Category Archives for WordPress

WordPress child themes and frameworks

After my troubles in hacking this theme to look more colorful (and not being satisfied with the results – it’s not particularly clean looking) and also due to incompatibilities with upgrading – I have started looking into theme frameworks and child themes as a way forward for myself and my clients.

There are two I am looking at: “thematic” and “hybrid”

WordPress upgrades

Ok, I must have done this wrong.   Or maybe I was on too old of a version of wordpress.

I wanted to install sociable, a popular wordpress plugin that makes it easy for your visitors to digg, facebook, etc.. your blog posts.   However the most recent sociable version did not work with my current version of wordpress 2.3.3, which is quite old.  It was obviously time for me to upgrade wordpress.

Installing wordpress is a snap, but it seemed less clear how to upgrade.  The wordpress codex seemed indicate I should download the latest version .. but I was a little concerned about overwriting all my customizations, it also mentioned that my hosting provider might provide some point and click support for what I wanted to do.

Excellent!  I thought (I can be really lazy about this stuff)

I use bluehost.   Since I have installed wordpress they have started using simple scripts in place of fantastico (yes the install was a while ago).   I followed the prompts and then got the dreaded error about finding some incompatibilities and asking permission to overwrite.  I of course said no, but that stopped the process cold.  I apparently had no option but to say yes.

But before I said yes (yes please overwrite files you aren’t telling me anything about …) I used filezilla to pull down a backup of all my files.  Then, with some trepidation, I clicked yes to the overwrite prompt.

The first sign of trouble was that it gave me a new password for my admin account.  Umm, I don’t use “admin” for my admin account.  I then went to my blog and what was staring at me was the default wordpress theme with the single hello world post.  Insert your favorite expletive here.

The lost of the theme wasn’t hugely concerning, that was easy to fix.  And in fact I just went into the admin, switched themes to greyidea (the theme I’m using), with all my extensive customizations to it intact.

But none of the 100 or so blog posts.  That seemed like a major problem, I hadn’t thought to back up the database (wordpress keeps a lot of stuff in a mySQL database).   I would have rather rebuilt the theme.

But was all my posts gone?   phpadmin is a most handy tool.  And sure enough there were two databases.  A peek at my saved wpconfig file showed I was pointing a different database.   A quick fix (glad I saved the original config file so I had the username and password!) to wpconfig, upload, and I was back in business.  Everything, even my original admin account started working again.

Installing sociable was easy compared to the “upgrade”.

So the question is, is there a easier way to upgrade wordpress to the latest version?

Firefox and IE and tag conflicts

I have been doing some customization to the wordpress theme I have using for this blog.  The original theme was too mono-colored and the link color was hard to see.  And of course I wanted my own header.

Many blog themes put the title of your blog both as the page title tag and also as a H1 somewhere as text in your header.  This was fine with me but I wanted to have it display in a smaller font size to be more compatible with my custom header and not overrun my graphic.

So I went into the css of the blog theme and found the id tag (called “h1”) that specified the size in “em” and picked a smaller size.

It looked great on firefox, but on IE7 the size was unchanged.   Furthermore I had also changed the link color from a barely distinguishable grey to a dark red with a command to underline the link on hover.   Again worked great on Firefox 3, totally ignored on IE7.

With some help from my webdesigner friend from talksure, we figured out the problem.   For the blog title, the theme not only enclosed the text in a div tag specifying the id “h1”, but it also had additionally enclosed the text in h1 tags (confusing .. but they *are* different).   Of course the css had a larger size specified for the h1 tag. What was happenning was Firefox gave the div tags priority .. but IE7 gave the regular h1 tags priority.

A similiar problem explained the link color problem.

If you have conflicting tags, the behavior by IE and Firefox is likely to be different.

We think the reason that the title was enclosed in both a div tag and a h1 tag was to give the search engines a recognizable H1.  And it makes sense this would be the blog title.  However for now, the H1’s are removed so that my blog looks the same on all browsers.

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