Take Complete Control Of Your WordPress Menu

I don’t normally post lists of plugins but for the first time ever my WordPress menu is completely controlled by WordPress itself in a smooth and efficient way. All thanks to some awesome plugins that you need to put in your WordPress management arsenal—right now. No more custom coding. No more hurried hacking when I change themes. Install these 3 plugins and stop worrying about your WordPress menu.

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Thematic Version 0.9—The Best Version Yet

Thematic version 0.9 represents a major change in Thematic. Actually, this release represents everything I’ve learned from the Thematic user community and my continual efforts in studying how most WordPress themes are actually used.

Thematic is all about you: what you want to do with it, how you’re using WordPress, and how you’re going to use it to meet your online goals.

Head to the Thematic download page and get it now or keep reading and find out what the story is with the best version yet of your favorite WordPress Theme Framework.

The New Default Thematic Style

thematic-screenshot

As you can see, there have been some changes. Thankfully, they’ve all been for the better.

First of all, I’ve done away with building to a consistent baseline. That is, having everything line up to the same baseline across content and sidebar. In theory, or on a static site, that’s a great idea. In practice, I’ve found that it ends up being a detriment when you’re customizing using the default style as a guideline or starting point. Basically, things stop lining up and it makes me koo-koo bananas when I go to visit your blog.

What I’ve replaced it with is a complete rethink of the Thematic typographic scale that adds up to a more harmonious overall appearance. Something beautiful on it’s own but easy to fit into almost any design. You can think of it as a damn elegant theme that’s ready for you to build a successful website with. Beautiful, pleasant, damn elegant typography, and simple design, are a must for engaging your website visitors and keeping them coming back. Now Thematic takes care of all that for you.

And the default Thematic style is easier to customize. No more multiple shades of blue (but keep reading to find out how Thematic Classic can bring it all back) that look kinda weird with your custom image header. In it’s stead, a simple and consistent scale of gray ready for you to take advantage of and color up yourself. (And super easy to edit with a find and replace in your favorite text editor!)

The real icing on the cake for people ready to take their Thematic theme to the next level, Hooks and Filters, are now everywhere in Thematic. Making your Child Theme a potential super-plugin for WordPress. You can see the complete list on the new (in development) Guide To Customizing The Thematic Theme Framework along with code snippets that you can just cut and paste into your Thematic Child Theme.

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The Future of WordPress Themes 2009

Last year’s Future of WordPress Themes (read it here) found 11 people committed to thinking creatively about WordPress themes stopping to look where WordPress theming was heading—and now we’re doing it again! These 15 people—designers, developers, and WordPress enthusiasts—are some of the people who will shape WordPress themes, and what they mean, into version 3.0 and beyond.

Here is how they answered the question “What is the future of WordPress Themes?”

Brian Gardner

brian-gardner1I think the future of WordPress themes is heading into a very positive direction – there are a lot of designers who are developing some really great themes. It seems that a lot of us have our own unique style, which makes it great for users to enjoy a wide selection of quality themes. Another thing that I have personally experienced is building plugin-type functions into a theme, which enhances it that much more. Special thanks go to guys like Nathan Rice who are focusing more on the code/functionality of a theme, because they are adding to the overall impact that themes are making. Overall, I’d say that the next year of WordPress themes should be as productive, if not more than the last, and the ability to use WordPress as a content management system only seems to become an easier thing to achieve.

Brian Gardner has made many a WordPress theme and currently releases his pay-to-download GPL themes over at StudioPress.

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Customize Your Posts Without Touching Your Theme Files

I hate editing my WordPress theme files—and I’m a theme developer! It makes it a pain to update the theme when a new, better version comes out. And if you ever change your theme you’re either going to forget about some crucial edit you’ve made, or spend wasted hours hunting down all your customizations. Didn’t we decide to use WordPress because it was so simple to use?

Well, it is simple to use. The secret is to write a quick plugin. The really big secret is it’s not that hard.

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Adding Class To The WordPress Page Menu

Problem: You need to add a class or id to the the unordered list in wp_page_menu. Maybe to implement some super-slick drop down page menus. But! That <ul> tag is trapped inside of wp_page_menu. What are you going to do?

Solution: Filter wp_page_menu. In the code example below we’ll use preg_replace to find the first—and only the first—<ul> tag and swap it out for <ul id="nav" class="something-classy">. Just drop this code snippet into your theme’s functions.php file and you’re set.

// Add ID and CLASS attributes to the first <ul> occurence in wp_page_menu
function add_menuclass( $ulclass ) {
  return preg_replace( '/<ul>/', '<ul id="nav" class="something-classy">', $ulclass, 1 );
}
add_filter( 'wp_page_menu', 'add_menuclass' );

How To Change The Postheader in Thematic

bendler.tv has written an easy to follow tutorial on how to change the Postheader in Thematic. The Postheader is the content, typically including the title and author info, above each post and page. This is can be one of the most powerful tools in your Thematic toolbox and the same technique can be used to modify the Postfooter. It let’s you take extreme control over what appears above and below all of the content on your Thematic site—without touching a single Template file.

How I Used A Custom Page Template To Redesign My Blog The Smart Way

The custom front page is a must for really taking control of your WordPress installation and using it to manage your website. Luckily, creating a custom front page is ridiculously easy. It’s something every WordPress tinkerer should tackle at least once.

Take a look at the custom front page I created for ThemeShaper. I’ll tell you exactly how I created it using a custom page template and even let you download the one I’m using here.

revenge-screenshot

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