Guangzhou Theme – WordPress and bbPress

So finally, after an extended development period and many people asking ‘are you ever releasing it’, I’ve released the theme files for the Guangzhou WordPress and bbPress theme.

As I say elsewhere:

Guangzhou is a two-column fixed width theme for both WordPress and bbPress. It is highly configurable, with two widget areas (sidebar and bottom), as well as customisable skins and many other options. It supports threaded and paged comments, making for very flexible discussion pages, as well as separating pings and trackbacks from comments – essential to keep the flow of conversation consistent.

Guangzhou has been in use on this site for over a year now and drives the appearance of both the main website and support forum. One of the main reasons for selecting bbPress for the forum was it’s integration with WordPress, and this theme brings this even closer.

I even took some extra time to make a short video:

Note that this theme requires WordPress 2.8 or bbPress 1.0

Guangzhou Theme

I’ve had a lot of queries about the theme I’m using on this site and I’ve so far answered that it’s a work-in-development and not quite ready yet. I’ve finally spent some time cleaning it up and before making it publicly available I thought it wise to give it a quick testing cycle. As such, if anyone wants to beta test the Guangzhou theme then drop me a line and I’ll send it on over.

The theme requires WordPress 2.7 or 2.8, and there’s sister theme for bbPress 1.0 (alpha). You will also need a login to this site so I can give you access to the private bug tracker. While the theme has been in use for the better part of year it has been targeted at my own requirements and I’m sure that there will be some changes needed to open it up. Saying that, it is very customisable and allows very tight integration between WordPress and bbPress, as well as Sniplets. It’s fully localised, and if you use a plugin like WP Minify then it will also seamlessly allow you to reduce CSS and JavaScript overheads to a minimum.

Inside WordPress: A series of WordPress guides

I’ve started a series of WordPress guides which I’ve titled ‘Inside WordPress‘. My aim with these is to explain different aspects of WordPress from a practical point of view. That is, they will be focused on showing you how to do things rather than telling you what to do. I’ve already made a start with several guides explaining some of the more simpler aspects of WordPress, as well as some going a little further. The guides will not always be aimed at beginners and, if there is enough interest, I already have plans to dig deep inside the belly of the beast.

The series contains the following new guides:

And I’ve added existing guides into the mix as well:

As with everything else readers are invited to give feedback and ask questions. If there are any areas of WordPress that you are unsure about or would like an in-depth explanation of then please do suggest – it may just be used as the basis for a guide!

Site redesign and new plugin

A new design! I decided I needed a new and fresh look and the result is the still-in-progress ‘Guangzhou’ theme. My hope is that it’s both easier to navigate, as well as being lighter and more suitable for future work. Comments, as always, are welcomed.

In conjunction with the new theme I’ve made use of WP-Cache and Gravatar cache, which should result in a noticeable speed improvement. The site itself has undergone a good clean, with all invalid code being replaced, all dead-links now corrected, and the addition of new sections for software, articles, and about myself.

On top of that I’ve added a new plugin: HTML Purified. This plugin changes the default comment filter and replaces it with HTML Purifier, a very exhaustive library that checks, validates, and corrects HTML. Not that WordPress is insecure by default, but this just beefs it up a notch, and ensures that comments are both safe and XHTML valid.

Giraffe2 – Wonky edition

Four months into the new year and a total of 2 posts. Not so good. I was working on a new version of my Giraffe theme that would allow all the page elements to be dragged around the screen, but it was taking too long and I just didn’t have time to finish it. Instead, I cleaned up what I already had, made it WordPress 2.0 compatible, and dropped in a few new features. Now presenting Giraffe2 – the slightly wonky edition.

The design remains largely the same. There are a few cosmetic changes, such as cleaning up header fonts, but the majority of changes are to increase configurability. To summarize them all:

  • WordPress 2.0 only
  • Supports WordPress widgets
  • Options page now in the ‘Presentation’ section
  • Layout can be configured to contain from 1 to 3 columns, in different sizes
  • Dynamically generated CSS is separated from static CSS (so if you do customize the theme you won’t get annoyed when it starts over-writing all your code)
  • AJAX comments support
  • Footer content can be edited
  • Logo is fully configurable, with a live-update feature – upload your own logos and background, and change sizes and positions
  • Colour skins can now be plugged in
  • Top navigation menu is configurable

Continue reading

AJAX Calendar

After all the hype and bubble-blowing, I decided to dip my little pinkie into the mix and experiment with AJAX. The result has been the release of a new plugin, cleverly titled ‘AJAX Calendar‘. Once installed this allows the standard WordPress calendar function to be enhanced such that:

  • Stepping through the months is now asynchronous, and only updates the calendar
  • Clicking on the calendar title takes you back to the current month
  • Clicking on the funny «-» button will expand the calendar and display the posts headings for that month
  • All content is cached
  • Works in most browsers

The plugin requires modifications to the WordPress theme, although these modifications have been included in version 1.23 of the Giraffe theme.

Have a play.

Giraffe 1.20

It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything here, and this is just going to be a technical post. Based upon feedback from different users, and the general direction of questions, I’ve released quite a major update of the Giraffe theme and plugin. The changes are:

  • Major overhaul of the admin interface – redundant options have been removed, and the interface has been simplified. Where possible I have used diagrams to show what the configuration options will change
  • Easy logos – a ‘logo’ directory now exists within the giraffe theme, and any image placed within here can be selected as the logo by using the admin interface. Additionally, two extra options exist to allow the logo to be randomly selected, and a custom function can be created to select a logo using whatever method you wish
  • Auto-news – the admin interface will now periodically check this website for changes to the theme, and will display this from inside the admin interface. This should make it easier for people to know when the theme has been updated
  • Curved corners and the left bar can be switched off
  • Comments order – comments can be displayed oldest first, or newest first
  • Gravatars – can be disabled
  • Calendar – can be disabled
  • Localization menu – now built into the theme
  • Most W3C validation errors fixed

A side effect of these changes will be that a lot of the administration interface is no longer localized properly. Hopefully it shouldn’t be too long before the new words can be translated.

More posts soon.