Elbee Elgee Version 1.3/1.3.1 Aka “The Tabbed One”

After a healthy delay, I’ve released Elbee Elgee 1.3 to the Dot Org Theme Repository. I’ve added a few things worth noting.

Tabbed Admin Options

Elbee Elgee Settings  Elbee Elgee  WordPress
The first change that I’m rather proud of is the inclusion of tabbed admin interface elements. While the code powering this setup could use some optimization and simplification, this tabbed step lays the groundwork for some other exciting features I have planned for forthcoming releases.
As you can see in the screenshot above, Elbee Elgee will now detect whether you have BuddyPress and/or bbPress installed and active and will separate out admin elements relating to their functionality into separate tabs. They’re simple examples but they demonstrate the power of this approach.

The Beginnings Of Theme-Wide PHPDoc Documentation

Phpdoc 1
I’ve started documenting the ins and outs of the master parent theme in an effort to both assist my lousy memory and to give pointers to users and (hopefully) other theme devs that choose to use Elbee Elgee as a basis for child themes. All files that originated in this theme should eventually have a PHPDoc doc block at their top and all functions will eventually have associated doc blocks as well.
This is very much a work-in-progress but I hope to have the theme thoroughly documented within the next couple of revisions.

BuddyPress 1.5 Support

The recently-released BuddyPress version has radically changed the way many of BP’s core functions work. I’ve adjusted the included theme templates included in Elbee Elgee to compensate for this and am fairly confident that this theme is one of the few freely-available themes out there to offer such.

bbPress 2.0 (Final) Support

There have been some minor revisions in support for bbPress. Not much changed between 2.0 betas and the final release, so not much has changed internal to Elbee.

bbPress Single-Column Layout Support

Disabling bbpress
Tucked away in the new bbPress tab you will see the options shown at right.
Previously, theme users employing 2- and 3-column layouts were potentially constrained in their forum views. Personally, I feel like bbPress tends to feel a bit “cramped” in the cases where it has to contend with sidebars.
In order to address this, I added the ability to disable the default sidebars and default footer widget areas.
Check out the examples below for a taste of what I’m talking about.

Regular Layout

Here we have an example of the standard 2 column layout.

No Sidebars

Sidebar disabled
And here’s what it looks like without sidebars. Much breezier, no?

No Nothin’

All disabled 1
Here we have both sidebars and footers disabled, for those who really dislike widget areas cramping their style.

CSS-Only Drop-Down Multi-Level Menu Support

Drop downs 1
Previously, Elbee Elgee had no support for drop-down/multi-level navigation menus, so I simply limited the main menu display to the top level. However, version 1.3/1.3.1 have addressed this flaw in the default stylesheet (ng.css). This menu setup should work in all modern browsers — no JavaScript needed. Please let me know if you find otherwise.

1.3 And 1.3.1? Huh?

1.3, the version currently available in the WordPress.org theme repository, actually contains a small bug that will incorrectly limit layout options if you have bbPress enabled. I’m in the process of getting 1.3.1 approved and your auto-updaters should pick up the update as soon as it’s cleared by the Theme Review Team.
In the meantime, if you want to grab a copy of 1.3.1 to install directly:

  1. Click over onto the Bitbucket download.
  2. Unzip the zipfile. This should create a directory zamoose-elbee-elgee-0e0b34ec56d6.
  3. Rename zamoose-elbee-elgee-0e0b34ec56d6/ to elbee-elgee/.
  4. Remove/set aside your existing elbee-elgee/ directory under wp-content/themes/.
  5. Upload that local elbee-elgee/ directory to your wp-content/themes/ directory.
  6. Visit the theme settings page and make sure that everything seems correct.

Issues? Problems? Bugs?

As always, please drop me a line in my support forums. Thanks!

Announcing: Elbee Elgee

I’m excited to announce the first public release of my oft-delayed theme, Elbee Elgee. It’s available right now over at its page on WordPress.org. I’ve been working on this for the better part of the last few years, picking at the code here and there but never with any real drive towards a release.

Why Release A “New” Theme?

As I said above, I’ve been kicking this theme around for several years. It’s been the engine powering Literal Barrage (in various incarnations) and I’ve always meant to release it, though I’ve always lacked the motivation.
Then came Oenology and Ghostbird.
Chip and Michael’s respective theme releases lit a fire under my butt and I decided to get the theme into shape for release.
I wanted to make sure I understood the WordPress theme development process from front to back and I wanted to integrate some ideas that had been floating around in my head since I published my original theme options page tutorial.
After several rounds of bugfixes and refinements, I cleared the WordPress Theme Review Team’s review process and, well, you can see the result over at the official demo site (or you can check out your current surroundings — Literal Barrage is running a child theme of Elbee Elgee).

What’s so exciting about Elbee Elgee?

I’m pretty psyched about several noteworthy features that I’ve included in this theme. Check ’em out below.
Continue reading “Announcing: Elbee Elgee”

Tips For The Crew That Attended The Philly WordPress Meetup, August 11, 210

Bonnie Vasko has already posted a brief summary of Wednesday night’s “inaugural” Philly WordPress Meetup, so I thought I’d simply take a moment to document some of the resources we talked about in the “advanced”/developer session. Hopefully some of the other attendees will find them useful.
We talked briefly about

I’m sure there are some other things I’m forgetting to mention, so if anyone has anything more to contribute (or further questions), please just drop a comment.
I’m looking forward to the next meetup!

WordPress Hg

I’ve really caught the Mercurial bug recently and have begun chewing coworkers’ ears off about its benefits. I’ve been looking into ways to integrate it into my WordPress-related efforts and, inspired by this recent post on the WP Devel blog announcing a github effort to make WP available via git, I decided to set up an Hg clone (haw!) of the core WordPress codebase.
It’s available here over on BitBucket and, unlike Nikolai’s effort (which only appears to track trunk), I started my clone at the root of the Subversion repository, meaning that all branches and tags are (theoretically) accounted for. I’m currently syncing the two repos by-hand but am working on an automated process that should push changes from the core WordPress SVN server to BitBucket fairly quickly.
I’ll post again later to demonstrate my full process for accomplishing this — it was astonishingly easy, to be honest.
In the meantime, get cloning!

Lessons Learned At WordCamp NYC 2009

Or: Britney Spears’ Lack Of Underwear Is Matt Mullenweg’s Go-To Example For Information He Doesn’t Care About
Based upon my Twitter stream from this past weekend, one could easily enough have guessed that I spent Saturday and Sunday up in New York City for WordCamp New York City 2009. I had a great time overall, as did pretty much everyone else, at least those that I spoke to.
The recaps of the weekend have already begun to trickle in, of both the written and visual varieties and, while I took some decent notes (and some horrendous iPhone shots), I think the summations are actually better left to those other folks.
Instead of a true summary, I thought I’d rattle off a bunch of impressions and Lessons Learned from the weekend, presented hereafter in no particular order.

  • There are still many, many folks that don’t understand the implications of GPL licensing, some of whom have developed business models based upon these flawed understandings. As you can imagine, significant drama has resulted (needlessly, in my opinion).
  • Mark Jaquith is tall, and unexpectedly so at that. His Twitter avatar simply does him no justice. (Also, Jane looks nowhere near as much like Tina Fey as her Gravatar would let on…)
  • Elastic is stone-cold awesome. I don’t know that it’s the “future of themes and a replacement for parent/child themes” as was claimed, but it is a highly impressive piece of work. It’s a little raw, but it shows some serious promise.
  • Matt jokingly refers to a blazer over an open-collared dress shirt paired with jeans as his signature look. You’re likely to get ribbed if you’re similarly attired in his general vicinity.
  • There are a lot of folks out there who willingly spend money on plugins and themes without realizing that much of what they’re looking for can be had for free. When confronted with this evidence, many are still willing to pay.
  • Non technically inclined folks are willing to pay for someone to be a “Personal Technology Coach”.
  • Non technically inclined folks are also now looking to perform installations of WordPress on their own (with maybe some help from their PTCs…). This, in professional wrestling parlance, would be known as getting “over” with the crowd.
  • When will WordPress finally dump PHP4? When usage goes to sub-10% levels. According to Matt, 14% of users whose hosts report back are still saddled with it. Almost there.
  • The walk from 23rd and Broadway to 25th and Lexington can be made to seem twice as long as the walk from 23rd and Lexington to Penn Station through the simple addition of a nice soaking rain.
  • Stephane is every bit as affable and nice a person as one could ever hope to encounter.
  • BuddyPress is hot, very hot (from a client and developer interest standpoint). The majority of the non-techy types at the camp were very excited by it, as were a goodly number of the techies it seemed.
  • The commuter NJT trains are double-deckers.
  • Folks talk about using “theme frameworks” or “parent/child themes”. What they actually mean is: “I use Thematic for everything, took a look at Hybrid once and actively scorn what the Thesis folks are doing”, all of which speaks extremely well for the effort Ian has put into Thematic. Seriously, most other options beyond Thematic seemed to get mentioned almost as afterthoughts and, well, see the point about GPL issues above in re: the reception for Thesis.
  • If I ever volunteer to help run a WordCamp or even volunteer at one, I am likely to be enlisted as a bouncer/security.
  • bbPress continues to be the red-headed step-cousin of the WordPress family, though the ease with which BuddyPress integrates it may well be its salvation.
  • Matt is personally looking for apps coded on top of WordPress that
    1. Create a record/LP catalog that allows for collection management (an “iTunes for records”, if I recall his phrase correctly)
    2. Function as note-taking/mind-mapping software, allowing the collection of seemingly arbitrary bits of information and then the categorization of said info later (I almost thought of it as a plea for a Yojimbo/DevonThink-style app).

    Enterprising developers, take note: I seem to recall him offering to buy dinner for anyone that came up with successful implementations of either of those ideas.

  • Matt Martz aka “sivel” is an incredibly decent human being and should be bought a beer, if ever the chance arises. (If we’re both at WCNYC next year, Matt, mark me down for one.)
  • I am never attending another conference in which I do not drop my luggage off at the hotel prior to attending. Seriously felt like a Bedouin tribesman for the better part of two days. Tangential point: all my luggage must have wheels from here on out.
  • If there’s any justice in this world, canonical plugins will come to be, and sooner rather than later. Also: “canonical” is a bit too value-laden and perhaps pejorative. Suggestions for another name for the concept are welcome.
  • The “rivalry” between Six Apart and Automattic in no way, shape or form extends to Anil Dash and Matt Mullenweg. Anil compared it to how Nas and Jay Z rip on each other on their albums yet stay friends behind the scene — people always want to see a little bit of drama, a little bit of tension. (I compared it to faces and heels in the WWE, a concept which he agreed, if only in part. *grin*) No word on who gets to be Nas and who gets to be Jay Z in this scenario.He’s also fairly worried about what Tim O’Reilly is calling The War of the Web, which also plays into the GPL vs. pro/premium/pay/non-free discussions.
  • As has been rumored, one of Matt’s prime goals for WordPress 3.0 is to retire WordPressMU and integrate its functionality with the core .org product. The MU functionality will likely be hidden by default and enabled by an addition or tweak to wp-config.php.
  • Day-parking in New York is apparently cheaper than in Philadelphia. Thanks for nothing, PPA.
  • People continue to be excited about WordPress and are using it in really cool and creative ways and it’s very hard, if not impossible, to not get excited right along with them.
  • Microsoft is willing to show their metaphorical face at a WordCamp. They even brought t-shirts and X-Boxes.

There’s a ton of stuff I’m forgetting at this point, but if you really had to take a few simple things away from #wcnyc, let them be: Elastic is awesome, everyone is using Thematic, no more MU past WP3.0, and if you’re a developer looking for paid work, get familiar with BuddyPress, STAT.
I’m already looking forward to 2010 (assuming that Jane and Steve have fully recovered by then… *grin*)

Traffic Surfing

So last week was fun, traffic-wise. Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds posted a link to an older entry of mine on the same day that he opined about the prevalence of “Can’t connect to database” errors that WordPress-powered sites tend to throw under load. Fortunately for me, I had anticipated just such a meteoric rise to Cylon-powered stardom and installed Donncha’s WP Super Cache plugin, and lo!, all was well. Unfortunately, as the above graph shows, few of those inbound links resulted in follow-on visits. Ingrates! Trespassers! Users! Fie!
The link resulted in my single highest day’s traffic and my single highest week’s aggregate traffic, which is definitely nice, considering my highest-trafficked pieces to date have been my contributions to Teh Internets’ vast archive of Scottish Slang. So, you know, net benefit and all that.

It’s Friday, You Ain’t Got No Job, You Ain’t Got No Money

…But you sure-as-heck have stuff to do, namely: check these links! Foo!
All you Philly area WordPressers take note: Matt Mullenweg will be in town next week and attending a meetup on Thursday. Grab a stool and swing by (well, not in that order necessarily…).
Quaker Oats: Scottish Edition, possessors of the finest box logo known to humanity:
Perfect for stuffing a haggis!
A sysadmin’s worst nightmare:

I physically cringed upon viewing that video.
Continue reading “It’s Friday, You Ain’t Got No Job, You Ain’t Got No Money”

Got WordPress 2.5 Questions? WTC Has Answers.

Weblog Tools Collection has posted an incredibly thorough FAQ covering many of the issues surrounding the release of WP 2.5, such as:

Q. Where are my Post Categories and Tags when writing a Post?
A. Scroll down below the Post content box.
Q. How do I rearrange the order Advanced Options boxes like Custom Fields and Excerpt?
A. This is no longer possible.
Q. I don’t see a link to edit a user’s name.
A. In the table of Users, click on the name (represented as a link), to edit that user’s information.

If you’ve not yet made the jump, I would suggest that you do so. The back-end admin interface is far nicer than previous versions and WP 2.3 and earlier (with the exception of the 2.0.x branch) are now EOL’d and will not receive further security updates.
I managed to upgrade LB.org over the course of 20 minutes or so on Saturday — betcha didn’t even notice a difference. I sure have…