Suffusion Version 3.7.1 was released earlier today. These are the key changes in this version:
- New Features
There were a handful of new features in this release
- Pullout-style Bylines
I added a new way to display page and post byline information (the byline information comprises of “Posted By”, “Category”, “Tag” etc). You can now display the information as a “pullout” instead of in the corners. Here is a snapshot of how this looks:
For the Minima skin the pullouts are enabled by default. If you don’t like it, or if you like it enough to enable it for other skins, go to Blog Features → Post and Page Bylines → Position of Meta Information (including date) and pick how you want to show it.
Note that with this you can now display the publishing date of the post for the Minima skin, which was earlier not possible without a hack.
- New Attachment Template
Suffusion earlier used to default to a generic attachment page. In this release there is a special attachment template that displays an apt icon for the type of attachment you have. I have made this functionality extremely flexible. For example if your attachment is an audio file, you can set the attachment page to display an embedded player to play the file. If your attachment is an image file you can choose to show EXIF data for the image.
In addition, you can define your own handling functions for different mime types. There are functions existing for the basic mime types:
suffusion_image_attachment(for image attachments),
suffusion_audio_attachment(for audio attachments),
suffusion_video_attachment(for video attachments),
suffusion_text_attachment(for text attachments) and
suffusion_application_attachment(for application attachments). You could define other functions in your child theme like
suffusion_vnd_ms_powerpoint_attachment(for Microsoft PowerPoint attachments).
You can control the settings from Templates → Attachment.
- JQuery Masonry
JQuery Masonry is a very interesting add-on that I had been wanting to add for a while now. This release I finally was able to get it in. This add-on automatically adjusts layout for floated elements. So you will not see fewer empty spaces in the horizontal widget areas (Widget Area Below Header etc), when the widgets are of different heights.
- New Filter Hooks
A lot of new filter hooks were added for better child theme support:
If you are using a child theme, you can hook in your custom functions through these and prevent a particular widget area from being displayed.
- Pullout-style Bylines
- Changed Functionality
This is mostly technical mumbo-jumbo, so you can skip this section if you are not interested.
- Selective removal of backward compatibility
I have removed the following as per my previous announcement:
function_existschecks for functions such as
dynamic_sidebar. These functions have existed since version 2.2 of WP and hence a
function_existscheck for these was overkill.
- Some other checks using
function_existshave been removed, where very old WP functions were being checked for existence.
- A call to
automatic_feed_linkshas been removed. This was a weird requirement, since the replacement for this function has only been available since WP 3.0, so for backward compatibility up to 2.9, I had to fall back on an older approach!
- Replacement with new functions
The following functions from older versions of WP have been replaced with better/new variants, as per Theme Review recommendations:
- CSS Optimization
I have dome a good bit of CSS optimization by using a generic class for sidebars. I will be doing further optimizations to reduce CSS size in the next few releases.
- Selective removal of backward compatibility
- Bug Fixes
- The biggest bug fix for this release was for one that was causing the Double Right Sidebar layout to position the sidebars outside the content.
- Thanks to a tip from one user on the support forum, I managed to fix an unexpected bug with the Google Translator widget not working. That has now been fixed and it works as expected.
- There was a bug due to which disabling Suffusion’s SEO settings was not working for document titles. This has been fixed.
- There are a couple of rendering rendering issues on WebKit-based browsers (Safari and Chrome) that have been fixed. The first was a gap of 2 pixels between the bottom of the navigation bar items and the lower border of the navigation bars. The second was where setting the CSS max-width and min-width parameters with a fixed width layout was causing issues.
- Under some settings the navigation bar was not stretching across the width of the wrapper. This too has been fixed.
- The HTML attribute “height” has been removed from image HTML tags. This makes sure that the aspect ratio is preserved if you have a large image and it is being scaled down to fit into the dimensions of your content so that it doesn’t overflow.
- Another minor bug fix was where the home page wasn’t getting highlighted if it was a text link.
- Under certain rare cases there was a debug message showing up saying “Call-time pass-by-reference has been deprecated”. One such case was when the WP-United plugin was being used. I put in some code so that this wouldn’t happen, so hopefully this bug is now fixed.
Now for some upcoming changes. Note that these changes are quite high impact, however they haven’t been made yet.
- Removal of TimThumb Support
TimThumb is the most widely used open-source PHP-based image resizing script available. But for various reasons the script doesn’t find favour with the WP theme approvers. Their requirement is that if your theme is not backwards compatible you MUST use WP’s native “post_thumbnail” feature. That would have been fine in the normal course of things, except that this is a fairly half-baked feature in WP at present. It has several shortcomings:
- It doesn’t apply to custom fields. So you cannot use it to have one thumbnail for an excerpt, a different thumbnail for the same post in the featured post section and yet another picture in the main content.
- It is not dynamic. In other words, images of a particular size are generated when a post is saved, but if you were to demand an image of a different size, you would have to first register that size, then fetch the generated image. This is a double-edged shortcoming, though. It prevents users from specifying any size they want and filling up the WP installation’s folder with all the generated images.
- Not being dynamic presents another challenge. Existing posts in your blog will not work without being modified specifically to work with the post_thumbnail functionality. That is a real pain.
Nonetheless, this is something that has to be fixed, because the theme reviewers are planning to completely outlaw TimThumb in a few weeks. I am working on some alternatives, so hopefully I will have something by the next release.
- Moving Translations out of the Core Theme
Suffusion has translations in 23 different languages at the time of writing this post. Though this means the theme has an excellent user base, it also means that the zipped theme file I upload to the repository is around 400KB larger than it could have been.
So I am going to keep the translation files separate from the main theme. That would require you to download the translation that you need explicitly from this site. Luckily the translations don’t change very often, so this is mostly an infrequent annoyance. Version 3.7.1 had some translation-related changes, so I am expecting translators to post their updates. Once they do so, I will distribute them here so that you can make the update as appropriate.
That’s it for this release. Keep watching this space for the two main items I wrote about above.