Another just for fun theme -Mardi Gras

The Mardi Gras theme is now available on WordPress.org. Yes, another holiday theme!

Mardi Gras a fun, colorful theme for the carnival season. The theme has four widget areas, two menus including a social menu, and displays your posts in a 3 column grid. The default colors are the traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras colors green, purple and yellow. You can change the number of columns and select your favorite colors and fonts in the customizer. The theme is responsive and also supports the new block editor with wide and full width blocks.

Cherish 1.5

Version 1.5 contains some bug fixes that I missed in the latest major update. When I added the font family option, I forgot to also add the font names to the block editor and the WooCommerce pages. *blush*

There was also a bug where the larger menu covered the page titles of the 404 page and author archive. This has been fixed in 1.5.

I created a new setup help page for the theme:

== Changelog ==

=1.5 2019-01-11=

  • Code style changes to better comply with WordPress coding standards.
  • Improved escaping.
  • Added a setup help page.
  • Added a social menu.
  • Fixed an issue where the titles did not show for author archives and 404 pages.
  • Increased the size of the avatar on the author archive.
  • Fixed an issue where the editor would not show the correct font for the title.
  • Fixed an issue where hiding the site title would also hide the Call to Action.
  • Changed the description of the widget areas, since they are shown on all pages, not only the frontpage, oops :P.
  • Changes related to WooCommerce:
    • Increased color contrasts, increased the size of some input fields and font sizes, added underlines to some links to improve accessibility.
    • Adjusted the width of the product page.
    • Changed the number of products per row from 4 to 3.
    • Fixed a problem where the selected font did not display correctly on shop and product pages.

Musik 1.9

In version 1.9 of Musik, I wanted to optimize the theme to make it faster. I also wanted to make the theme more accessible.

-It is always a bit scary to update old themes, because I do not want to break any child themes or existing sites.

For those who are using a child theme together with Musik, note that the markup for the header and the main navigation has been updated. The code for the header image has also been moved from index.php to header.php.

  • Updated readme.txt file. Updated outdated links. Improved documentation.
  • Reduced background image size and file size.
  • Fixed a problem with the select list text color.
  • Updated navigation.js so that jQuery is no longer needed.
  • Moved WooCommerce styles to a separate file and made sure the file only loads if WooCommerce is active.
  • Added support for header video (requires WordPress 4.7 or later).
  • Added a social menu, and options to select where to display it.
  • Added a skip link focus fix for IE11.
  • Added rtl styles.
  • Improved comment area styles for smaller screens.
  • Added styles and fonts for the block editor so that the editor better matches the front.
  • Updated author.php using get_the_author_meta.
  • Changes to better comply with accessibility requirements:
    • Added underline to content links.
    • Increased color contrast, some font sizes and line heights.
    • Reduced the number of colors used.
    • Made sure that there is one H1 heading on all pages, and that heading levels are not skipped.

My first custom block plugin

Well, my first ever plugin to be submitted to WordPress.org actually 🙂 .

Last Christmas, I added a custom, static image block with Christmas decorations to my theme Christmas Sweets. This was the first theme in the directory to include blocks for the new block editor.

Later, the Theme Review Team on WordPress.org decided that themes are not allowed to include blocks, and I removed them.

Now that WordPress 5.0 has been released, the plugin with updated blocks and a few additional images has been approved and added to the plugin directory. You can download the plugin here.

The blocks are basic and I did not need to change much of the code from last year to make them work again.

Unfortunately a lot of the documentation that is available is out of date, and I was not able to add alignment toolbars, so the images are now centered by default.

I admit that the mix of ES5/ESNext examples and tutorials that are available are confusing. (And I’m not a fan of React error messages.)

Even though I have taken Zac Gordons Block Development course, I ended up sticking with ES5 and build on the existing code instead of rebuilding the blocks.

Submitting the plugin to the directory was nothing but smooth, and it was approved after a few hours. I was able to use svn for the first time in many years to add the plugin files to the directory, so I’m happy with that :). Now I just need to add some images to market the plugin.

Deejay 2.6 and 2.7

= 2.7 – November 17 2018 =

Updated readme file.

Added an option for a search form in the top navigation bar.
-To maintain the positions of the top social menu and and the search form,
a new span with the class top-bar-right was added to header.php.
The search form is filtered to hide the submit button for the form in the top navigation bar, unless the menu is toggled. A screen reader text for the submit button will be displayed just below the input field.

= 2.6 – November 8 2018 =

Improved theme support for the new editor:
Centered post and page content.
Changed content width to 720px.
Color palette, align wide, block styles, responsive embeds.

Improved support for system fonts:
-You may experience a slight shift in the font styles as the theme is no longer only using “sans-serif” as the font family.
New font-families are: BlinkMacSystemFont, -apple-system, ‘Segoe UI’, Roboto, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif.

Additional tests and improvements for the advanced mobile header,
including header image size, text size and positioning for the site title and the header menu.

Added options for a sticky menu and for disabling the priority menu.

Spooky! A Halloween theme adoption

Last year, I released a Christmas theme, and I wanted to create a holiday theme this year as well.  While I was considering a name for my new theme, I found a theme in the WordPress.org theme directory called Spooky, that had not been updated since 2009.   I thought this was a great name for Halloween, and that it would be fun to see if I could revive it.

So I found the contact information to the themes creator, Esther, from webmatter.de in the themes readme file, and to my surprise, she soon replied back and said yes, I could adopt the theme!

To adopt a theme, you need to change the username of the author in the back end of the WordPress.org theme directory. So In order to do that, I contacted the Team Leads of the WordPress.org Theme Review Team who quickly transferred the theme over to my account.

When testing the original theme, I discovered a lot of PHP warnings, because of course it did not have any of the functions that have been added to WordPress in the last 9 years, that we take for granted today.

Because I only had a few days to spare before the holiday, I decide I would not be able to keep any of the original code and rewrite it, so instead, I started over with a fresh copy of underscores.

A screenshot of the original theme

But I definitely wanted to keep the theme in the same style, with the black background, grey text colors with orange details, a castle in the footer, and a moon at the top. 

I already had the moon that I could borrow from the Bunny theme, and I went through many of the Halloween themed images on pixabay before I chose this image for the footer:

I edited out the second moon behind the castle and also added some gradients to the themes footer and header area. In the end, I opted out of the sidebar so that it would be easier to use the wide and full width alignments in Gutenberg.

I tested a large number of menus with different spider animations, until I chose the narrower drop down menu with the cobwebs.

I am still struggling with getting the animations to work on Ipad, so if you have any tips, please e-mail me 🙂

For the screenshot, I choose The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe.

The Screenshot of the new version of the theme

For 3 days of developing and testing, I am still pretty happy with how it turned out.

The downside to adopting a theme is that if the theme was already live, -as was the case for Spooky; it wont be on the latest themes list on WordPress.org.

If you want to dress up your blog for Halloween, you can download the theme here.

The theme as one menu, a footer widget area, support for full width images with the Gutenberg editor, and an orange and yellow color palette. There is also a color option in the customizer where you can replace the orange accent color.

Updates for Star

Star is one of my oldest themes and it now has basic support for the new editor. Because this theme has an optional sidebar, the theme will not have support for full width and wide content.

Version 1.11 is a maintenance update and it is the first update for this theme in 2018.

Changelog:

  • Housekeeping: Updated links. Updated credits in the readme file.
  • CSS and PHP code style changes according to WordPress coding standards.
  • Added a rtl stylesheet and print style.
  • Added various theme support for the new editor.
  • Added a link to the privacy policy page in the footer.
  • Updated screenshot.

Changelog for Embla 0.8

Version 0.8,   October 12 2018 

  • Made more functions pluggable to make it easier to create child themes.
  • Style improvements to match the theme with the new and the classic editor, and for BBPress and Jetpack.
  • Made sure that longer post titles does not overflow the post area, but displays over multiple rows instead.
  • Changed the post pagination style to wrap over 3 lines on mobile/handheld devices to make the clickable areas larger and since the longer line sometimes created a scroll.
  • Removed blocks.css, the styles are now part of style.css
  • Housekeeping: Validated html, updated links.

Aaron is getting ready for the new editor

Two months ago,  I finally started the process of creating new demos for some of my existing themes. But after seeing very little actually being done 😉 I have realised I need a better plan for which themes I want to continue working on.

The first theme that has recieved an update in preparation for Gutenberg, and a new demo and information page, is Aaron.

While I continue the testing together with a couple of my theme users,  you can expect several smaller updates to fine tune the styling.  I want the editor and the front to match, but I still want it too look and feel like the same theme.

I am generally a fan of Gutenberg -I am writing this post on my mobile,  with the plugin installed – but the frequent changes has not made it easy for theme developers.

The following changes were made in version 3.2 of Aaron:

  • Made sure that the custom templates works for all pages, not only for the front page.
  • Made sure that the meta box options works with the Jetpack portfolio and testimonial post formats.
  • Added a testimonial widget. This widget requires the Jetpack testimonial functionality to be activated. (This widget is the same widget that has been added to some of my more recent themes)
  • Made sure that the excerpt_more filter returns the default value in the admin.
  • Included a footer link to the privacy policy page, if one is set up.
  • Minor style changes:
  • A left side border was added to the blockquote.
  • A border was removed from the footer widgets.
  • Matched font and styles used in the gutenberg editor.
  • I also updated the screenshot, to follow the new guidelines for the theme directory.

Version 3.3 is scheduled for mid october and will mostly be style changes.

If you have any suggestions and ideas for Aaron, you can email me or use the support forum.