All posts by Mike Nichols

Announcing! Thesis Theme Tools Skins!

Thesis Theme Tools Skins Coming Soon!
Thesis Theme Tools Skins Design Samples

You might not have known it, but I have been writing skins for others for quite some time. Now I have decided to strike out on my own and offer them directly to you!

Thesis Theme Tools Skins will be launched on June 1, 2010. We will offer fresh new designs, innovative features, unheard-of user customizability, and rock-solid reliability and stability, all for reasonable prices.

Tired of the same old ho-hum skin designs that the others tout? Envious of the snazzy non-Thesis themes available?

Well, just wait until you see our designs! Created by the extremely talented Joel Thompson, our intent is to offer the best designs not only for Thesis, but to be found anywhere!

But it’s not all just a pretty face. As you may expect from Thesis Theme Tools, the leader in advanced customizations, our skins have advanced features that focus on easy customization and maximum flexibility so you can make your skin just like you want it to be.

You will see features such as:

  • Multiple widgetized areas
  • Custom sidebar widgets
  • Built-in slideshows
  • Built-in featured content galleries
  • Admin panels that let you upload and position your header, logo, footer graphics, and other graphics, as well as maintain tab panels, the footer, the copyright line, rotating galleries, and more!
  • And some big surprises never before seen in Thesis skins!

In the coming days, I will be previewing some of our new designs so you can get a taste of what is awaiting you on June 1st!

So buckle your seatbelt! You are in for the ride of your life!

Making It Easy for You! Feedburner Setup

Feedburner is Google’s free service that makes having attractive RSS feeds a snap. It’s not hard to set up an account, but some of the more important services are hidden away under lots of menu tabs and sidebar menus.

The new article, “Feedburner Setup,” makes it all easy for you. It shows you in five illustrated steps how to set Feedburner up in under five minutes!

Also included is the way to set up RSS email subscriptions and why you should.

The article is catalogued in the Tips section under “Google Services Setup.”

You’ve been heard! Color Individual Tabs on the Thesis 1.6 Nav Bar

Many of you have requested an update of the article about coloring individual menu tabs in Thesis 1.5.1. Your wait is over!

Thesis 1.6 offers even more ways to color your menu tabs, even without the dropdown menus. You can color the unselected tabs and hover colors individually, the selected tab, and each tab’s dropdown and dropdown hover colors. Even the RSS Subscribe word can be colored.

Color Individual Tabs on the Thesis 1.6 Nav Bar shows you how to do all this with many illustrations and code examples. The tutorial is clear and easy to follow, with each type of coloring having both an image and the code showing you how it was done.

Now you can exactly match your menu with your color scheme, or color your tabs by the categories they represent as I did with ChampagneGossip, which is still under development at this moment.

See, I do listen to you! On tap are many more articles that you, the readers, have suggested!

Toolbox Essentials – Tutorial: Browser Detection to Execute IE Hacks

If you are a Firefox, Chrome or Mac user, you might be familiar with this scenario: Your Thesis site looks great and you are all proud. Then a friend emails you that your page is a mess in Internet Explorer. You gaze at the attached screenshot in horror. What can you do?

A new article, “Tutorial: Browser Detection to Execute IE Hacks” gives you two solutions. They will allow you to detect the Internet Explorer browser and include CSS code just for them to get them looking right. You can detect all IE browsers, or individual ones to target the problem.

Cross-browser compatibility is a big issue for developers. Clients insist on their sites looking the same in all browsers. These methods give you the tools needed to make the sites appear the same in all versions of IE, Firefox and Chrome both on the Mac and in Windows.

These tools are not always needed, but when they are, they are essential!

Important New Article! Tutorial: Customizing Just Your Front Page, Pages or Posts Using Conditional Tags

How many times have you wanted to customize just the Home page, or just one page, or only posts? You’ve heard about Conditional Tags but don’t have a clue how to use them!

Well, you will after reading this new article!

Tutorial: Customizing Just Your Front Page, Pages or Posts Using Conditional Tags” provides all you need to know to be a master of Conditional Tags in your custom_functions.php file. Fully illustrated with code examples, it walks you through using Conditional Tags for the Home and Front pages, posts, and pages. It even shows you how to use CSS on selected pages!

This article will surely become one that you come back to again and again to get ideas for your customizations!

It is filed under the “Tips” section in a new grouping called “Code You Can Use.”

Another Tip! Quickie: Executing CSS in custom_functions.php

Sometimes we need to execute CSS within the PHP of our custom_functions.php file. This article shows you how to use the “style” statement to do so!

Quickie: Executing CSS in custom_functions.php” is a clear and concise article on how to use the same CSS statements as you use in the custom.css file within your custom_functions.php file. It has an example that illustrates the method.

Yet another “Quickie” filed under the “Tips” section in the “Tips” grouping.

New Series! Quickie: How to Find a Page or Post’s Number

A frequent question in the DIYthemes forums is how to find the number of a page or post. It’s really simple, but more or less hidden in the bowels of WordPress!

Quickie: How to Find a Page or Post’s Number” is an illustrated article showing you how to find the number in about 30 seconds! And it takes about 30 seconds to read!

This is the first of an ongoing series called “Quickies.” They will all be gathered in the “Tips” section under the grouping “Tips.”

A New How-To! How to Create and Use a Favicon

Favicons are the little icon next to your domain name in your browser URL bar. Take a look at the one for Thesis Theme Tools, which is the hammer in our header.

A favicon of your own is a great way to make your site appear more professional and credible.

Creating a favicon is easy, and a new article, “How to Create and Use a Favicon” shows you how to do it. It is fully illustrated and compares the results of two leading favicon generators.

So, take 15 minutes and make your site look like you mean business and create a favicon!

Another Unplugin — Tutorial: Easy Breadcrumbs Without a Plugin

Breadcrumbs are used by many bloggers to show visitors where they are in the blog. It lists the file path from the home page to the current file, usually in a line of text between the header and the content.

Previously, the only way for Thesis users to get breadcrumbs was to use the Yoast Breadcrumbs plugin. It does what it says, but like most plugins, is inflexible in its placement, and you can’t change fonts or make other customizations.

The tutorial Easy Breadcrumbs Without a Plugin changes all of that. Besides handling parent-child relationships the right way, it is extremely configurable.

Easy Breadcrumbs has these great features:

  • Quick and easy to install.
  • Correctly shows the parent of a child page.
  • Clickable links in the breadcrumbs to previous or parent pages.
  • Has versions for breadcrumbs everywhere or everywhere but the front page.
  • Can be fully configured in custom.css and custom_functions.php
  • Very small and efficient code
  • Works right out of the box with no settings or customizations.

I’d be surprised if it took you more than 15 minutes to install Easy Breadcrumbs, including time to fire up your FTP program and text editor!

So why don’t you give it a try?

New Article! Tutorial: Rotating Image Gallery for Pages and Sidebars

I have been asked many times how to put your own images into a rotating gallery. Until now the only choice you had was the NextGEN plugin, which has limitations, is complicated to set up, and lacks some important features.

Help is at hand! Enter the Rotating Image Gallery!

The new article, “Tutorial: Rotating Image Gallery for Pages and Sidebars” shows you how to use this versatile and simple method of putting your own images into a gallery.

A zip file with everything you need is available to make it easy for you to try it out for yourself!

The Rotating Image Gallery has these great features:

  • Easy to install and use.
  • Can be placed anywhere there is a hook, and even in a widget.
  • Any number of images of any size can be displayed.
  • Images can be clickable links.
  • Captions are optional, and can have links in them.
  • The Image Gallery can have optional directional arrows and a pause button.
  • Multiple galleries can be shown on the same page.
  • Loops to the beginning after showing the last image, rather than stopping.
  • You have complete control over slide speed, display time, captions, etc of every Image Gallery separately.
  • You can configure fonts, borders, etc in the custom.css file.
  • The JavaScript program is only 14k.
  • Gracefully degrades when JavaScript is turned off. The Image Gallery reverts to a box with scroll bars so the user can still see the images.
  • You can use the Image Gallery right out of the box! Included in the zip file are the images used in this tutorial.

So why not show off all your great photos and give it a whirl?

New Article! Upgrading to Thesis 1.6

The new version 1.6 of Thesis has some fantastic features, such as much greater control over fonts and colors, dropdown menus, and a host of other under-the-hood improvements.

However, there is one big problem: Due to the many changes in how Thesis 1.6 uses the WordPress database, you cannot go back to a previous version of Thesis!

This will scare the willies out of many and will prevent them from upgrading out of fear they will do something wrong.

But help is here! I just published “Upgrading to Thesis 1.6“, a step-by-step guide to upgrading to Thesis 1.6. It has easy to understand instructions with lots of illustrations that will give you confidence that you can upgrade your Thesis installation quickly and safely.

So there’s no reason to hold back — upgrade today!