Sparkling is a popuplar free WordPress theme on wordpress.org right now. It’s nice an clean, and I recently recommended it to a client. The one thing both my client and I didn’t really like about the theme is how it handles static front pages. There’s a specific template file for them with a full-width layout, that also hides the page’s title. This is probably great for some users, but my client preferred to keep the sidebar and display the page’s title.
To work around this in a way that didn’t require a child theme or modyfications to the original theme, I wrote a little plugin. All it does is call the regular page template instead of front-page.php, when a page is set as the front page.
If you’re using Sparkling, and would like to try the plugin, you can download it from Github. The plugin will work for other themes as well, but I’ve not tested this.
RT Bypass Sparkling Front Page Template
There are plenty of way to have “automated” newsletters sent out based on your WordPress blog’s RSS feed. Feedburner and MailChimp, among other do this, and there’s nothing wrong with those services.
However, if you’d want to write content specifically for your weekly e-mail, RSS is not ideal. High quality e-mailings usually don’t simply copy blog posts, they’re carefullt crafted by copywriters to get as much response as possible. That’s why the idea of a newsletter-theme has been floating around in my head. Here’s what I’m thinking might work…
More Idea: A WordPress theme for e-mail newsletters?
For a project I’m working on, I needed to create a split menu, where the top level navigation was in a horizontal menu in the header, with all underlying content listed elsewhere on the page. This turned out to be a little harder than I had anticipated, but I managed to get it working. Here’s how I did it. Feel free to add suggestions in the comments if you see room for improvement.
More Creating a split menu in WordPress 3.0
The templating system in WordPress is very flexible, and there’s rarely something you can’t do or that doesn’t work as you’d expect. A notable exception however is
the_date. Its purpose is simple enough. It displays the current post’s date of creation. But on pages with more than one post (such as on many blog home pages), something weird happens. If a number of posts on any given page were created on the same date,
the_date will only show that date for the first of those posts.
In the early days of blogging, posts were usually listed by date, much like a regular, paper diary. In the old default theme that comes with WordPress a big date title is used to separate posts into days. That’s what
the_date was created to do, and so it makes sense it only displays the same date once. In most modern themes however, people like the date to be among the meta data for each article, so
the_date falls short.
More How to show each post’s date in WordPress
If you want to include an email link in a WordPress template, or any other web page for that matter, its advisable to ‘obfuscate’ the address. Unfortunately, spammers scour the web to harvest email addresses, so if you simply place your address online, you’re very likely to get a some extra unwanted email. That’s where obfuscation comes in.
More Obfuscate email addresses using PHP
I changed themes mid December, and according to googlebot’s stats, pages have been taking twice as long to load since then. This got me thinking. What was it I added that caused this? Surely I didn’t make the pages twice as heavy?
More What’s slowing down my blog?
I’ve been meaning to redesign this blog for a while now. Most of all I wanted a better sidebar setup which would accommodate more links and wider
ads widgets. In fact, the old Papertrail theme I was using has only a very rudimentary widget support, and with the recent success of this blog I needed more flexibility.
Although still a work in progress, I quite like the results so far. It’s cleaner, it uses less Flash(*) and it loads extremely fast. The design still needs work and I definitely need a better tagline (wanna help me out with that one?).
More Like the new look?
I stumbled across a site using a slightly modified version of Brian Gardner’s Dropshadow theme today and when I looked up the original I found it to be even better. It’s impossible to track all new theme releases nowadays, but of the ones I know I think its the best theme currently available for WordPress. Kudos to Brian. Great job!
When I occasionally browse themes.wordpress.net it strikes me not only how many themes there are, but also how many of them are rather poor. Many of them lack a coherent colour scheme and offer poor usability. Smashing Magazine has gathered 83 of the best WordPress themes available. If you’ve just set op WordPress and are looking for the creme de la creme in WordPress design, this is the place to look. My personal favorite is Suble, but you can’t go wrong with any of these.
Too bad none of my themes made it in there, I guess I’ll have to try harder with future themes…