Working With WordPress And Other Cool Stuff

The more you work with WordPress, the more you start noticing the simplicity of the application makes it possibly for some really interesting innovations to occur in the plugin, widget and theme areas. The creativity of developers is never ending. Here are a few things that I have noticed recently.

Flash Fonts

For those of you out there not aware of these, take a look at my site at http://www.takeitnational.com. I purchased this theme from Theme Forest, with Flash Fonts, which for some reason has nicer themes than most places where you can buy a quick theme. You will notice the red fonts on the home page are not your normal css or text fonts. They are each individual Flash Fonts. This third party application actually converts each letter one by one. Why is this cool? Basically it allows my site to have nicely curned fonts that are very appealing compared with some of the text and css that currently have limits. Also, the real key to Flash Fonts is the <h1> and <h2> tagging are not messed up for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This means that, in the past, when Flash was used, it would hose up your SEO text on the page, since Flash was not so SEO friendly. It also meant in the past with Flash that the website would slow down. But this does not seem to be much of an issue with flash fonts. Where to get them. I am using Sifr (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement), which is an easier to implement version of this stuff. Best answer is just find a theme with them built in already and you will get them…

Amazing Ajax Graphs And Charts

Another thing that somebody pointed out to me recently is this amazing array of ajax graphs. See this article. Basically with just simple ajax and html you can pop dynamic charts onto your wordpress page. Years ago I was addicted to EasyCharts, one of the first open source chart, javascript, chart produc the market. Now it is a cornucopia of charting and graphing to go around.

When A Post Is Not A Post

Asked to give a few people advice recently about their WooThemes themes they purchased I looked carefully how the Woothemes get implemented and this seems to be a pattern. What they basically do is ask you create a post category. Let’s say we call that “Features”. Then they have this admin section in the back that allows you to select the “Features” category to show up in a particular part of the home page. It could be a calendar-like section or a middle section, sidebar left or right or testimonials. Notice that I do not use the word “Widget” in discussing this method. Because what they typically do is use posts as content in places on the home page or throughout the site. On the area where it is the full blog, the site knows to ignore “Features”, because that is how this works. Woothemes and other theme makers use posts as static content, so that is why the blog ignores it. Some use categories to do this, others use tagging. For the events area, the site uses additional fields which show up under posts, down below on the page. This way the posts are tracked as “events” (You have to go into their special admin and set events as the event category). These are part of many clever ways that WordPress is used to solve content issues.

Next time, an article on new words, that WordPress has sealed in the english language…

The Art Of Converting A Design To A WordPress Theme – Part 1

As we have gotten more and more into WordPress, eventually you will get to the point where you need to take a design and convert it to a WordPress theme. I am by no means an expert, and I am learning a little more about WordPress every day. I am going to go through, in a series of blog entries, the step by step process of creating a WordPress theme. This is not for the hard core, since this is for the light programmer/scripter like myself who wants to be able to quickly take a design and port it over to WordPress.

Don’t fret. The process can be boiled down to a few critical elements, many of which you will easily find examples throughout the web and in a book at your local Barnes & Noble. So, first, before we do anything, this blog entry is just about the initial steps you should take before going ahead and doing this.

One first step, if you are not a programmer, is to get familiar with PHP. If you are not fluent in the PHP programming language, this will be a challenge, not a challenge you can’t necessarily overcome, but a challenge none the less. Along with getting familiar with PHP is getting familiar with WordPress. If you have just begun the process of learning both PHP and WordPress, you may want to put this design conversion off for a bit, till you are ready.

The next step is to get your design. Now, you may already be a designer or you have hired a designer and you are getting closer to the point of wanting this design in WordPress. If you already are using this design (see I am giving you some ideas here) on another site and just want to convert it over, for instance, so your blog looks the same as your main website, you will have to free your design from that site and have it handy in your page editor.

Remember to get a program like Textpad or Homesite or Visual Studio, or whatever editing tool you use, especially one that can hold many files at the same time. That is why I use Textpad, since it is a basic program and its free.

You should also be familiar with HTML, CSS and possibly javascript. Also, we will encounter Flash and other technologies, most of which are ready for you to integrate with your design. So, sign up for this blog and come back when I have the next in this series ready.