I submitted version 3.5.0 of Suffusion a few minutes back for approval. With this release, as promised, I have taken a major step towards supporting WP version 3.0. Here are the key features of this release:
- Support for WP 3.0 Menus:
Initially this was a desperate measure. Some folks testing with WP 3.0 Beta 1 complained that they could not see the list of pages in the navigation bar setup. I did some debugging and found that this wasn’t a fault of the theme, but rather the functionality in the beta release itself was broken. Not knowing when the WP bug would be fixed, I decided to support the menu feature provided in WP 3.0. Of course, by the time I actually started writing the functionality Beta 2 was released and it fixed the original problem. I introduced the support, nonetheless. To use this feature go to Suffusion Theme Options → Blog Features → Main Navigation Bar Setup and Top Navigation Bar Setup and scroll to the section that says WP 3.0 Navigation Menus. This will only work if you have WP 3.0. Before you rush off to install 3.0 be warned that it is still in Beta, so a lot of things will not work as desired.
- Native Tabbed Sidebars:
This was something I had in mind since a really long time, but I had never gotten around to coding it. This is similar to the “Tabbed Sidebar” setup you do in the Blog Features, but with a huge difference: it applies directly to the sidebar!!! In other words, if you go to Suffusion Theme Options → Visual Effects → Sidebars and Widget Areas and set the style of Sidebar 1 to be “Tabbed”, you can add widgets directly to your sidebar and have them show up as tabs. You don’t need to search for short codes to enter in the Custom Tab setup that Suffusion had so far.
Mind you, there are some caveats – the widgets you add to the sidebar must have a title. Also, they must be “good” widgets following standard coding practices. In other words, the widget authors must take care to use the standard WP tags, $before_widget, $after_widget, $before_title and $after_title while coding their widgets. That means the NextGEN Gallery widget will not work in the tabbed sidebar (Apologies to fans of that plugin, but the widget that comes with it doesn’t follow WP coding guidelines).
As far as I know Suffusion is the only free theme (and possibly the only theme, free or premium) that offers the capability to have your sidebar show tabs natively. Isn’t that cool? I am going to write up a tutorial on how to do this in a few days.
- Bug Fixes:
I fixed a bug that was causing the title of the magazine section excerpts to show up supersized. Another bug that I fixed was that the JQuery Cycle script was being included twice. Thirdly, there was a minor alignment issue in the comments section, brought around by the relative font-sizing. That is now fixed.
- General Changes:
I have merged the content of plugin.css with the main content. This should reduce one HTTP call from the page. I have also made the fonts for different headers slightly smaller, just to make things appear more pleasant.
- New Translation:
Abe Li has graciously provided a Chinese translation that I have included in this version. Thanks Abe!
I have been delving deeper into WP 3.0 and there are a lot of things I can see that I like:
- One big “to-fix” item on my list is full BuddyPress support. In WP 3.0 WP and WP-MU have been integrated, but with one major caveat. Previously you could install WP-MU in a sub-directory on your site, but with the merger, WP cannot be installed in its own directory. This poses a challenge for me, as I have to figure out how to test this setup – I always have WP installed as a sub-directory and I don’t have domains where I could test this.
- Another really interesting feature is “Custom Post Types” and “Custom Taxonomies”. The reason I call this interesting is because the themes that will truly benefit from this are full-blown frameworks (like Thematic, Hybrid etc) rather than classical themes like Atahualpa or Suffusion. Of course, Suffusion has enough hooks to have its own child themes, so I have to give this some more thought.
- Some rather basic capabilities have been provided like native support for custom headers and custom backgrounds. Since Suffusion already has extensive capabilities in this space, this is not urgent on my priority list.