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.

Sep 212012
 

Version 4.3.2 of Suffusion has been on a painfully slow “go-live” process. While the plugin was approved about 5 days back, it hasn’t been made live yet, meaning you cannot use it for at least a few more days. In the meanwhile my request for a new plugin, “Suffusion Shortcodes” got approved.

As mentioned earlier, this plugin is essentially a collection of shortcodes available within Suffusion. The primary audience for this plugin are the folks who have used the shortcodes of Suffusion extensively and feel that it is shackling them from moving to other themes. By using this plugin you will be able to keep all your content absolutely safe. I am undecided on whether I will continue with enhancing the shortcodes within Suffusion itself in the future, but I know for sure that if I make any shortcode improvements, they will definitely be in this plugin. So even if you are a Suffusion user, I encourage you to download this plugin. The plugin is active from its official WP page. The list of shortcodes and their usage can be found here.

Sep 212012
 

I managed to track down the oddest bug I have seen in code in a long time when I worked to release version 1.25 of Photonic. After the last release quite a few users noticed that the 500px.com module had stopped working. This was particularly surprising to me because I could see 500px.com working perfectly on my local install, but failing elsewhere, such as the demo site. I never would have guessed, but the problem was that my development environment is a 64-bit machine while my live environment is a 32-bit machine. That was causing the maximum possible integer in PHP to be evaluated differently on the two platforms, and since I was comparing dates using this number as a bound, the 64-bit and 32-bit machines were returning differing results.

Anyway, this is the gist of this version of Photonic:

  1. Fixed the above issue.
  2. There was an issue that you wouldn’t have noticed if you weren’t connected to the web – trying to view a 500px.com gallery while not connected would result in a fatal error. This has been taken care of.

Hope this fixes the 500px.com issues for you.

Sep 192012
 

Version 4.3.2 of Suffusion has been approved, but it hasn’t gone live yet. While I wait for that to happen, I would like to post a few updates regarding what’s been cooking on Aquoid.

Along with the development of 4.3.2, I worked on a plugin called “Suffusion Shortcodes”. This plugin unshackles shortcodes from the theme, by bundling all of them and making them available separately. I did this to quell the debate of whether the shortcodes belong to a theme or to a plugin. With my current approach the shortcodes could coexist in both places. If you decide to stop using Suffusion in the future, you could use this plugin and keep all your shortcodes and content safe. If you use this plugin along with Suffusion you will get the added benefits of some customizability. The plugin is currently awaiting approval from the WP admins.

Another thing that I have been working on is FontMeister. You will be happy to learn that I have almost completed the support for Font Squirrel. I am in the process of ironing out some kinks, and once I am done I will release the update.

The third aspect I am working on is Photonic – apparently the last release broke some functionality in 500px.com. I am in the process of troubleshooting and I will soon have an update for you. In addition there is some other code in the works for OAuth2 authentication. This will let me add private photo support for Picasa, and will let me define new sources such as Facebook and Instagram.

And the last thing I have been working on is Responsive Design for Suffusion. As you can guess, on a personal front I am a lot more settled at this point of time. So while my professional work takes up a lot of time, I am able to dedicate some time to new code. So what is the status of Responsive Design so far?

What’s Done

  1. I have finished and tested sidebar repositioning features. I have ensured that whatever the layout you will be able to see the sidebars below your content. In true Suffusion-style you will be able to pick what you want to do with the sidebars. E.g. On screen sizes between 650px and 980px you can opt to have your sidebars where they are. From 320px to 650px you can opt to have your sidebars below your content, but you can choose to have the sidebars side by side if you have 2 of them.
  2. I have also put in code to switch the navigation menus to “Select” lists if the screen gets narrow. You get to pick which width the switch occurs.

What’s Being Worked On

  1. I am testing out code for making the featured content responsive.
  2. I am also trying to figure out how to handle the Custom Layout Template and the Magazine Template. Along similar lines what needs to be handled are the horizontal widget areas (“Widget Area Above Header”, “Widget Area Below Header” etc.), which can have multiple widgets in a row.
  3. I have put in some preliminary code to tackle the “pullout” style bylines. On narrow screens the pullout will cease to appear as a pullout and will show up as the more traditional single-line byline display.
  4. Lots of other code is in the works, to handle the multitudinous options of Suffusion.

What May Not be Included

  1. Responsive images – Ideally if you are viewing a site on a low bandwidth connection (typically a mobile) you would want to reduce the size of images. Most themes fake this by setting the max-width for images to 100%. That works fine in appearance, but it defeats the purpose of responsive design because you are essentially downloading the full large image, but you are only scaling it down. Instead there should be a mechanism to control the image size from the server.
  2. Hover effects – Touch devices have a drawback in the sense that you cannot hover over links. While most of them compensate for this by letting a single click function as a hover, the trouble happens when you have a menu item that is both, a link and has a drop-down under it. E.g. See the menu item for “Suffusion” in the menu on this site (Themes → Suffusion). That links to a page and it has child pages under it. On a touch device you would find it hard to click on the child pages, because the click on “Suffusion” will take you to the page for Suffusion. The click on “Themes” works fine, mind you, because that tab doesn’t go anywhere (its URL is “#”). I have to figure out how to handle this behaviour.

The Responsive features are very configurable. You can turn them on or off as you wish, and you can control what type of breakpoints you want to enable. E.g. If you don’t have people visiting your site from a 240px browser, you don’t have to handle that as a breakpoint.

Completion of all of these will take time, particularly since things are really hot on the professional front for me. But I will keep you posted.