Mar 062012
 
Design

Version 4.0.4 was released today. This is predominantly a maintenance release with very minor changes:

  1. New Features
    1. The following filters have been added
      1. suffusion_can_display_category_information
      2. suffusion_can_display_author_information
      3. suffusion_can_display_tag_information
      4. suffusion_can_display_search_information

      Using these filters you can optionally switch off the information displayed at the top for categories, authors etc.

    2. I have added the capability to control the excerpt length for the featured posts widget. Note that this only applies to automatically generated excerpts.
    3. I have added some code so that if you are viewing a page in an old browser (IE 6-8), that gives the root <html> element a corresponding id, like #ie6. Correspondingly I have replaced a lot of IE6 hacks with more elegant id-based choices.
    4. The <body> element gets some new classes, such as preset-1000 or preset-1200 or preset-600 if you are using a preset fixed width setting. This will help you control widths better.
  2. Bug Fixes
    1. Fixed an issue where a menu in the navigation bars was occasionally not rendering correctly because the enclosing <ul> tag was not getting removed.
    2. Fixed an issue that some users were facing for the authorship feature. For the affected users the social media links were not showing up on the author page.
    3. In some cases the options needed to be saved multiple times to be effective. I have fixed this.
    4. There was a small bug with the custom layout display, where if you had a widget area with 1 widget per row, resizing the browser window affected this widget. I have addressed this.
    5. There was an issue where some images would not be shown (e.g. featured content, magazine headlines etc.) unless settings were saved. I have resolved this.
  3. Changed Features
    1. I have cleaned up some auto-generated CSS.
    2. I have made some minor adjustments to the RTL behaviour. Now the header and navigation menu positions get appropriately reversed with respect to the native left-to-right layouts.
    3. In prior versions, disabling Suffusion’s audio shortcode used to prevent the SWF file from loading, but it still included the associated JavaScript albeit in a harmless manner. This has been modified so that no trace of the shortcode shows up if you disable it.
    4. I have changed the “header height” to be a “minimum header height”. This way you don’t have to worry about adjusting header heights if your images are larger etc.

The next somewhat big release will have HTML5 compatibility (and the big release after that will be responsive). I might do a brief beta for HTML5 and Responsive and I will keep you posted regarding the same.

  31 Responses to “Suffusion Version 4.0.4”

Comments (31)
  1. HTML5 and Responsive… Suffusion is already the best! The planned features will ensure Suffusion never dies!

     
  2. Hoping you’ll be able to enable a switch to include/exclude responsive. Not a big fan.

     
    • Honestly, I started regretting making the “responsive” statement almost as soon as I wrote it. HTML5 I understand and support, but responsiveness seems as intuitive as supporting IE6. People seem to be concerned about usability on mobile devices, while the truth is that the market today is led by mobile browsers that can display the entire site and support pinch and zoom capabilities. The users who would truly benefit from websites specifically designed to be less than 320px are ones using arcane browsers.

      Rest assured that if and when I bring in responsiveness, it will be strictly “opt-in”. I have never had issues accessing my site from my BlackBerry or my wife’s iPhone, so I am not going to make my site look different based on media screens.

       
      • I’m amazed at how many designers are so enamored with a design whose outcome you little control of. At varied points, the theme responds and no necessarily as you would hope. After all you cannot control every bit of text, picture, movie, etc that a user will insert anywhere in the theme, and without question, so all to often the response can be quite the surprise. Thanks as always Sayontan.

         
      • More and more of my customers are asking for responsive Themes. Whether it is the ‘right’ thing to do or not (from a technical or Website designer) perspective doesn’t really matter as responsive is certainly a market driven requirement.

         
        • Gary,
          Google Buzz was a market driven requirement. Designing for IE6 is a market-driven requirement (for about 7% of the world market, and 3% if you exclude China). The market catches on buzzwords but that doesn’t always mean much. See this article, which highlights some of the points I am trying to make. Try thinking of zip drives. For a while they were a rage, till writable and rewritable CD costs crashed, then thumb drives came by. Simply continuing to make zip drives (because some users did not realize that technology in other areas had advanced enough) isn’t really a smart move.

          What is a “responsive” layout? As per the prevalent terminology it is something that changes appearance based on the screen size. Now, why would you want to do that if your site displays perfectly in all browsers in all media? Wouldn’t you want all your users to get the full features of your site in its full glory everywhere? I know I would. Here is another facet: the only time I use my PDA for browsing is during the 17-minute train rides I make during mornings and evenings. I normally visit sites that I was browsing before getting on the train, so it frustrates me terribly if the look of the site changes between my laptop and my PDA. Since my PDA has a fully capable browser, why should I settle for a different display? It would have made sense in a pre-iPhone or even pre-Opera era, but not now with ubiquitous iPhones and Androids.

          I understand that I am probably among very few people with this line of thinking, which is why there are very few articles criticizing the rush towards responsive design. For my part I would have really liked to delay this for a long time and even now I am making no commitment to it.

           
          • Hey Sayontan, Whilst I understand the point you’re making, there are many examples of technologies/services that really aren’t needed that have been a massive success e.g. many Apps for iPhones, Androids etc. are pointless (they have the same functionality as the Websites themselves which can be accessed via the mobile device) but just look at how many of these Apps are downloaded and used.
            What about having a poll on your Site to see how many people would like Suffusion to be responsive?
            BTW Regardless of whether Suffusion goes responsive or not, it is, in my opinion, by far the best free Theme available and definitely one of the best Themes overall.

             
          • Gary,
            There is a very important difference between an app and a website. An app gets to interact directly with your hardware and OS, while a website doesn’t – it is shielded from your OS by an abstraction layer, which is your browser. Due to this simple fact an app on iPhone or an Android device almost always enhances experience. E.g. The Chase Bank app lets me photograph cheques that I have received and that credits money into my bank account directly. The only way to facilitate this kind of working through a website is by scanning a cheque, then uploading it via a form, which, due to the fact that you might not have a scanner may result in greater pain than convenience. To me responsive design seems just that – rather than enhancing content, it is a regression of things. Take a look here: http://designmodo.com/responsive-design-examples/. Which of these 50 supposedly best designs is really enhanced on a mobile device? In almost every case a sidebar has been loped off and either moved to the bottom, or has been decimated altogether.

            There are other reasons why an app vs website analogy shouldn’t be used here. An app makes sense if you know precisely what information you want to highlight, and you provide quick and easy access to certain functionality on your site. I can run analytics on my site and figure out the most common tasks, then I can focus on packaging those tasks as modules in an app. That kind of flexibility is impossible in a generic theme. E.g. Let’s take this site. I have 2 menus here, one above the header and one below. Which of these menus should I show in a smaller layout? Both of them? Should I stack the tabs one on top of the other? If so, I will be killing all my prime real estate by filling the entire first screen with navigation tabs, and my real content will only start after that.

            All of these are reasons why a theme shouldn’t be responsive. Now for one reason why it should: hover. The iPhone, while a smart device, without the simulation of a cursor really slams the door on the CSS hover state. That basically makes the beautiful menus you design kind of pointless on the most popular mobile devices. Ideally this is the kind of area a responsive site should be looking to handle, rather than culling the functionality by killing sidebars etc.

            I am not keen on doing a poll here, because I already know the results upfront. As I said, I am in a minority here and probably 95% or more users would like to see Suffusion be responsive. And I am not saying that I won’t make it responsive – I am merely trying to make the case that current responsive themes and sites are mostly obscuring the big picture while advertising themselves as responsive.

             
          • I’m with you. Just went public with the website and it’s for Nintendo 3DS users. I took a look with the 3DS which inclu the netFront browser and had no problem visiting the site, expect for replying to message which is related to Simple:Press and not the theme.

            I don’t expect any time soon going to a design that would get responsive, it works well enough like this. And all device gets better at displaying website properly. Not all website are optimized for small device but hey, it’s a handheld and it is to be expected somewhat with tiny device. Devices like iPad are more revelent to surfing than a 2 years old BlackBerry for exemple.

             
  3. Thanks !
    Greetings full of sun from CeBit-Town Hannover, Germany.

     
  4. HTML5 features sounds nice – at the moment I don’t know what is the advantage execpt of native video support.

    However, what would be including more AJAX featues. For example by changing from comments to pingbacks (setting: showing both, but in a different view)…

     
    • HTML5 features sounds nice – at the moment I don’t know what is the advantage execpt of native video support.

      The true goal of HTML5 is not just native support for audio and video, or even passing a DOCTYPE HTML validation. There is the whole aspect of semantic markup, which lets you get away from using just <div> tags for everything. It is very easy to go overboard with semantic markup, but when used judiciously it works out nicely. This obviously means some markup changes in the theme, like the use of <article>, <section> and other similar tags.

       
  5. Thanks for the tweak to the Featured Content, that is really useful for a site I am building at the moment.

    If you are looking at tweaks in the future could I ask for one for the Magazine Template? Could it display pages as well as posts? This would be useful for displaying posts not in date sequence or by category type as well as pages for a static sit. I realise that this can be done with the bespoke template but it would be easier if it was built in.

     
  6. Suffusion is the best theme for WordPress. I use it on all of my websites. It is very easy to configure and cutomise. I’m looking forward to HTML5 Suffusion.

     
  7. Thanks,I love it very much

     
  8. Sayontan your theme is really the best! Please in the next release do something about design. I think this is the only disadvantage.

    Thank you! :)

     
    • :-) That is like telling the proprietor of a British Bed & Breakfast Inn, “Your facility is really the best. For the next meal can you please make me some great Indian food?” Unless the proprietor hires an Indian chef in the next few hours or gets his chef to hone the craft in the next several months, this will not happen. I am not a designer and I don’t intend hiring somebody for design on something that is strictly a hobby. Good designs take a while to come from me, so I focus on making the tools good so that true designers can roll their own designs. Once in a while I make a design that is better than the standard ones (e.g. the Photonique skin), but that is about it.

      Rest assured that good designs will come, just not in the next release.

       
  9. That is like telling the proprietor of a British Bed & Breakfast Inn, “Your facility is really the best. For the next meal can you please make me some great Indian food?”

    Sayontan, you crack me up! I’m always impressed by how focused and clear you are about what you’re doing, and as always, Suffusion is amazing.

    Which must mean it’s time again to do more than just say it. Another paypal deposit should have landed in your inbox. Onwards and upwards for Suffusion!

     
  10. Sayontan,

    Another thing to consider about the future of “Responsive Web Design” and your version updates

    http://toolbox-4-websites.com/2012/mobile-first-or-just-responsive-web-design/

     
    • Thanks for your comment. It is insanely hard to respond on your site (probably one of your multiple JS-based plugins has something to do with it). Once I start commenting I cannot delete text, or insert text in the middle of a line etc., so I will respond here itself.

      At a foundational level I agree with the three-tier classification that you mention in your post. However, as I mentioned to Gary above, there are several problems. IMO, the first type of classification (“Responsive”) is a fad, unless you are running a minimalistic site. Otherwise there are several ways you can go wrong. E.g. If you have too many tabs in your navigation bar and you choose to stack them, your real content will probably begin 2 screens below the first. That is terrible from a UX point of view. There are several folks who just have this definition of responsive in mind, and none can really justify why this is a better UX than “pinch and zoom”.

      The third classification (“Mobile first”) should be site-specific, not theme-specific. And, if you really want to do this, you should consider putting your mobile site on a separate domain. E.g. One of my most visited sites, Cricinfo offers a generic version and a mobile version. The sites look as different as chalk and cheese, while preserving basic elements of branding. Moreover, the mobile site shows just the current matches and scorecards. Contrastingly if I look at my site, there is no way I would consider building out a separate mobile version with limited content. If I want I can use the WP-Touch plugin for it and style it to suit the theme, but that is about it. In short, if I am doing a coding / development site, I will never put “mobile first”, because I would expect people reading what I write to be able to use tools such as Firebug or JSFiddle etc. But if I had a podcast, I would bake such features in.

      The second category (“Adaptive”) is really what I gravitate to. E.g. Instead of a drop-down menu that this site has, the menu could be a “select” list, taking up just one line in the screen. But then again, if you are creating such massive changes in the look and feel, shouldn’t you consider a separate mobile domain?

      Also, regarding theme popularity, take it from someone who has had a theme at #1 for significant periods of time. The “popular themes” only mentions which theme has had the maximum number of downloads in the last 7 days. There are really 4 ways to get to the top:

      1. Good theme: There are several nice themes in the top 15, and Responsive is certainly one of them.
      2. Frequent releases: A frequently released theme is the sign of an active developer. As I said, the rolling window for popular themes is 1 week. Several themes have very frequent release cycles. E.g. Responsive has had 9 releases in the past 3-4 weeks (http://themes.trac.wordpress.org/query?col=id&col=summary&col=keywords&col=owner&col=status&col=resolution&keywords=~theme-responsive&order=id). There are other themes that have very frequent release cycles (e.g. IFeature, which gets updates every 5-6 days). Suffusion used to get updates very frequently earlier, accompanied with some whining by folks who couldn’t understand why. When you update a theme, all users tend to perform an upgrade, which spikes up the downloads.
      3. Defaults: The default themes, TwentyTen and TwentyEleven are good themes no doubt. And the fact that they are the default means that when they are updated, the number of downloads in a day runs into several thousand.
      4. Spoofing: There are themes that fake the number of downloads. This is most obvious if you look at the stats for the theme, which show little to no download activity for a few days, then suddenly start averaging an eerily consistent 1000+ downloads each day, without being updated or without really being any good. I am fairly certain that one theme in the top 15 that is of this sort, but I will not name it lest I am wrong.

      I think the recent popularity of Responsive is more because it is a really nice looking theme that is frequently updated, and not because of people looking specifically for responsive themes.

       
  11. Your reply to my post was extremely concise, educational, and in depth…..Thank you.

    Do you mind if I quote that reply on my blog?

     
    • Sure, the comment was meant for your post anyway. Do take a look at the plugins on your site – something is making commenting a lot harder there than it should be.

       
  12. Sayontan,

    Thank you for allowing me to do that, and I WILL CHECK my plugin list for possible problems with commenting. I had no idea I had a problem, and appreciate you letting me know.

     
  13. Hello, and thank you to Sayontan, and all the diligent testers, for an excellent product!

    I’m confused about allowing multiple columns of excerpts in the Magazine template. I do not want to show any widget columns, so I have set widget columns to zero. But I would also like to have two columns of excerpts, however, I cannot find any setting for this.

    I seem to remember in an earlier version, this was possible, but that could just be my faulty memory.

    Can anyone confirm whether this is possible?

    Thanks,
    Dave

     
  14. The next somewhat big release will have HTML5 compatibility (and the big release after that will be responsive). I might do a brief beta for HTML5 and Responsive and I will keep you posted regarding the same.

    can you give a hint about whn the theme will be responsive,?
    do i have to remove theWp_touch plugin then?

     
    • No idea about when it will be responsive. I have already released 3 betas for HTML5. If that gets approved and things go well, I will work on Responsive design. Do note that changes such as this take a lot of time, and I am planning to go on vacation for 3 weeks in a couple of months. If I can get the responsive stuff out before that, well and good, otherwise there might be a bit of a wait at hand.

      That being said, I believe the theme does quite well on mobile devices in its current state. That is why I want to really think through what I want to offer as responsive functionality.

      The functionality, when offered, will be optional. So you will be able to switch it off and use WP-Touch if you prefer.

       
  15. It will be nice to have a suffusion showcase, just to see how visual design meets functional design.

    My sister has a non-profit and I set up an acceptable site for it with suffusion in no time.

    I see suffusion as a theme-framework. Totally justifies its WordPress Themes ranking and completely yellow stars.

    Excellent work Sayontan. Works like a charm on my Galaxy Tab (Android) and on my BlackBerry full touch-screen phone (which is a lot to say).

    I will convert my praise in actions using PayPal.

    Thanks you all here in the forum because now I feel a “web responsiveness” expert. Very enlightening comments about that elusive, confussing, decision hardener subject matter.

    Cheers.

     
  16. Sorry just noticed there is a showcase in this very web site.

    Cheers.

     

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