Aug 052012

Version 4.2.8 of Suffusion was released on Saturday. This is a minor version with the following updates:

  1. The Previous / Next post buttons were not clickable – only the text for them was clickable. This has been addressed.
  2. The way the CDATA tags were being used to mask the CSS was correct from a standards and compatibility point of view, but minification plugins failed to understand them, causing issues in IE. This has been changed.


Aug 032012

As I sit alone in a large house with no furniture save a sleeping bag, a couple of suitcases and an internet modem, Suffusion is celebrating its third birthday. These have been 3 long years of toil and happiness, and I have all of you to thank for its success.

During this year Suffusion has crossed several milestones:

  1. Over 800,000 downloads – The default themes TwentyTen and TwentyEleven get the benefit of being bundled with all WP installations, but them apart, the only non-default theme with more downloads than Suffusion is Atahualpa, which has been around for about 2 years more than Suffusion.
  2. A 5-star rating – It is one thing to have one rating of 5 stars. Slight credibility is gained when you have 10 ratings averaging close to 5 stars. But doing it for over 270 ratings is, well, impressive. As things stand, Suffusion is second in the list of all-time number of ratings, and very few in the first page come close to Suffusion’s average rating. Thanks to all of you who have rated Suffusion so highly!
  3. Alexa-verified popularity – In a study done of the top 1 million visited websites in the world, the ones using WP were analyzed. And Suffusion featured very prominently among the top 20 WP themes used on these most popular websites.

During this year I took away some development focus from Suffusion and managed to release a bunch of plugins:

  1. Photonic – A year back I pulled out the planned photo-blogging features of Suffusion and released them as Photonic a few weeks later. By far my favourite plugin, this is an absolutely fantastic way of including photos from Flickr, Picasa, Smugmug and on your site. More importantly, I am working on a few enhancements that will let you include from Facebook, Instagram and some other sources too!
  2. FontMeister – This was something I had promised in the second birthday announcement. It is a very simple yet fully functional plugin that lets you include fonts from various sources in your sites. More importantly, this integrates with Suffusion’s font drop-downs too.
  3. Suffusion Commerce Pack – This helps users use popular e-commerce plugins with Suffusion.
  4. Suffusion bbPress Pack – This lets users use bbPress with Suffusion.
  5. Suffusion Custom Post Types – This is more of a basic transitional plugin to help users use custom post types that they have formerly defined in Suffusion with new themes. The whole objective is to not make you feel shackled by Suffusion.

Of course, Suffusion received some nice additions too:

  1. New Skins – I added the “Photonique” and the “Scribbles” skins. The former is ideally suited for a photoblog.
  2. HTML5 Support and Semantic Markup – This was the big addition of the year, obviously, and the only one that could potentially break things. And I am happy to report that the transition was generally smooth, thanks to the extensive testing by Mark van Jaarsveld.
  3. More Framework-like Features – There are some things that you cannot customize via Suffusion’s options panels. For those rare situations I have been steadily adding framework-like features to Suffusion.
  4. Custom Post Types – I have added some good support for Custom Post Types, letting you define their layouts and take advantage of custom taxonomies associated with them.
  5. Custom Layouts & Mega Menus – These are features that are hard to find in commercial themes, and Suffusion gets them to you for free.

As for the future, obviously there is the whole aspect of responsive design. For once I will be coding something I don’t believe in. I have also been promising some interesting sidebar concepts for a while now. With all my work I never got around to delivering those.

To close, I reiterate something I said last year – very few big features will be added, apart from the ones committed. Of course, you will see responsive design. But apart from that you will mostly see new skins and support for new WP features.

Lastly, thanks are in order to all the ardent supporters of the theme:

  1. To Colin and Drake for the awesome job on the support forum
  2. To Mark for extensive testing during the beta releases
  3. To all the fine folks who donate to and / or vote for the theme
  4. To all of you who write to me in person thanking me for a release, or help me out with snippets of code that I can add to my theme or plugins (Bart, Marcel etc.).

If nothing else, Suffusion and my other projects showcase the power of community collaboration.

Jul 282012

Version 4.2.7 of Suffusion went live earlier today. The following are the changes in this release:

  1. If users entered incorrect paths for the “rotating header” this was causing their site to crash. I have made a modification that will simply report an incorrect path if this happens and will not bring the site down.
  2. I have also added a few fonts to the list of inbuilt fonts.

There were a few problems with the forum not sending out notifications and activation mails the last couple of weeks. I have fixed that.

I am currently in the middle of a major move from Vancouver to Houston. As a result I haven’t taken on any major changes to Suffusion. As I see there is only one major aspect left to tackle – responsive design. But I don’t want to work on that until I have settled in Houston.

Jul 252012

I released version 1.01 of Suffusion bbPress Pack with a couple of updates:

  1. Viewing group forum topics was causing an error, thanks to changes that bbPress made with their 2.1 version. I have taken care of it at my end.
  2. I put in a sanity check so that even if you haven’t got bbPress, the activation of the plugin will not cause an error.
Jul 182012

OK, my vacation is almost up. As I prepare to board a series of long flights coupled with run-or-you-will-miss-the-next-flight connections from Kolkata to Vancouver (two international airports with abysmal international connections), I see that a minor release, version 4.2.6 of Suffusion has gone live. As far as the size of releases is concerned, this is a tiny one. It has one plugin-dependent change – the last release of bbPress, 2.1 was breaking Suffusion. Coupled with the release of Suffusion bbPress Pack last week, many users incorrectly surmised that the bug was in Suffusion bbPress Pack. In truth the problem arose because bbPress changed how it defined its global variables.

I have modified Suffusion to match up to this and I have also modified the translation file slightly.

Jul 132012

I have released an update to the Suffusion Commerce Pack. Version 1.10 has one key feature: WooCommerce integration. So, the supported ecommerce plugins at this point are Jigoshop, WooCommerce and Prospress. Give it a shot and feel free to provide me with your feedback.

Please bear in mind that I am not a Jigoshop / WooCommerce user, so it is likely that some scenarios will not work perfectly. But that is what the support forum is for.

Jul 112012

The “coded-during-a-layover” plugin, Suffusion bbPress Pack is now available for download. Much like the Suffusion BuddyPress Pack plugin, this is aimed at providing you with modified plugin markup suitable for your Suffusion-based site. It copies over a bunch of template files to your theme folder and makes your theme work with bbPress. It is best you try the plugin with a child theme. Give the plugin a shot and let me know what you think.

Jul 092012

Nope, I am not back from vacation yet. On an extremely long layover at JFK I managed to add a few touches to release 4.2.4, queued up the changes for release, typed up this post and packed up. The changes are really minor in nature:

  1. I added new action hooks suffusion_before_custom_layout_widgets and suffusion_after_custom_layout_widgets, using which you can add sections in between the widget areas of the Custom Layout Template. So if you are using a child theme you can make use of these hooks to define things like headers etc. for each section of the Custom Layout Template.
  2. I also extended the suffusion_admin_modify_option_list support for “associative arrays” in the back-end. This means you should be able to tweak the options lists for dynamically generated multi-dimensional arrays in the back-end. In really simple terms, you can do things like adding options to the byline position drop-downs for custom post types.
  3. The post_class filter was causing issues for bbPress custom post types. This has been addressed.

In other good news I have coded up a bbPress pack to help you extend bbPress template support for Suffusion.

I will be back from my vacation on 19th. Till then, enjoy!

Jun 302012

The one last version I managed to squeeze in before I embarked on my vacation was 4.2.4. Don’t worry, this post has been written prior to my vacation – it is only being posted while I am holidaying.

This is another small release (which is what I like doing, really, as opposed to humongous ones), with the following:

  1. New Features
    1. Rudimentary Device Support
      As promised in my last post, I have added support for some mobile-specific classes. There are a bunch of conditionals available, such as is_mobile, is_iphone and is_ipad, which determine the device-type based on the user-agent of the browser. Based on this, certain classes are added to the body element of the page. E.g. device-desktop is added as a class if you are browsing through a desktop. The code for all of this has been liberally lifted from the mobble plugin.
      I didn’t have the time to fit in the sidebar positioning features – those will happen after I return.
    2. More Byline Control
      I have added the capability to specify starting and trailing texts for bylines. This means you can remove things like the “Tagged with: ” for tags and add text like “Filed under” for categories. Check out the options under Other Graphical Elements → Byline Configuration. For people desiring additional control, I have added the filters suffusion_before_byline_html and suffusion_after_byline_html to help you modify the strings based on your display etc.
    3. Some Admin Extensibility
      So far Suffusion has been fairly rigid about the back-end options. Of course, you can do insane amount of stuff with the options, but there has been no way to extend the options via child themes. In a first step to even better flexibility (who knew that was possible?), you can now use the suffusion_admin_modify_option_list filter and enhance the option list. E.g. if you are building a child theme with a new byline style, you could add the byline style to your list and make it available to all users of the child theme.
  2. Bug Fixes
    1. In some cases incorrect byline information was appearing if displayed in the post footer. This has been rectified.
    2. There was a bug in the reset capability for custom backgrounds – I have taken care of that.

Hope you enjoy this release, while I enjoy my vacation.