Updates to Blog, Plus New Features!

Most of the updates to the blog theme that I mentioned yesterday are now complete. I am still tweaking a few minor things here and there, but they are minor and probably not noticeably by most folks. For those interested, what follows is a summary of the changes I made as well as some of the new features you’ll get because of these changes.

Changed WordPress theme to Twentytwelve

I use a self-installed version of WordPress to run this site. For a long time, I have been using the SubtleFlux theme, which I customized for my own needs. There are two problems with that theme:

  1. It had not been maintained for more than two years. It still works for me, but because it hasn’t been maintained…
  2. It does not support many of the features available in the current release of WordPress.

Yesterday I switched to the Twentytwelve theme, which comes out of the box with WordPress. It is a simple, two-column theme, close in basic structure to SubtleFlux, which was important because I wanted the overall look-and-feel of the site to remain the same. Much of the time I spent on this update was tweaking the stylesheets for Twentytwelve to get the site to look pretty much the same as it looked before. You’ll notice some minor differences in look and feel, but overall, it should look the same.

New features for comments

One of the benefits of the new theme is that it has the hooks that allow commenters to optionally use various social media credentials when leaving comments on the site. When you go to leave a comment now, in addition to just providing your email address, you can also choose to use your WordPress, Twitter, or Facebook persona to comment. The new comment screen looks something like this:

New Comments

Infinite scrolling is enabled

When you scroll to the bottom of the main page, the next set of 7 or so posts will automatically be loaded so that you do not have to click the “Previous posts” button. This happens automatically when you reach the bottom of the page.

For analytics purposes, I’ve configured Google Analytics to consider each load of additional posts as an additional page visit (this was a convenient option available in the settings).

WordPress “Like” button added to “sharing” section of post

The new theme allows me to enable the WordPress version of “liking” a post to the sharing section of the post. It will appear as follows (circled in red):

New Sharing

Dropdown options on menu bar

The new theme also enabled the dropdown option on the main menu bar. Some (but not all) of the items on the menu bar have sub-items. If you hover over that main item (Miscellaneous, for instance) you will see a popup menu with additional options, making some of the pages a little easier to access:

Menu Bar

As I said, I still have some minor tweaks to make, but the bulk of the changes are now complete and the features listed above are all enabled. The biggest tweak I still have to make is displaying the post categories and tags. I’m working on a different way of doing that and it requires a little more tweaking of the style sheet, so for now, they are not visible as part of the post.

Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts.


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