when you’re done.

Another neat things is that it is done using a maintenance mode mechanism already built-in in WordPress (didn’t know it has that). It works just as expected and when the development is done I can remove the files (only two of them) and everything will be back to normal.

Additionally, another simple way to do this is to serve/create a different, maintenance style theme for non-logged in visitors. User Theme is a plugin that allows for that, but I have yet to test how it works.

I’m sure this is a pretty common situation, so how do you guys do it?

Getting Your WordPress Themes Ready for Apple iPad

So you want to get your themes ready for the newly released Apple iPad? Worry not, take a deep breath and follow this simple checklist:

  1. Do nothing.

Done. And no, that is not a joke. Generally you won’t have to do anything since iPad’s Mobile Safari is a full-fledged browser comparable to desktop browsers, supporting modern web practices of (X)HTML/CSS/JS and even HTML5 and CSS3.

There are some points I want to mention, though: design consideration, specific things you can do on iPad’s browser, and more.

Read the rest of this entry→

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Latest Links More →

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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