Jan 112010

Version 3.1.6 was released today. It had some big features and some small bug fixes:

  1. New Widgets
    1. Added a “Google Translator” widget for users to provide an automatic translation option for their pages
    2. Added a “Follow Me” widget. This will let people add a “subscription email” feed and links to popular social networking sites like Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. As usual, the widget is loaded with options like variable icon sizes, multiple nice-looking icons etc. It has been pointed out that there is an incompatibility between this widget and PHP 4. I have already submitted a patch for this.
  2. New Greek Translation – Thanks to Harry Karayannis! You can use the translation el_GR.
  3. Bug fixes
    1. There was a bug in the default 1st sidebar setup, where the JQuery fix was not being applied. This has been fixed. Mind you, you wouldn’t see the problem if you had added your own widgets to the sidebars.
    2. Fixed a bug in the SEO mode, where the SEO options were being displayed even if not selected.
  4. IE6 Enhancements – Yes, support for the fossil lives on. I had to make some small fixes to make sure that there weren’t any rude jolts for IE6 users”
    1. Search button icons were showing with a dull gray background. This has been fixed.
    2. Fixed a bug where displaying the home icon in the navigation bar was causing the line below the navigation bar to shift down.
    3. Another bug was causing the right margin on a left sidebar to disappear if there were two sidebars. This has been fixed (it used to affect IE7 as well)
  5. Other Enhancements
    1. I modified the CSS loading order to ensure that style.css is loaded in parallel with the other CSS files (and not loaded from them). This can speed up load times by 1-2 seconds
    2. I restructured the approach to handling JS calls. This should take care of different issues people are facing with the featured content and other JavaScript code
    3. I also added an option to control the delay and the fade-in effect in the drop-down menu, as requested by a few users.

Now, coming to the PHP 4 incompatibility with this release, as I said, I have already submitted the fix. For users facing an issue with the theme not activating, please follow these steps:

  1. Download the suffusion-subscription.zip file.
  2. Unzip it to get suffusion-subscription.php
  3. Take this file and overwrite the one in the widgets folder: wp-content/themes/suffusion/widgets
Jan 042010

Version 3.1.5 of Suffusion went live today. As mentioned in my previous post, this was a pretty big release with a lot of fixes and enhancements, so without much ado here is the list:

  1. New Additions
    1. You now have SEO options for customization. This should, hopefully, make the use of an SEO plugin redundant. You will be able to control the format of your page titles using this feature.
    2. Navigation Bar Enhancements
      1. Your drop-down menu can now have external links. You can set this up through the theme options, under “Blog Features”, then “Navigation Bar Setup”.
      2. Now you can reorder the categories and links in the navigation. The theme is integrated with the plugins "My Category Order" and "My Link Order" plugins to reorder categories and links.
      3. You can also place links before categories and categories before pages in the navigation bar through a sleek drag and drop interface.
      4. There is now a “delay” upon hover for the navigation menu. Enhancement requests for this feature are welcome.
      5. The last items on the drop-down menus now have rounded corners (Firefox, Chrome and Safari only).
    3. You can now set the tab order in a tabbed sidebar (Suffusion Theme Options -> Tabbed Sidebar).
    4. Added default files for date archives and tags, date.php and tag.php respectively. Earlier these would be defaulted to using index.php.
    5. Added "Select All" and "Select None" buttons to all multi-select lists in the options page. This was a pretty old request that I am glad to have added.
    6. New translations
      1. Norwegian Bokmål (nb_NO) – Thanks to Jan Roar Rød.
      2. Sie version for the German translation (de_DE-sie) – Thanks to Connie Müller-Gödecke.
  2. Bug Fixes
    1. Fixed a bug for IE6, where links at the third level in the navigation menu wouldn’t go to the correct page.
    2. Fixed a bug that was breaking the layout for password-protected posts/pages
    3. Fixed a WPML compatibility issue where the drop-down menus wouldn’t display for non-default languages.
    4. Fixed a WPML language-selector rendering issue in the header widgets, where the selector would become really ugly.
    5. Fixed an incompatibility between WP 2.9 and the Twitter widget.
    6. Fixed a bug that was causing the home page to be displayed in the featured content if the home page was a static page.
  3. Other Changes
    1. Redesigned the options menu by structuring it differently. Hope you like the change! The goal was to make it a little less daunting at first glance. I am sure it is still as daunting behind the scenes, though ;-).
    2. Consolidated smaller JavaScript files in the theme into a single large one
    3. Moved code from slider-init.php to featured-posts.php to avoid "500 Internal Server Error". Hopefully this will address the issue that some people were having with the featured posts.
    4. Changed the default settings in options menu for navigation bar. All pages and all categories are selected by default, pages are displayed "rolled-up" by default.
    5. Streamlined the Twitter widget options.

The next release will have a bunch of new widgets, following which I should be truly ready to start on the new layouts I promised.

Jan 022010

A Very Happy New Year to all users of Suffusion and other visitors of this blog!

Version 3.1.0 of Suffusion was released on 30th December, after being stuck in the approval stage for almost 10 days. The release had the following features / fixes:

  1. Ability to include Featured Content on static pages
  2. The JQuery layout fix option was removed. The fix is now automatically added to all widgets in the sidebar.
  3. Fixed a couple of really old bugs (the first 2 bugs opened on the support forum, in fact!) that were causing the fields like “Featured Image” to be blanked out if the post was being edited using the “Quick Edit” option
  4. Made the styles consistent between the Category Posts widget and the Category blocks on the magazine layout
  5. Added a style fix for WP-Recaptcha

The long delay in approving the previous version meant I had a lot of time to work on the theme. The outcome was that I submitted version 3.1.5 today with a lot of modifications of varying sizes.Significant enhancements were made to the Options menu, with capabilities  like reordering the tabs in the tabbed sidebar, new capabilities for multi-select boxes etc. But more about that when 3.1.5 is released. I hope you like it.

I will work on building a showcase section on this blog, because frankly, I suck at marketing myself. And the releases after 3.1.5 will be geared towards more layout options and widgets.

Dec 222009

Version 3.0.9 was released on 21st December. The key features of this release are:

  1. Featured content can now be displayed on static pages. This has been quite a highly requested feature, so I am happy to have that out of the gates.
  2. You can now control the total number of excerpts to be shown in the magazine template. Again, this was a requested feature.
  3. A couple of bug-fixes were included. The first ensures that for the “Home” page and the “Posts” page the page names in the navigation bar are highlighted. The second is a minor fix that corrects a navigation bar alignment problem in non-Mozilla browsers.
Dec 162009

Version 3.0.8 was released today. This release took time, but that was because of one of the pieces in it:

  1. A Featured Content Widget
    So far we have had Featured Content that could be placed at the top of certain pages. By creating this widget I have extended the capability – you can even place this widget in your sidebar if you wish. Using the widget in conjunction with the Widget Logic plugin you can exclude this widget from certain pages. There is one minor annoyance – if you have both, the classic Featured Content and the new Featured Content widget displayed on a page, for some reason the “Pause” button works incorrectly. I couldn’t figure out why. But then again, I hope nobody uses both on the same page!
    Also, this cannot replace the classic Featured Content yet, because there is no “narrow” widget area above the posts – the only widget area there is as wide as the header
  2. Latest Posts in Featured Content
    You can now add the latest posts to your classic Featured Content. Of course, this has been added to the new widget too.
  3. Bug Fixes
    I patched a WPML SitePress Multilingual CMS plugin incompatibility and fixed some minor RTL layout issues.

I wanted to outline the plan for the next few releases:

  1. I have some feature requests on the Magazine template and on the classic Featured Content functionality. The next release (3.0.9) will address those.
  2. I have also decided to embrace JQuery in a bigger way, particularly for the drop-down menus. This is because after so many months on the theme I discovered a bug on IE 6 for nested levels in the drop-down, which is a bummer for my current CSS-only menu. By letting JQuery do the menus I will be able to add things like “HoverIntent” for a delayed menu etc.
  3. I also intend to deprecate the option to “fix the layout” by JQuery, and instead fix it by default.
  4. There is a small bug in the Twitter Widget, which causes its format to go wonky if you are displaying its title and the JQuery fix is turned on. I will fix it in the next release. In the meanwhile you can disable the title for the Twitter widget if your JQuery fix is causing it some issues.
  5. In my previous post I spoke about the next version of the magazine layout. I have been working diligently towards that. The “Category Posts” and “Featured Content” widgets were developed as a part of that effort. Over the next few weeks you should see something for “Headlines” and a “Single Post Excerpt”.
  6. Very soon there should be new widget areas for you to play with. I also had some very big ideas for formatting the sidebars and widget areas.
  7. I will introduce the concept of a custom layout, where you will be able to define custom layouts not covered by Suffusion and build pages with those.

All in all we have a few very exciting weeks ahead!

Dec 112009

Version 3.0.6 was approved yesterday (10th December) and version 3.0.7 was submitted today for approval. Here are the main features of these releases:

  1. 3.0.6
    1. Introduced a new widget called “Category Posts”. In this widget you can display the latest x posts form a particular category. It is integrated with the Category Icons plugin and also allows you to specify a custom image for the widget. This widget is eventually intended to go into the next version of the magazine template. I intend to provide further widgets for different components that I have built, like the tabbed widgets, featured posts, excerpt blocks, headlines etc. which will let you place the widgets wherever required. Stay tuned.
    2. Fixed a bug in the Comments section, which was failing to prevent the “Comments Closed” message for certain pages.
    3. Added an option to block the “Comments Closed” message for posts.
  2. 3.0.7
    1. Fixed a bug that was causing child pages in the navigation bar to display even if not selected
    2. Fixed a bug in the Featured Content display where if no categories were selected it was showing all posts.

I don’t know when 3.0.7 will be approved, but when it is, it should solve some of the problems that folks are facing.

Dec 072009

Suffusion Version 3.0.5 was released on 7th December 2009.

Users upgrading from an older version, please go to "Upgrade" under the theme options and click on "Migrate". Otherwise your blog might not behave the way you expect it to. If you are installing the theme anew, you don’t have to do anything.

Version 3.0.5 had a lot of enhancements:

  1. Performance Improvement
    This has been the biggest feature of this release. The theme has never been slow or sluggish, but prior versions of the theme had a very high number of queries in certain scenarios. I have rewritten some of the query logic and brought down the numbers drastically. The major changes are to the navigation bar, the featured content and the magazine template.
  2. SEO Enhancements
    I made some tweaks to some of the tags to ensure better search engine optimization for your content. For folks not using any SEO plug-in this should be a big feature. I intend to allow customizations for SEO features in the near future.
  3. Bug Fixes
    There were three main bug fixes. The first deals with excerpts showing up in the Magazine layout, the second deals with the “Add Comments” link showing up for posts with comments disabled and the third deals with the JQuery-based layout fix that I provided in the previous version, where I went inadvertently aggressive and broke the general layout.
  4. Code Restructuring
    This is of no impact to the users, but it sure does make my work easier. I broke down the code to modular units in a few places to help develop new features better.

Have fun!

Dec 012009

After the approval process for version 3.0.0 took about a week (actually I am being uncharitable – the WordPress moderators too need their vacation!), I submitted version 3.0.2 on 30th November. Hopefully it will get approved in the next couple of days.

This release was heavy on bug fixes and backwards compatibility. Here is the list of modifications for 3.0.1:

  1. Bug Fixes
    1. RTL Language Support – Thanks to some really constructive feedback, I have hopefully ironed out more than 95% of the bugs in the RTL language layout.
    2. Dinosaur Revival – I went the extra mile and fixed a lot of minor layout niggles with IE6 and Suffusion. Primary among those deal with the navigation bar. There were also some issues with the post widths pushing the sidebars down etc.
    3. Sidebar layout breakdown – One of the most frequently asked questions about the theme has been, “Why do my sidebars look funny?” Thanks to a post from DigitalNature on the WP forum this is no longer an issue. Hopefully we have seen the last of the widget gimmicks. If you are facing widget layout issues, like nested widgets, or widgets moving from the sidebars to the footers etc, go to the option “Use JQuery to fix widget layout issues?” under “Sidebars and Widget Areas” and enable JQuery.
  2. Enhanced Sidebar Tabs
    You can now mimic the functionality of text / RSS widgets in the sidebar tabs. There are 10 blank custom tabs provided for your use.
Nov 252009

I am happy to announce that I submitted version 3.0.0 of Suffusion last night. This version took a lot of time thanks to the amount of testing that I had to do on it. The following are the main features here:

  1. Magazine Layout
    This is the biggest feature I have added in this release. Combined with the other big features that I recently added I decided that now was the time to brand this as version 3.x.
    You will be able to select a template called “Magazine” to make a page have this layout. The Magazine template lets you have:
    1. A “Featured Content” section
      This lets you use the “Featured Content” that you have set up for your blog and plugs it in directly into the top of the page.
    2. A “Headlines” section
      You can also define certain posts and categories as “headlines”. As a concept this is the same as “Featured Content”, but the presentation is different. In “Featured Content” your posts automatically slide through, but in the “headlines” you actually have to hover / click on them to see the content.
    3. An “Excerpts” section
      You can show certain items as “Excerpts”. Think of this feature as an “Other Main Stories” feature in a news portal.
    4. A “Categories” section
      If you are running a multi-focus blog you might have things like Recipes, Restaurant Reviews etc. You can show each of these categories on the magazine layout. Each category will show up with the latest few posts (you can control how many you want to show).
  2. Controls for featured post image size
    This was based on a request in a prior version. It essentially lets you set a custom size for the featured image that doesn’t inherit the dimensions of an excerpt thumbnail.
  3. An Arabic Translation
    Thanks to r-sn, we have our first RTL translation. The Arabic language files have been incorporated into the theme.
  4. Ability to turn off default widgets in first sidebar
    This is actually a pretty small thing, but useful. The first sidebar in the theme had a bunch of default widgets that you could override using the dynamic widgets capability of the theme. However, with the introduction of the tabbed sidebar you could have situations where you want to only display a tabbed sidebar and not the regular sidebars. This wasn’t possible without this feature.

Now for the upcoming changes:

  1. RTL fixes
    Some issues were pointed out by r-sn regarding the RTL layout. I will fix those.
  2. Extended magazine layout support
    Obviously when you have a layout, you need other pages to match the layout. Subsequent releases will have magazine layout options for different templates – default, archives, categories, authors, search results etc.
    Also, I am not very happy with the colors and look-and-feel of the magazine layout. I am open to hearing from you regarding how to improve on it.
  3. More consistent look and feel for IE6
    It is very depressing to learn that IE6 still has around 20% of the market share, depending on whose view you subscribe to. My take is that a very small percentage of people who are on IE6 would actually surf to your sites, but in any case, it is an audience that you have to cater to. So far I have managed to stay ahead of IE6 by ensuring that the layout doesn’t go haywire on it. However I intend to go a step further and ensure that you will get the same look across all browsers (minus the CSS 3 features that some browsers don’t support).
  4. Extension of Tabbed Sidebar features
    The tabbed sidebar is good, but it can become really good. I intend to have options to do a ton of customization on it.
  5. Docking boxes
    One of my most common laments on WordPress has been the lack of a “before_content” and “after_content” tag for widgets. It simply destroys the layout if some widgets are ill-constructed. Call it serendipity, but I managed to find a way to fix it. The fix involves JQuery and is hence not my favourite because I dislike having to add a 56KB file to a page to fix a bug. However, this is better than not having a fix at all.
  6. More navigation menus
    Having gotten past the barrier of real estate in the navigation bar, I intend to have support for other types of elements in the dropdown, like links, archives etc.

That’s about it. Once version 3.0.0 is out do let me know what improvements you would like in the look-and-feel of the magazine layout. I will try to accommodate those.

Nov 192009

After my post about release 2.6.4 yesterday and the CSS overlap issues that I was facing in certain scenarios, I did a lot of debugging and hunted down the cause for the problems I was facing. But before going there let me first explain the problem(s):

  1. Launch your blog with Suffusion as your theme in Firefox 3.0 or older. If you have 3rd level menus in your navigation bar (the ones that fly out to the right), you will see that the “>” indicator appears on a new line. This is very annoying to the user. Moreover it is upsetting to the developer, because this is Firefox, after all, and this behavior doesn’t occur in IE. Anyway, I found a way to fix this, so all is well. Mind you, the fix was extremely unintuitive and illogical.
  2. Now launch your blog on IE 6. Hover over a navigation bar item that has a drop-down. You will see all the levels beyond the first drop-down too appear on the page when you hover. This was an easy thing to fix, but needed research, nonetheless.
  3. Now, include a large number of tabs in the navigation bar of your blog. This should cause the navigation bar to “spill over” into a new line. Hover over something on the first line that creates a drop-down. Prior to version 2.6.4 this drop-down would have gone behind the second line in all browsers. I have seen other very well-known themes out there that exhibit the same broken behavior, BTW.
    I fixed this issue for the good-behavior browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and IE8) in version 2.6.4. But older versions of IE still faced this problem. Given the share of IE worldwide, this was something that needed to be fixed, though the original intent was that you wouldn’t let the navigation bar spill over. After an elaborate hunt I came across Ruthsarian Layouts and that was of immense help in solving the problem. While the site itself didn’t explain how to tackle the problem, I went through their CSS, which is exceptionally well-detailed. The first fix I made helped resolve the issue for IE6, but IE7 still remained broken. Go figure. Eventually, from the same CSS on their site I figured out how to fix it for IE7. So the crisis has been averted!!

This cross-browser compatibility has pretty much been the fix for this version. Stay tuned for 2.6.5 – I don’t know when it will be approved.