Theme and Plugin Updates – the September 2012 Edition

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 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.

3 Responses to “Theme and Plugin Updates – the September 2012 Edition”

  1. Nice update Sayontan, this is very helpful. We are using suffusion for our blog and with this kind of
    update we would be able to make our blog better. Our blog site using suffusion:

  2. Thanx for this Sayontan, great work and i´m really looking forward to this release!

  3. Good work Sayontan. I use suffusion on fixed width (960px) for my investing website.

    I will look forward to moving to suffusion 4.40 on responsive fluid width setting. This could seriously delay my plans to move to a paid theme- good work!

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.