Nov 182012
 

I just released version 1.26 of Photonic, capping a few weeks of hectic development. First was the responsive version of Suffusion, then support for Font Squirrel in FontMeister, and now, OAuth2 support in Photonic for authentication in Picasa.

So this version of Photonic features:

  1. Support for private photos in Picasa
    This was a feature that took me quite some time and a few aborted attempts to develop. While Flickr, 500px.com and SmugMug use OAuth1 for authentication, Picasa uses OAuth2. The mechanisms for authentication differ, and it took me quite some time to figure out how to work with OAuth2. Thanks to Marcel Bokhorst, a suffurer, whose Add Links to Facebook plugin uses OAuth2 authentication. Marcel was gracious to help me with some OAuth2 concepts, which I have been able to put to use here.
    To enable private photo setup for Picasa:
    1. Go to the Google API Console.
    2. Create a “Client ID for web applications”. For the “Redirect URI” remember to include the URL of your WP homepage. E.g In my case the URI was http://aquoid.com/news.
    3. Go to Settings → Photonic → Picasa → Picasa Settings, and put in your new Client ID and Client Secret.
    4. On the same screen enable private photo access and save.

    Now when you visit a page with Picasa photos, it will show a box to log in. Without logging in that page will show all photos with public access, but once you log in you will be able to see private photos as well, to which you have been given access.

  2. Ability to show single photos in 500px.com
    Just like single photos in Flickr, you can now show single photos from 500px.com. The syntax is simple:
    [gallery type='500px' view='photos' view_id='4041547']

    This will show a single photo. The above shows a photo by Colin:

    Enjoying the sunshine

    A pretty girl sunning her self in a park in Madrid.
    A pretty girl sunning her self in a park in Madrid.
  3. More skins for Colorbox
    I have added a few other Colorbox skins. You can pick any that you like, from Settings → Photonic → Generic Options → JS Library Settings.

The reason I am excited about this release is that I can now consider integrating Instagram and potentially Facebook.

As usual, if you like this release, please do consider leaving a review for Photonic.

Nov 152012
 

While not Suffusion’s worst release by any stretch (that dishonour goes to version 3.7.4), version 4.4.0 did have some quirks that typically accompany releases that mess around too much with layouts and have been in development for a long but scattered period of time. The currently available version, 4.4.2 should address most of the issues seen:

  1. The worst bug of the lot was one that refused to accept custom image size parameters for images. Luckily the bug was caught within a few hours of the release and I was able to patch it the same evening.
  2. The next bug was the hanging of the tiles layout due to an unresponsive script, which I have taken care of.
  3. The third fix was for a duplicated index of posts in the static featured content. This was a curious bug, which I am not sure that I have rectified fully, mainly because I have not been able to replicate this on my test sites. However I have put in a stopgap fix that will prevent the index from duplicating.
  4. The last fix is again for the tiles layout, where the tiles were appearing too short for their content.

Hopefully this will resolve most of the issues that you have faced after 4.4.0.

Nov 132012
 

Finally I have managed to complete the new version of FontMeister. The biggest feature of this release is the support for Font Squirrel. This is a big deal because at present FontMeister is the only WP plugin to support Font Squirrel.

Unlike other services such as Google Fonts or Typekit, Font Squirrel poses a unique challenge because it doesn’t provide hosted fonts. Instead you have to download @font-face kits from Font Squirrel to use the fonts. So I wrote the code to download the file, unzip it, and make the fonts available.

I did come across one issue, though. My local installation sometimes failed to download larger @font-face kits. The problem would resolve itself if I attempted the download after some time, but would resurface again if I attempted to download other big files. I put this down to some WP configurations at my end, since I had no such issues on a public installation of the plugin.

Nov 102012
 

It seems like one rather nasty bug slipped through the cracks in 4.4.0. These are the symptoms: when you upgrade, you might suddenly start seeing your images stretched to the full width of your post, not respecting any custom width that you have specified for them.

The fix is very easy:

  1. Open style.css. You can do so from your WP Dashboard by going to Appearance → Editor and selecting style.css for editing. Alternatively you can use FTP to modify the file locally and load it back to the server.
  2. Look for this code:
    .entry img {
        max-width: 100%;
        width: auto;
    }
  3. Change it to:
    .entry img {
        max-width: 100%;
    }
  4. Save the changes.

That’s it – the images should show up correctly. My apologies for any alarms that this might have caused you. I have already fixed it and submitted a patch.

Nov 092012
 

More with a sense of relief than anything else I announce the arrival of version 4.4.0 of Suffusion, a.k.a. the Responsive edition, which went live just a while back. The following are the changes in this version:

  1. New Features
    1. As mentioned above, this release was all about checking the box against “Responsive”. I did try to put a good amount of power in the hands of the users:
      1. The feature is “opt-in”. It is turned off by default and you can configure your settings by going to Suffusion Options → Layouts → Responsive Layout.
      2. You can pick which breakpoints you want to configure. Note that for every breakpoint there is a good bit of CSS added, so exercise prudence.
      3. Typically themes either kill a sidebar or shove it to the bottom of the content when they decide to go responsive. Suffusion lets you as a user decide what you want to do. If your sidebars have enough content to warrant a display on a small screen you can decide to show them at the bottom, and more importantly you have the choice of putting your sidebars side-by-side if you have more than one sidebar. This is of particular advantage on midway screen sizes such as 650px.
      4. You can also do some fancy things like switch your navigation menus to “select” boxes if your width goes down below a point.
      5. While most elements have been made responsive, the following need to be noted:
        1. Featured content is responsive only if you check the setting to make images stretch to the full width. It took a huge effort getting JQuery Cycle to behave in a responsive manner.
        2. The Headline box in the Magazine template and the Masonry-based layouts are NOT responsive.
        3. The featured content slider doesn’t respond to swipe gestures – that will be handled in a later release.
        4. I have to make some modifications to the menus so that they play well with touch devices. Currently if you tap on a menu item on a touch device it opens up the sub-menu if the menu item itself is not linked to a separate page. However if the menu item is linked to a separate page, tapping takes you to the page rather than showing the sub-menu.
  2. Bug Fixes
    1. A missing CSS file was being loaded for BP 1.6+. This has been corrected.
    2. The setting for the number of widgets in the “Widgets in Header” was not being respected. This has been fixed.
    3. I fixed an issue where the audio shortcode was not showing the audio player even if it was enabled.
    4. A couple of layout-related issues have been addressed: Webkit browsers (Chrome and Safari) weren’t automatically setting boxes to a fixed height in the Custom Layout and the Magazine template. In addition, Opera 12.x was misbehaving for the Custom Layout template.
    5. The Featured Posts widget was, in some cases, repeating the post index. This has been addressed.
    6. I have corrected a bug where the left and right arrow icons were reversed in some iconsets.
    7. Another bug was causing a post with no title in the Query Posts widget to show up with no linking text. This has been rectified to match the behaviour of the Recent Posts widget, where an id is shown as the linking text.
    8. Activating FancyBox was causing a lot of errors to show up in the logs for IE browsers. Since Suffusion doesn’t support IE6, I saw no harm in removing the lines causing the errors.
  3. Changed Features
    1. I have removed the version of the Meta widget that came with Suffusion. This widget was mostly identical to the default Meta widget and it served no great purpose by itself. If you had the meta widget in your sidebar, you will need to re-add it.
    2. Ever since version 4.0.0 I have had a combination of JS and CSS3 multi-columns to balance the widths and margins of blocks of text, such as the Custom Layout widget areas. I have now moved to a pure CSS solution that works on all browsers and is much more robust and stable.
    3. This is more techno-speak than anything else. I had some static markup calls in the main sidebar, which I have now replaced with calls to the_widget.
    4. I used to use an online PO file generator to build the theme’s PO file. But I realized that this generator tended to drop quite a few strings. So starting from this release I am using a different PO file generation technique. Naturally this has caused a spike in the number of strings that are to be translated.

Do bear in mind that I am not a fan of the common interpretation of “responsive” design – it only adds a lot more page weight for the measly benefit of showing your site differently on a device not capable of handling the extra page weight. However, there are times when ideology takes a backseat and one has to adapt. This happens to be one of those times. Personally I am still a fan of a dedicated mobile site for handling mobile requirements – responsive designs are a fad in this regard. Of course, you could still establish server-side controls for a lot of these things. E.g. The code could be made to detect a mobile browser behind the scenes and automatically give out an image with a lower resolution. Unfortunately such techniques haven’t been perfected yet.

So here’s hoping that you enjoy this release. For support continue using the forum, and please feel free to rate Suffusion or Photonic or FontMeister.

Nov 092012
 

In the recent past I have received a few complaints about missing translation strings in the suffusion.po file. I used to use the online translation tool provided by ICanLocalize (I know they are connected to WPML, but I don’t know if the folks who wrote WPML are the same as those who own ICanLocalize). But it does seem like their program is somewhat buggy, as it kept dropping some translation strings again and again from the PO file.

So I went ahead and used a slightly different approach, as described in the WP Codex. This tool has a problem of plenty, in the sense that it detects a bunch of strings that don’t have much to do with the translation calls within the theme. But it did catch all the strings that the online tool missed, so I am switching to this new mode of translation. The new PO file has been bundled with the 4.4.0 version of Suffusion, which has been approved but hasn’t gone live at the time of writing.

I have updated the PO file on the translation pool – due to the differences caught by the new PO file generator a bunch of new lines have come up and most translations have gone from their 90%+ translation rate to lower completion percentages. Translators can go ahead an update the new strings at their convenience.

I also recently bit the bullet and with the help of the transliteration capabilities of Google Translator I wrote out the Hindi and Bengali translations of the theme. Though I am Bengali by birth and though I speak Hindi like a native speaker, English is where my strengths lie. So it is likely that some translations will be incorrect, and if that is the case, corrections are welcome.

I did mention above that 4.4.0 has been approved – a detailed release notice will go out once it goes live. To refresh your memories, that is the “responsive” version.

I am currently putting the finishing touches on the next version of FontMeister – this will support Font Squirrel, becoming the first plugin to do so. Again, release notes will be provided when I push out the new version.

Nov 022012
 

WordPress recently introduced a new review system at WordPress.org. Under this system you can write a review for any theme or plugin and it gets attached to the theme or plugin page. Earlier the only way to put in a review was to comment on the support forum at WordPress.org.

If you have liked my work (and even if you haven’t), I urge you to provide a review. The review sites for some of my projects are:

  1. Suffusion: http://wordpress.org/support/view/theme-reviews/suffusion/
  2. Photonic: http://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-reviews/photonic/
  3. FontMeister: http://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-reviews/fontmeister/

I have been gradually wading through things on the professional front and will hopefully free up some much needed time to code. The responsive version of Suffusion should be out shortly, as will some enhancements to Photonic and FontMeister.

Oct 272012
 

Normally I am quick to announce landmarks such as 300 theme ratings, however in recent weeks I have had very little time to devote to Suffusion development. So here is a belated announcement: Suffusion now has 300 ratings on the WordPress.org website! This is a huge achievement since there is only one theme that has been rated more often than Suffusion, and among all top rated themes, Suffusion’s average rating is the highest. So thanks to all of you who have given the theme a 5-star rating. Since ratings are pretty much my only remuneration apart from the coffee fund, perfect ratings are welcomed with open arms.

Over the past few releases I have been gradually opening up Suffusion for better public collaboration. I started with the FontMeister plugin, which I could have built into Suffusion, then released the shortcodes functionality and I have been adding lots of hooks to the theme.

The latest development in this is the setup of a new mechanism for translations. You can now get your translations from the new translation pool. To download a translation:

  1. Visit the above site.
  2. Look for your translation.
  3. If you find it, open the page for your translation.
  4. At the bottom you will see a link to “Export”. Click on that to get the PO and MO files. Rename them according to your locale (see the Codex for the file names you need to use) and save them to the translation folder of your child theme.

If you wish to modify / add a translation, register at the Aquoid Community. Then log into the translation pool, open the language you want to edit and put in your changes. Note that if you are not a validator for a language, your changes will not be final until approved. In such a case tweet me (@sayontan), and I will approve the changes.

If you wish for a new language to be added to the list, or if you want to be made a validator for a language tweet me.

The Translations page has been updated with the new instructions.

Sep 282012
 

Nope, this is not the responsive release. This version has the following updates:

  1. The shortcodes bundled with the theme had stopped working, requiring the users to explicitly add the “Suffusion Shortcodes” plugin. I have corrected the issue in the theme.
  2. Three updates had been requested by Drake, and since I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for all the help he provides on the forum, I implemented all of them:
    1. Modified the Twitter widget to link the tweeter’s profile picture to the user’s Twitter page.
    2. Modified the “Follow Me” widget so that it can pick up icons from the images/follow folder in a child theme.
    3. Added the capability to specify a link to a custom page in the “Query Posts” widget for the “All Posts” button.

Hope you enjoy the release.

Sep 242012
 

Version 4.3.2 of Suffusion is now available for download. This version has the following changes:

  1. There was a minor issue in the magazine layout, which caused the text to overflow the headline box if the browser window was resized. I have addressed this.
  2. There was a discussion on the WP Theme Reviewers’ List a couple of weeks back that got ugly. The discussion was about the use of the “translation-ready” tag if the back-end was not translatable. Since Suffusion’s back-end is not translatable, I have removed the tag. This does not mean that the theme is not translatable! The front-end translation still behaves the way it used to – so this is more of a change impacting me rather than you or your users.
  3. There were some issues with the “Additional Options for Suffusion” box, where the tabs and fields were not getting positioned correctly. I have addressed those.
  4. I have also released the Suffusion Shortcodes plugin, which can be downloaded from its official WP page. This plugin essentially contains all the shortcodes used in Suffusion, but with a major advantage. You can leverage the full power of Suffusion’s shortcodes even if you stop using the theme!

I am working on the responsive aspects as and when I get some time off my regular job. Unfortunately things have not been that lightweight at work, so the responsive version (4.4.0) will take a bit more time than anticipated.