TaylorLovett

WordPress Reference Guide for Developers

November 30, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

WordPress theme and plugin developers, I found something you might like. A women named Natalie from DBS Interactive emailed me informing me of there WordPress Reference Guide for Developers. I am a huge fan of the WordPress Codex but the reference guide they put together is much easier to use than the WP Codex. It’s like an encyclopedia for WordPress theme developers. This is definitely worth a bookmark:

WordPress Reference Guide for Developers

WordPress Frameworks or Parent Themes

August 13, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

WordPress frameworks are the wave of the future for not only WordPress users but also developers.

What are WordPress frameworks?
Wordpress frameworks provide a structure for developers to build off of containing a ton of great functionality. WordPress frameworks are the definition of not recreating the wheel. The release of WordPress 2.7 beckoned a revolutionary new feature, child themes. Child themes sometimes contain as little as a single style sheet file and build off of a parent theme (duh). The parent theme, or the framework, contains a basic HTML framework, a default plain looking style sheet, and most importantly loads of great functionality: a completey widgetized header, footer, homepage, and sidebar, some great widgets included the frameworks theme function file, and a great configuration page for the template (allowing you to choose primary and secondary navigation menus, choose SEO settings, exclude categories from the blog page, and much, much more) among other things.

Why use a WordPress framework?
As previously stated, why reinvent the wheel? Developers turn their nose at already developed frameworks because they feel they can do it better. I assure you this is not true. The functionality of these frameworks provides a versatility to WordPress that would take a year for any programmer to develop. Also, many parent themes provide a plethora of beautiful child themes to spiced up your site.

Top WordPress Framworks
Genesis: Developed by Studiopress, this is my go to framework and I use it on most of my clients websites. There are enough professional child themes to suite anyones tastes and everything is extremely easy Ito customize. The Genesis widgets are amazing and come preinstalled: add twitter to your menu, featured pages and posts with preview images (that you can define within the page or post!) and more. The SEO capabilities of Genesis make plugins like SEO all in one redundant. Also Genesis is compatible with every 3rd party plugin that I’ve ever tried which is important. This is definitely my favorite WordPress framework and is very affordable.

Thesis: Another great WordPress framework. It has a host of nice child themes to spice up your site. This framework also has a great configuration page with many of the same features as Genesis. It lacks the custom widgets that Genesis has. A means to manage SEO is also included in this framework. Where this framework is lacking is customization from the standpoint of the developer. The code is documented poorly compared to Genesis making it a constant battle to change anything code-wise. Thesis is also a little more expensive.

There are other great frameworks out there such as Thematic, but Genesis is my preference.

Custom Contact Forms 2.2.0

August 9, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Custom Contact Forms 2.2.0 has been released and sports a number of new useful features. A plugin news feed has been added to the administratin panel displaying the latest news, tips, and tricks concerning Custom Contact Forms. A form has been added to the admin page allowing anyone to report a bug as well as suggest new features. 

Custom Contact Forms is constantly being developed and these new features really allows blog owners to steer development in the direction of their best interest. Finally a plugin navigation menu has been included at the top of the admin page allowing users to more fluidly control their contact forms.

Suggest a feature has already provided us with some great ideas. Custom Contact Forms someday some may have a mailing list function allowing you to build a list for internet marketing. Excited yet? Custom Contact Forms is already the best contact forms WordPress plugin by far and is only getting better.

Raving Reviews for Custom Contact Forms 1.1.1

July 27, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

The first stable version of my WordPress Plugin, Custom Contact Forms has been released in version 1.1.1. Version 1.1.1 includes fixed fields that are included automatically and not listed with user fields. The first fixed field added to Custom Contact Forms is a secure captcha.

As well as fixed fields, plugin users can now make a custom thank you message and have fields remember how users previously filled them out; error messages have also now been added to the WordPress plugin.

Custom Contact Forms is quickly becoming a popular WordPress. It is much more intuitive than any other contact form WordPress plugin and is extremely easy to use. Custom Contact Forms has been downloaded and installed over 240 times in its first two weeks. Here’s a review from a WordPress blog owner:

You have the best of the WP contact forms. Outstanding effort. Congrats!

Mark Lasserre – lasserre.us

Most importantly Custom Contact Forms updates itself automatically if you have an old version so they are no reason not to upgrade immediately. If you have any suggestions are problem with my WordPress plugin, please email me and I will fix them same-day guaranteed.

Download Custom Contact Forms 1.1.1

Custom Contact Forms 1.0 Released

July 18, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

My new WordPress plugin, Custom Contact Forms 1.0, has finally be released.

Custom Contact Forms is a WordPress plugin for handling and displaying custom web forms; insert the provided code in any page, post, category, or archive in which you want a web form to show. This plugin allows you to create fields with a variety of options and to attach them to specific forms you create.

Definitely allows for more customization than any other WordPress contact form plugin out there today. The greatest part of this plugin is the comprehensive admin page which allows you to manage fields, forms, and tons of customizable options in one place! Also comes with a web form widget to drag-and-drop in to your sidebar. It has been tested on WordPress version 2.7.1 and up. Give it a try on your blog today; it’s free!

Content Boxes and Rounded Corners with CSS

July 2, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Rounding corners has become more and more popular as the internet has grown older. Even Google allows users to select options in Adsense to round corners. There are many ways to round corners some using 2 images and CSS, 3 images and CSS, 4 images and no CSS, purely Javascript, only CSS (CSS3 only unfortunately), and more. To me CSS and rounding corners is an art because there are an infinite amount of ways to accomplish this effect but some are more elegant than others. This Bethesda web developer Maryland WordPress expert found a great website explaining in detail (CSS, XHTML markup, and images included) 25 great ways to achieve rounded corners in your layout with minimal HTML markup. Here’s the link:

25 Rounded Corners Techniques with CSS

Strange Google XML Sitemaps Error Fixed

June 24, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Today, I installed the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. I configured the plugin accordingly then directed my browser to http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml to see my newly built sitemap. I was confronted with the very ugly error:

Error loading stylesheet: An unknown error has occurred (805303f4)

http://www.taylorlovett.com/wp-content/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/sitemap.xsl

After some searching on Google, I found others having the same issue but no definite solution. It seemed that directing my browser to http://www.taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml worked fine but http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml did not. I figured out the problem was that in my General Settings page my WordPress address (URL) was set to http://www.taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml and my Site address (URL) was set to http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml. After changing them both to the exact same URL, the problem was solved!

Comment Template Customization in WordPress

by Taylor Lovett

Today I was working on my blog and started styling comments.php in my WordPress theme – this wasn’t too difficult but still took me a couple hours to sift through PHP/Wordpress jargon to find the HTML/CSS code I was looking for. Before long I wanted to style the actual comments posted by users. To my dismay I learned the code for user comments is not in the comments.php theme file but rather in the comments-template.php file in the WordPress wp-includes/ folder. Bummer.

Customizing the WordPress wp-includes/comments-template.php file is extremely complicated, even to a veteran PHP programmer, and after messing with it for 2 hours I started searching Google for a guide. I found out through various guides that the wp_list_comments() function called in comments.php can take a callback function as a parameter that will use a custom comment function as opposed to the WordPress default. By using the callback parameter to point to your own function, you can really take control of the WordPress comments style and structure.

I found a great guide that will take you step by step through creating your own comment function for the wp_list_comments() function to callback.

WordPress Comment Templates Customization

Also, for background information on wp_list_comments() and a full list of it’s parameters:

Function Reference for wp_list_comments()

The New 2010 Taylorlovett.com Homepage Is Up

June 12, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Welcome to the 2010 version of Taylorlovett.com. This mission of this website is to bring web development solutions to small businesses. Based in Rockville Maryland, I specialize in websites and blogs (usually WordPress based), search engine optimization, and Google Adwords consultation. Please see my affordable web development solutions for more information on how I can improve the functionality and overall “feel” of your website as well as increase your websites internet exposure. If you would like to see some fine examples of my work, please see my web development portfolio. Welcome to the new site!