Archive for the ‘WordPress’ Category

A major new addition to WordPress 3.0 were custom menus. This gave you the ability to have full control over your menus, and removed the need for several plugins that performed various functions such as excluded pages from the menu, set pages to auto redirect to a custom link and my own page menu editor, which allows you to edit the menu label and title attribute to be different from the page title. It also removes the need for setting up ordering using the menu order option in the page attributes (and then deciding to insert another page and having to reorder all pages after it!).

Custom menus are so simple to set up with just a few lines of code needed to get started, and then you can make use of the Appearance -> Menus section within the admin. A simple drag and drop system which allows you to create menus consisting of page, post, category, custom post type, custom taxonomy and custom links. It's so much more flexible.

To get started with custom menus I recommend reading Justin Tadlock's tutorial which tells you everything you need to know – WordPress custom menus. Well, almost everything, there is one item missing from his tutorial (although it may have been added since I last read through it), which is how he has the CSS class, link relationship and description showing in his second screenshot. To get this you need to open up the screen options section up at the top of the screen and you'll see the extra boxes that you can tick to display (or not as the case may be).

We now use custom menus on every new site we set up, and we even use one for the site map as it makes more sense to do so. If you've not already started using them then I highly recommend learning and switching to them.

I'm a bit behind on my various blog posts here so for some people you may think this is old news, but for plenty more there are still lots of fab new features that have come into WordPress over the past 18 months, and as I haven't written about them yet I want to start now :)

Rather than writing out and repeating how to do everything, I've decided to just link to the tutorials and sites that I used to learn these features, and just add my own notes instead. However, of course I'm always happy to answer questions and help via the comments section.

Featured Images

This came in WordPress 2.9. Before this specific option, you could still create a featured image by attaching an image to a page or post via the media uploader and then using a bit of querying to pull it out and display it. Trouble was, it was a bit of a hassle and hard to explain to clients or less advanced users. Bring on the Featured Image. A way to allow posts and/or pages to have a single specified image that just required one line of code in your theme file to display.

I think the best post on this subject has to be from Mark Jaquith – Post Thumbnail Images (note, this was their name before it changed to 'Featured Image'). He covers everything you really need to know.

Featured images brings a whole host of new options. It's far simpler to create a photo blog with them for a start, and I can remember helping people out in the past where they used the categories and posts system to hold product details for a catalogue style site. Before it was a case of upload and attach the product photo (or several) to the post, and explain to the client to put the main one at the top using the order system, so that you could code in the theme to pull the first one out larger, and then perhaps show small thumbnails of the rest. Now you can simply tell them to use the featured image which can easily be displayed in product listings, and as a larger image on the main product page, with any additional images added via the media uploader and displayed as thumbnails.

This is just a simple example of how this can be used :)

Whenever I think things are slowing down for me, suddenly life gets busier again! At least it's not quite as stressful as this time last year.

From a personal point of view I've been window shopping online and working out everything I need for my wedding which is now in 10 weeks time! It's quite fun, especially as I enjoy shopping!, and we're both really looking forward to the day when it finally arrives. It'll be great to see all of our family and friends, and the food sounds fantastic :)

Workwise we've been quite busy. I've been working a lot on a calendar availability system using jQuery and PHP to control it, update dynamically and refresh to keep the calendar updated between a number of users. It's a bit of a challenge and a lot of reading to find out how to do things and how to do them the most efficiently, however it's great fun and different from the normal websites we work on.

I've managed to get a migration script in place for my Page Menu Editor plugin for WordPress. About 6 weeks ago I discovered that the developer on the All in one SEO pack plugin had integrated my code into his plugin at the request of a number of users, which rendered mine a bit obsolete when both are running. However, there was no migration script and he'd used different option names to me, so nothing was copied over. Having both plugins on a number of sites myself, it's a pain to sit and copy it all over manually. So I've now set up a simple migration to allow users to do it themselves if they wish, so if you do use both plugins then an upgrade should be coming through soon with the new migration system.

Finally, our new venture Blog Themes Club is going well. We've added a new theme and I've been adding a number of additional page templates to all our themes to hopefully give our users more than just a basic theme. We're looking to add another new theme next month too and have plenty of ideas for themes to keep us going for a while.

It's all going well :)

Blog Themes Club Logo I've been a bit quiet again recently. Besides doing the whole house hunting thing again (more on that another time!), I've been working with Kevin from BloggingTips on a new site for WordPress Themes called Blog Themes Club.

Club Membership

The site is primarily a themes club (in case you hadn't already guessed that!), selling 3, 6 and 12 month membership plans which will allow users to sign in, download and use any of our themes available, get updates of the themes as soon as they're available, get quality support via our private support forum and also via a support desk.

The membership prices are below however we've also reduced these until 1st August as we appreciate that starting with 4 themes isn't a large amount, however our prices are based more on support and continued upgrades:

  • 3 months membership$49 $29
  • 6 months membership$79 $49
  • 12 months membership$99 $69

Single Purchases

Going from experience I know a club membership isn't for everyone, and not everyone will need support or want more than one theme, so we've also got the option to purchase themes individually for a single use. This option doesn't come with any support, but the themes themselves go from $19 which we think is a fairly reasonable price.

Also until July 31st 2009 you can get 25% off the purchase of any Single Use purchase by entering the discount code LAUNCH25 during the checkout process.

Theme Designs

Of course we're aiming to cover all the subject areas that a design can be used for with WordPress including Blogging, CMS, Photoblogs, eCommerce and more. We've already got another theme almost ready to go plus a 6th is being planned ready for design soon. We're hoping to add at least one new theme per 2 months and of course keep our current ones up to date.

Win membership for a month!

To celebrate the launch of Blog Themes Club we are giving away 10 membership accounts for free to readers. These accounts are valid for one month. During that time you will be able to download all of our themes and get daily support.

To enter the competition all you have to do is help us spread the word of our site via Twitter. All you need to do is:

  • Follow us on Twitter @BlogThemesClub
  • Tweet or ReTweet the folling message via Twitter :

    @BlogThemesClub have just launched their new wordpress themes club http://tinyurl.com/n7rhnh – 10 memberships up for grabs in a competition

  • Leave a comment linking to the status link of your tweet on our launch post

The deadline for this competition is Sunday 21st June 2009. Therefore, no tweets after midnight Eastern Time (New York Timezone) on Sunday (about 5am GMT) will be counted. We will select the winners randomly and do our best to announce the winners the following day.

» Read our launch post – Blog Themes Club Opens

Last week I wrote about using WordPress for Project Management and it got mixed responses. However, I know how I want to set things up and WordPress is perfect for what I've got in mind.

Maybe I need to elaborate on a couple of things. At most we have maybe 3 or 4 people on a project, or sometimes it's just the two of us, so standard project management software is too excessive for our needs. All I need to do is create a post, write a to do list, add the initials after each item for the person who's dealing with it, and that's it. Then we can just make comments on the post with questions and/or updates about the work. The comments are timestamped which obviously helps, and I'll get an email for every comment. You can also subscribe to the comment feed for each post, so all everyone else will need is a lightweight feedreader and they can just add the comment feed for current work posts to keep up with the discussion.

It's simple, but that's all we need. Somewhere for me to list the work needing to be done that we can all access, and somewhere to share the discussion, where the discussion is logged for future reference.

Today I decided to try out a plugin called Allow Categories which allows you to restrict any non Admin to only see posts from specific categories. This isn't to try and hide our work from the freelancers that we employ, but more to simply reduce what they need to wade through really. The restriction/hiding of posts works fine, however all categories were still being displayed in the category list in the sidebar, so after various attempts I've managed to use a function to override the wp_list_categories() output, and remove the specific categories that shouldn't be displayed.

I've added my first actual project post for a new site that needs to be sorted out over the next couple of weeks. It took me all of a couple of minutes to type up what needed doing plus leave a comment with an update of what we were still waiting for from the client and what could be started.

Besides adding the other projects that are currently on, I just need to work out how I want the front page to work and look. So far so good :)

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