‘Scuse The Mess

I took the plunge and upgraded Literal Barrage to WordPress 2.1 on Thursday/Friday. I’ve been slowly picking away at the transition, re-enabling plugins, moving old artwork, etc. over. I know there are a bunch of things that still don’t work correctly: contact form, archives and a lot of my old images among them. If you notice any issues, please drop a comment on this story.
Thus far, 2.1 seems to be all-around faster and better put-together than previous versions of WordPress. For those of you following along with my theme development, I’ve moved Elbee to “beta 2” status. Things are progressing nicely (you can follow along with development without even leaving this page – the RSS feed down at the bottom shows the last few Subversion commits that I’ve made on the project).
Note to my hosted sites (Brad, AndyOne and Andy II, I’m looking in your direction particularly): Now’s the time to speak up as to whether you’d like to move from your existing 2.0.x installs to 2.1. (There’s another alternative as well – best email me so we can talk it out…).

A Quick Tip For WordPress Theme Authors

nobrainer nailed me a couple of days ago for not having auto-discoverable feeds on my site. The process for adding them to your WordPress is a rather simple one.
Add the following code to your document’s <head> section (usually header.php in WP themes):

This will alert RSS/Atom-aware browsers of the presence of your RSS, RSS2 and Atom (0.3) feeds. The last portion of the code will alert pingback-aware blogging apps of the pingback URL on each of your pages/posts so that authors linking to your content will automatically be able to generate pingbacks.
Hope this helps a few others out of the sandtrap I found myself in.

A Plea For A Bit Of Help From You IE-Savvy Web Developers Out There

I’m slowly working my way into making Elbee Elgee into a releasable theme and I’ve been merrily plinking away on my MacBook Pro, validating the look and feel in Opera, Safari and Firefox. However, I’ve also been trying to verify it using Internet Explorer while at work and have been driven to distraction by IE’s broken box model and hideous “float:” handling.
I’ve based my three generalized image handling CSS classes on K2‘s since I used it extensively in the past and thus have a lot of posts with “class=’alignright'”, etc., hardcoded into them. I (naively, it seems) thought that K2 had IE behavior down, which apparently is just about the furthest thing from the truth. Stock K2 looks pretty funky in IE, I have to say.
So here’s my quandary: I really, really want my .alignright, .alignleft and .center image classes to work in IE as well as they do in Opera, Safari and Firefox. When I set an image to .alignright, I expect to see the following:
In IE, the text smooshes up against the image and is visible behind the padding and border on the image.
When I set an image to .center, I expect this:
Instead, “centered” images are mashed up against the left side of the story body with the left border and padding cut off.
So all y’all web designers out there, help a fellow traveler out. My base CSS file is available here (just so you don’t have to do a “View Source…” to get it). I know the fix has to be a simple, stupid one that I’m missing, but I’ve kind of exhausted all the tricks I know.

Winning The Battle Of “Iconistan”

Wired News is currently running a piece regarding the proliferation of “Submit my blog entry to…” buttons that have been cropping up hither and yon on blogs of every stripe. The number and proliferation of said buttons is indeed getting to the ridiculous point and, when bloggers actually post links to even the top few sites, the bottoms of their posts begin to look just a wee bit, well, cluttered.
Peering icons.
Into this messy scene rides Alex King to the rescue with his Share This plugin for WordPress. Share This neatly encapsulates many of the top “social” sites’ submission buttons into a single DOM element box that is hidden by default, linked to by a simple “Share This” link and icon unobtrusively tucked away at the end of each WordPress post. (See the bottom of this post, for instance). Using a little Prototype JavaScript magic, clicking on that link pops up that box, giving readers the ability to submit the story to the social networking site of their choice – Fark, digg, reddit, Netscape, Newsvine, etc. It’s a very simple idea that I think goes a long way towards benefitting both readers and blog authors: it (mostly) hides the various multicolored submission buttons from view and keeps blog footers from becoming cluttered while allowing sufficiently-motivated users to submit authors’ content to a wider audience – a real win/win situation, as far as I’m concerned.
As to my particular implementation of Share This: yes, I realize the transparency isn’t working so the ST icon looks a little funky and the default CSS for the pop-up box is fairly hard to read. I’ll work on making those issues go away, but in the meantime – Share This post, won’t you?
(Side note: the ST icon you see is also the work of Alex King, who has started the Share Icons Project, an attempt to standardize these things in the same vein as Feed (RSS/Atom) Icons and the OPML one as well. I like it – simple and effective.)

Firebug: A Web Development Must-Have

I’ve been messing about with Firebug, a web development extension for Firefox. The site itself does a much better job of explaining FB than I ever could, so I would direct you over there for definitive information.
At base, FB exposes everything about the webpages you view, from HTML to CSS to JavaScript to the download times for each portion of your page. It also allows you to change the CSS values for any given DOM element, meaning that you can preview HTML changes in real time. It’s really slick, I have to say. If you have any web design inklings, I’d pretty much say you have to check out Firebug.

Showin’ Off A Bit

I’m experimenting with allowing for custom stylesheets in Elbee Elgee, so don’t be alarmed by the current style. It’s still the same back-end code with a nice ode to the superlative Tarski thrown in for good measure. I’ll likely head back to the blue style in a couple of days, but I would appreciate comments, etc. from you all. Let me know how you think the redesign is coming along, what features you’d like to see, etc. and I’ll see what I can do.

A Move

I’ve been busy all day long and thus haven’t had a chance to post, but I thought I’d note that I’ve abandoned my Google Code project for my theme and have (painstakingly) migrated all changes and changelogs over to my self-hosted Trac install. GC was just too feature-limited – no ability to associate commits with bugs/entries/tickets/etc. was the biggest motivator. Once I release this bad boy, I’d like to see people take up Trac to help in development.
By the way: what do you think of the new sidebar link color? It seems a bit off to me, but I really wanted to differentiate links from text (they were the same color prior to this).