Category Archives: WordPress

New Year, New Theme

screenshotI know. I just changed themes back in November. Truth be told I never was quite satisfied with that theme. It was OK, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. So I did what I’ve been putting off for a really long time – I dug into the process of creating a child theme.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with WordPress, or just use it and don’t care how it works, WordPress allows you to create child themes that are based on a parent theme. Think of it this way, when you create a child theme WordPress looks at your theme first. If it finds what it needs it uses it. If not, it looks in the parent theme. The advantage is that you can make all of your changes in the child without harming the parent. Also, if the author of the parent theme updates it you don’t lose all your changes when you upgrade to the new version.

The requirements for a child theme are very simple. You need a folder in your theme directory and a style sheet. You could easily create a child theme that does absolutely nothing by having only those two elements. If you have no other files and nothing beyond what is required in the style sheet your child theme would behave exactly the same as the parent. Exactly. But that would be silly.

I started with Twentytwelve, the latest theme from the creators of WordPress. It was already pretty close to what I wanted, but not quite.

The first thing I changed was the navigation bar. In Twentytwelve it is above the header image. I wanted it below, so I moved it. Of course I wanted to keep Chris Muir’s Day By Day. I’ve displayed that cartoon almost as long as I’ve been blogging. I already had the code to display the strip between the first and second posts on the front page, but now I won’t have to re-insert it if the parent theme gets updated.

Those were the two major coding changes. The rest of the adjustments were cosmetic. On the web cosmetic means CSS. Those changes are easy to do, but the tweaking process can be exasperating and time consuming.

You see the results before you. I’m very pleased with the results. I’m also happy with the things I learned. Let me know what you think.

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Upgrade Day

WordPress 3.3 was released yesterday.

Experienced users will appreciate the new drag-and-drop uploader, hover menus for the navigation, the new toolbar, improved co-editing support, and the new Tumblr importer. We’ve also been thinking a ton about what the WordPress experience is like for people completely new to the software. Version 3.3 has significant improvements there with pointer tips for new features included in each update, a friendly welcome message for first-time users, and revamped help tabs throughout the interface. Finally we’ve improved the dashboard experience on the iPad and other tablets with better touch support.

Of course that means today was update day. All done, painlessly, in less than half an hour.

Empire Avenue


The code above is for Empire Avenue to verify that I am the owner of bRight&Early. Well that’s not a very exciting post. Let me tell you a bit about Empire Avenue.

From their about page:

Empire Avenue is the Social Stock Market, where you can Grow your Social Capital online. Here’s how it works, you get to discover valuable, interesting, cool, fun people online and then based scores or share price, invest virtual currency in their profiles by buying shares in our Social Stock Market. It’s boatloads of fun, and that simple act of buying shares in someone you think is worth your currency, you will create new connections and as people invest in you, grow your own social capital and get more value in and out of your networks!

EAve is a lot of fun. If you look on the sidebar you can see how my stock is doing. I’m trading at 24.831 this morning, up .494 – not bad for my third day. Look for (and invest in) me on Empire Avenue. My stock symbol is JIMBRICK.

As you know, social media sites are huge, and only getting bigger. I’m going to explore it at my bRight & Early backup site on WordPress. Visit that site to discuss social media.

2011 100 Post Marathon #12

Things are picking up. Thank you to those who have donated. A special thanks to those who are spreading the word on Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc. It all helps.

You may have noticed this:

Olimometer 2.52

It’s a WordPress plugin called the Oliometer, made for things like this.

Thanks again. Off to find some stuff to post about.

If you can…

WordPress 3.2

WordPress has released version 3.2 with some really big changes. And not just a few changes, a ton of changes.

The first big changes are the requirements. With this version you must have PHP 5.2.4 or greater (old requirement – since WordPress 2.5 was PHP 4.3 or greater) and MySQL 5.0.15 or greater (old requirement – since WordPress 2.9 was MySQL 4.1.2 or greater).

They have also dropped support for IE 6 and have started the end of life process for IE7.

One of the most noticeable changes, if you choose to use it, is Distraction Free Writing mode.You can access this via the Toggle Fullscreen mode tool in the Visual editor and fullscreen button in the HTML editor. When you do, you are presented with a virtually blank page without all of the buttons, meta boxes and links. It’s just you and your words. However, if you need your most common functions you simply have to move your mouse to the top of the page to add a link or media.

There is also a new default theme, Twenty Eleven. You can read about the many other enhancements on the WordPress 3.2 Codex page.

WordPress 3.1

The latest version of WordPress, version 3.1, has been released. Here are some of the new and improved features.

  • Internal Linking – click a button for an internal link and it allows you to search for a post or browse a list of existing content and select it for inclusion.
  • Admin Bar – contains various links to useful admin screens. By default, the admin bar is displayed when a user is logged in and visiting the site and is not displayed in admin screens for single blog installs. For multisite installs, the admin bar is displayed both when visiting the site and in the admin screens.
  • Streamlined Writing Interface – new users of WordPress will find the write screen much less cluttered than before, as more of the options are hidden by default. You can click on Screen Options in the top right to bring them back.
  • Post Formats – meta information that can be used by themes to customize presentation of a post. Read more in the article Post Formats.
  • Network Admin – move Super Admin menus and related pages out of the regular admin and into a new Network Admin screen.
  • List-type Admin Screens – sortable columns for list-type screens and better pagination.
  • Exporter/Importer Overhaul – many under the hood changes including adding author information, better handling for taxonomies and terms, and proper support for navigation menus.
  • Custom Content Type Improvements – allows developers to generate archive pages, and have better menu and capability controls. Read more in the article Post Types.
  • Advanced Queries – allows developers to query multiple taxonomies and custom fields.
  • Refreshed Blue Admin Color Scheme – puts the focus more squarely on your content.

Upgrading was easy, as expected. It only took about 30 minutes to complete all of my blogs. It’s going to take a while longer to take advantage of all the new features.

WordPress 3.0

WordPress has released version 3.0, completing over 1200 tickets worth of fixes, enhancements, and new features. Here are just a few of the new features:

  • WordPress and WordPress MU have merged, allowing the management of multiple sites (called Multisite) from one WordPress installation.
  • New default theme “Twenty Ten” takes full advantage of the current features of WordPress.
  • New custom menu management feature, allows creation of custom menus combining posts, pages, categories, tags, and links for use in theme menus or widgets.
  • Ability to set the admin username and password during installation.
  • Bulk updating of themes with an automatic maintenance mode during the process.
  • Improved Custom post types and custom taxonomies including hierarchical (category-style) support

And that is just a taste. Here is a short video to give you a quick overview.

I’ve already deployed 3.0 to nine sites, two of them multisite, and the process took less than an hour. The process of using some of the new features is going to take a bit longer. Enjoy.