Monthly Archives: Mar 2009

Opinion

The New Default WordPress Theme Vision

kubrick-theme

Kubrick - Default WordPress Theme

Lately I have been part of a debate about removing the default WordPress theme, “Kubrick”,  over at WeblogTools Collection, where Jeff Chandler introduced a topic about  a ticket in Trac outlining his proposal for a new theme to be based on the current WordPress code-base. Actually, the track author clarified in a comment that he did not intend to have a theme to replace the default Kubrick theme, rather he would explain that:  “It was never my aim to replace Kubrick, or to have it included as a WordPress ‘default’ theme, rather just an included theme.” However, Jeff the above-mentioned, put into trial the default WordPress theme by claiming:

The way I see it, if you attack the root of the problem and replace Kubrick with a base theme that contains everything DD32 mentioned, this could do nothing but positive things for the WordPress community.

Was He Right?

As a WordPress theme developer, I agree that the default Kubrick theme should be removed from being the default WordPress theme. I do not know what the WrorPress team expect the default theme to do, but, from my position, I think the Kubrick is unnecessary to be there as it does not offer much. All it does right now is being used as a blog theme. I have never used it as the base code of the themes that I have developed, it is too messy and it has a lot of files. I have used the Classic theme several times as it would do better, however, it required heavy recoding too.

What would be the best theme to be included as the default theme or at least come along with them. There are several features that I would like the default theme to contain and come along with. Here they are:

  • Is updated with the latest WordPress template tags
  • Have Clean Markup
  • Make use of WordPress default CSS styling tags
  • Is easy to modify without compromising the look and feel
  • Is easy to add other features, such as extra sidebars
  • Be widgetized without using a list
  • Have a simple comprehensive functions.php file

Why All This?

What would all this bring to most interested group, the WordPress users? If WordPress developer have a better example to follow and to built upon, which is updated and at the same time light and valid coded, they would produce eventually better themes and child themes for the vast WordPress community. So, the theme developers are shown a white path to follow which would led them to better products.

Right or Wrong?

I might be wrong, that is human. I would like to hear that. At the same time, I might be right and my post needs to be enreached with other features for the visionary new WordPress theme. What do you think?

Read More
Code Design

UKlocum, my Latest WordPress Freelance Project

One of my many WordPress freelance projects I am working on is UKlocum. This is one of the many projects I have received from my dear client from Poland, Greg. When Greg contacted me for this project explaining what he wanted to do, he asked me if this could be done with WordPress. He had seen the potential of WordPress in other previous smaller projects we worked on. Before that, he had thought of getting it custom made from scratch, which would have cost him too much. So, I told him WordPress could handle it and we decided to go with WordPress. This site was a real challenge in terms of functionality and all this post is about is that WordPress handles perfectly CMS websites.

The Theme

uklocum

UKLocum Website Preview

This project was pretty urgent and I could not afford to design a new theme from scratch, having a lot of other works in hand.  So I decided to go for a free WordPress theme and tweak it to fit my needs. I looked around and I can say that the theme community of WordPress is doing a great job. What I decided to go for is the Magazeen theme that was featured at Smashing Magazine too. Do you want to know what I tweaked? Read on…

Theme Code Cleaning

As you may already know, coders code differently. That is why getting your hands dirty with others people’s code is not a very enjoyable experience, moreover, sometimes it is a real pain. That was the case even with Magazeen which I expected to be better coded. The problem with code was that there where redundant use of DIVS and not logical cascading of CSS. This is my humble opinion – check it yourslef to be sure.

Most of code clearing was easy as it consisted in just removing functionality that the theme came prepacked with such as comments form, advanced widgets, thumbs gallery other elements that I cannot recall now, but it is quite boring and frustrating in other tasks as the drop down menu integration below.

Suckerfish drop down menu integration

The Magazeen theme did not come with a drop down menu, so I needed to integrate one as my client, Greg, required it. Not going into much trouble, I decided to use the Suckerfish Drop Down Menu which I had used several times previously. Because the code was messy, the most difficult part was fitting the theme code to the menu rather than integrating the drop down menu to the theme. However, it ended to be a success.

Custom Banner Integration

The custom banner integration consisted in removing some code from the banner section and placing the banner image there. Also, to help SEO of the site, I used a CSS image replacement techinque for the logo so that the human fisitors can see the nice image logo whereas the search engines read the given text wrapped in <h1> html tags.

Color Combination Alteration

Pawel, my client’s graphic designer, suggested that we used another color combination that would go better with the logo and banner colors. I implemented that color combination and it resulted in  another success.

Welcome Guest or User

Under the menu, I integrated a piece of PHP code from WordPress to welcome a guest visitor and to tell them to log in or to register and also to greet a registered user and to allow them to log out from front page or any other part of the site, so that not to make them to spend time and click to go to admin panel to log out.

Extended User Register

Because of the nature of the site and the needs of my client, he asked me if we could extend the register form with other fields. So  I did, using a great plugin called Register Plus. This is a very feature reach plugin which would allow you do almost anything with your register page, from having your custom logo to adding a lot of functionality and fields. I want to immensely thank the plugin’s developer for offering such a great plugin to the WordPress community.

Events Manager

The most impressing part of the UKLocum is the Events Manager. The Events Manager is a plugin developed by Davide Benini. It allows you to manage events specifying precise spatial data such as location, town, province, etc. It allows your visitors to book their participation in listed events. In my opinion it is the best plugin out there for event management.

When my client, Greg, saw it, he was enthusiastic about it. However, we had to face a challenge with the events. We needed to have people register first for the site, after that they would be able to book the events. Taking in consideration that the plugin developers have fulfilled almost any need in functionality terms, I found the solution fast enough. I employed the HidePost to accomplish that task, just another great plugin out there. I hid the booking form from not logged in visitors, telling them to log in or register, if not, to be able to book the event. That was the happy end of our next challenge.

Bottom Line

What would be the last words of this long boring post? Hmmm! As you could have already deducted from reading this post, WordPress is being more and more important in nowadays web environment. Also,  running WordPress freelance business (perhaps that’s not the right collocation) is a great way to make a living by making money online. The last but not the least, if you need a custom WordPress theme or other WordPress services and, if you are looking for a professional and reliable WordPress freelancer, look no further than my contact page.

Don’t forget that your opinion is most appreciated – please share it below.

Read More
Opinion

What’s Up?

Yeah, I am very busy, I know. However I managed to dedicate some time to my little cute blog. I did some code optimization work to improve the performance and speed. Also I rearranged the main top menu to improve accessibility to my content and also rearranged the footer of the site to make it more attractive to visitors eye. I hope you guys will spend less time browsing my blog and love it more.

Having in mind the fact that I am in the middle of a lot of work, I am keeping this post short. I wish you a great time!

Read More
Opinion

Unavailable for WordPress Freelance Work

wordpress-logo-on-black-backgroundMy dear clients and prospects, this is the first post that I write directly to you and I am very happy to do so. I am obliged to inform you that for a short period of time I will not be able to accept any more WordPress freelance projects due to a large number of projects I am working on actually and, being a human, I cannot handle more. Of course I could accept all new applications, but that would destroy my daily life, my freelance business and my reputation as a freelancer. I consider this to be the best decision for the case.

You might be interested to know what made me get so many projects that I cannot handle them. I would love to share this with you and here it is why:

  1. First of all I am being so busy because of the growing demand for WordPress skills. This is now a fact.
  2. Secondly, it is for that fact that for a while (about a couple of months) I have been (and I’m still) the most important WordPress Freelancer in the world according to Google. This point deserves a whole post on how I reached that, which I am going to write soon hopefully, so stay tuned.
  3. The last but not the least, it is for the fact that I have a lot of returning clients due to my top-notch WordPress Freelance Services. This is another fact and it is supported by a large number of testimonials from clients that I am going to post soon, so again don’t forget to subscribe.

As this post was intended to be short, this is it for this time. Please share your thoughts below and have a nice time!

Read More