July 9, 2009
Theme Update

I’ve updated my “Baseball 1” theme…. FINALLY! I have changed it to take advantage of the new functionality in WordPress 2.7, mainly the threaded comments functionality. Not that I get that many commenters here (haven’t had a comment since May 26), but if someone else decides to use any of my themes, THEY might have commenters!

I’ve also changed the CSS to take advantage of the gecko and webkit based browsers. (No, Internet Explorer STILL isn’t adhering to W3C standards, even in version 8!) While this version is working, I’m planning to change certain things to make that particular functionality work in all browsers. The thing is, it will increase the CSS file from using three lines per tag to about 16 lines per tag; plus I’ll have to add javascript (which means if someone has scripting turned off in their browser the site will not be rendered properly). Ahhhh – the “beauty” if IE.

Now all I’ve got to do is get that new functionality working and then update my other themes.

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March 28, 2009

Oh, yeah! Got the Foxy Tunes plugin installed and working now – not sure why it didn’t work before and I never really investigated it. Now I can add the “listening to” part of the signature to my posts. It pulls the info from Winamp (my music player of choice) and adds it and a link to the song on Foxy Tunes. Gotta love it!

Also, I got rid of the WordPress ALinks plugin. It was slowing down the render time of my blog and of the admin panels of my blog. Plus, the plugin hadn’t had any updates for quite a while and it was showing its age (due to the noticeable slowness). The biggest reason I decided to drop it was that the web site is no longer functional. So I found a different plugin that did the same thing: Automatic SEO Links. It does basically the same thing as ALinks but is MUCH smaller. The web pages seem to render effortlessly, much faster than before.

Listening to: Lynn Allen – Last Night
via FoxyTunes

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January 29, 2009
I Have a Website?!

With the lack of posts lately, you’d wonder. I’ve been busy getting my church’s website up and running and putting content on the site. It looks OK. It’s a modified WordPress site. If you want, you can see it by clicking here. It’s not all that involved (yet) and I’m the only one putting any content there so far. Right now there’s a small amount of content out there. The Pastor and I both envision our ministry committee chairs and some of our youth driving the content of the site; well, at least that’s the plan. I don’t want to be the only one determining content… heck, I don’t want to be the only want determining the way the site looks!

At next month’s church board meeting I plan on giving a presentation on how to use the website to enter content – WordPress makes it pretty easy to enter text and media content if you are at least have a minimum of computer literacy. Here’s hoping that I get a few others fired up about putting content on the site. Also, I’ll have to give some WordPress lessons to our church secretary as she handles our monthly newsletter and creates all of the worship service programs as well.

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January 8, 2009

While I’m no expert at all the nuances of WordPress, ESPECIALLY the newest version 2.7, I do know a little bit about it. As my dad used to say “You can put all I know in a thimble and still have room for your finger in there.” :) Anyway, back to the point. I have used popup comments for a long time. I guess it’s a carry over from when I used to use first Blogger and later Movable Type (no, I’m NOT going back). But I like them. It gives you the ability to look at the post in the original window of your browser and make your comment in a new, smaller window that “housed” all of the comments and the comment form. I like that and my themes have all used the popup comment form – all that I had to do was remove the commenting from one line of php in the head section and the popup comment form was used.

Why am I saying all this? Well, after much searching and checking of sources I have come to the conclusion that the new commenting features in WordPress 2.7 are NOT available when using the popup comment form. If there are any WordPress Jockeys reading this, please inform me if I’m wrong and point me to where an explanation is of how to use the new features (threading and replying to comments) on popup comments.

What that means is that when I update my themes to use WordPress 2.7, I’ll include legacy support which will use popup comments on WordPress versions older than 2.7 and on-page comments with WordPress 2.7 and newer. This is not a bad thing, but it is a change for me as a theme designer; and, it’s more than change for the sake of change.

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January 2, 2009

The new version of WordPress, 2.7, allows for what are called child themes. To use these child themes, one has to come up with a parent theme. Think of it this way: a parent theme is the layout of the page, the child theme is the coloring. In a way, I’ve been doing this kind of theme designing for WordPress since I’ve gotten “serious” about it. I start with a particular layout and change the coloring, the images used and a few other frilly things like fonts and spacing and such and voilĂ ! – a new theme! What is possible now with WordPress 2.7 is to take the CSS and functions file out of the theme and then make it into a parent theme; then take that same parent and use it as a framework to make several similar themes that look different but use the same underlying code. Nice! So I can use my code base from Iowa Winter 2 and use it as a parent theme and then set up a number of child themes based on it.

Of course, first I want to figure out the new functions in WordPress 2.7 and add them to the theme group so they are all “up to snuff”. Still working on that one. I’ll probably release all themes with updates for WordPress 2.7 individually and then go back and rework them into parent/children groups. However, at the rate I seem to work on them now, it may take months! :)

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December 11, 2008
It’s Here!

And I’ve got it installed now. WordPress 2.7! While there isn’t any change yet on the site, the back end is COMPLETELY different. I like the change; now I have to learn where everything is and then I need to update my themes to allow for the new features in this version. Seems my calendar program will take a back seat again…

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December 10, 2008
Theme Change

I was kind of hesitant to change themes right now as the WordPress 2.7 update is coming soon (Release Candidate 2 was just issued today). It has a bunch of new functionality that I’ll have to add in to my themes, which is why I’m kind of hesitant to change themes. However, with winter upon us here (we had snow yesterday, AFTER the rain and ice) it was definitely time to change.

Once 2.7 comes out, I’ll be working to make my themes compatible with it while maintaining backward compatibility. I suppose I could start that any time as there are articles out there about the major changes in 2.7… anyway, enjoy one of my most-downloaded themes: Iowa Winter 2.

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September 18, 2008
Newest Theme

Here it is, my newest theme. The one I’ve been working on for a while. I finally figured out how to style the tag cloud in order to get the tag cloud to fit “inside” the area.

Anyway, there’s a story behind this one. I was looking at my kids’ senior pictures a couple of weeks ago and decided I really like the look of the “centerpiece” frames we got for them. You see, these frames hold one 8″x10″ picture and four of the 4″x6″ proofs. They really look nice with rounded edges on the oak border around the pictures. That’s when it hit me: “Hey, I could make a WordPress theme that looks like that!” So I set about creating such a look. The disaster happened shortly after I began when I lost my USB flash drive with all the preliminary work on it. So much for backups, huh?

So the end result is what you see here. Wooden Picture Frame. If you like it, it is available for download here. The wiki article describing the theme and additional download links is here.

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