Category Archives: Uncategorized

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!

Just for Newbies! Installing Thesis 1.6 for the First Time

Installing Thesis 1.6 may look like a difficult task — all that copying, the file permissions, the renaming.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

A new article just posted, “Installing Thesis 1.6 for the First Time” has all the help you need to install Thesis 1.6 quickly and easily. It has step-by-step directions and lots of illustrations to help you plunge into the thorn-patch and emerge unscathed!

Coming up next: Upgrading to Thesis 1.6

Another New Menu! CSS Multilevel Dropdown Menu!

I just love menuing systems, and have posted my fifth one for your enjoyment.

It’s a CSS-only Multilevel Dropdown Menu, meaning that there is no JQuery, no JavaScript, and no plugin. That’s right — you can now have a multilevel dropdown menu at the same time as all of your favorite plugins like Featured Content Gallery.

Another big plus is that this menu is completely compatible with all major Windows and Mac browsers, including the notoriously hard-to-please Internet Explorer 6.

The CSS Multilevel Dropdown menu has these outstanding features:

  • CSS only — no JQuery, JavaScript or plugins!
  • Any URL can be put in any menu item, unlike the Thesis 1.6 menu
  • Completely compatible with Thesis 1.5x and Thesis 1.6
  • Works with Windows IE6, IE7, IE8, Chrome, Firefox and all Mac browsers
  • Very customizable — size, alignment, colors, borders, fonts, arrows, etc
  • Very easy to set up and use. No URL configuration required — it works right out of the box!
  • Great SEO: Menu items are included in the page HTML so Google and other ‘bots can index them
  • Coexists fully with JQuery plugins such as Featured Content Gallery
  • Very small CSS file takes up few system resources
  • Instant operation. No lags and flickering like JQuery menus.
  • Can have flyouts to the left as well as to the right.

Why would I be releasing a dropdown menu when the new Thesis 1.6 has them? Easy: mine does more than the Thesis menu! Here are three big differences, although there are many more:

  • You can put any URL in any menu position — there’s no restrictions or rules and no need to worry about parent-child relationships. You can mix and match pages, posts, category pages, and offsite URLs in any order you want them.
  • This menu has four levels with one dropdown and two flyouts. The Thesis menu has only a single dropdown.
  • This menu is more customizable. It can be customized in literally hundreds of combinations with an easy-to-use CSS file. It can even be made to look like the Thesis menu!

So why not give it a try-out on your site? It takes only a few minutes to set up and will enhance the looks and navigability of your blog greatly!

New Tip! Upgrade-Proof Your Site with the bloginfo() Tag

Thesis has the reputation of being upgrade-proof. That is, you do not lose your work in the custom folder when you upgrade.

Running against this is the necessity of putting full URL paths to images and files in the custom_functions.php file. If you use a lot of images from your /custom/images folder, it can be a real pain going through the file updating the URLs.

But you really don’t have to do that — not if you use the WordPress bloginfo() tag!

The article Upgrade-Proof Your Site with the bloginfo() Tag in the “Tips” section shows you how to use the tag to automatically put your Thesis path into URLs. That means that no matter what your Thesis folder is named, your URLs will always be up-to-date!

If you do a lot of work in the custom_functions.php file, this article is for you!

You Too Can Have a Fat Footer!

Widgetized “fat” footers are a popular addition to blog sites. There have been several threads on the DIYthemes Forums about widgetized footers, but often they are complicated and hard to follow.

A new article, Tutorial: Widgetized “Fat” Footer, offers a solution that is simple to set up, needs no configuration and can be used right out of the box! It has been tested in both Thesis 1.5x and 1.6x.

The article shows you how to create a 3- or 4-widget footer like the ones at the bottom of this page and on the Thesis Theme Tools demo site.

The widgetized footer described in the article can contain any kind of widget, video, image, or other information that can be put in the sidebars — they are widgets just like any other widgets. The footer widget items appear in the WordPress widgets panel right along with the sidebars, so they are easy to set up.

Included is a link to a zip file that contains all the required code to put into your custom_functions.php and custom.css files.

So try it out! You too can have a “fat” footer — in less than 10 minutes!

New Menu! Vertical Multilevel Dropdown Menu

You’ve probably noticed the vertical menu at the top of the left sidebar. It is used for supplementary navigation to help you quickly find anything on this site.

It is an example of the Vertical Multilevel Dropdown Menu described in a new tutorial.

You can use the Vertical Menu as your main menu or as a supplement to another menu system. It is completely compatible with beta versions of Thesis 1.6.

The Vertical Multilevel Dropdown Menu offers these outstanding features:

  • Easy to set up and use.
  • Any kind of URL, document or file can be put in the menu — no restrictions and no conditional php!
  • Dropdown menus with as many items and dropdown levels as you want.
  • Menu items may be in any order you want.
  • Dropdown menus have a sliding effect that is very appealing
  • Completely configurable as to size of menu items, font characteristics, colors, etc. with CSS.
  • Includes support for most major browsers, including most versions of Internet Explorer.
  • SEO friendly: Its unordered list is generated within the HTML of the page, so Google’s and other bots can read and index it.
  • Very fast execution. Uses Google libraries for speed.
  • In browsers with JavaScript disabled, the main tabs are still usable (but not the dropdowns)

Why don’t you give the Vertical Menu a try? You’ll find it’s an easy way to draw readers into your site so they stay longer, improving your SEO and page ranking.

New Tutorial! Tabbed Info Pane

You may have noticed a new addition to this blog page. At the top is a tabbed box containing recent posts, popular articles, and recent comments widgets, as well as a coming soon tab.

This addition is the Tabbed Info Pane, and I have just written a tutorial to show you how to use it on your site.

You will find the Tabbed Info Pane very versatile and easy to use. It can be used anywhere on the page where there is a Thesis hook, and the basic idea can even be used in widgets.

The Tabbed Info Pane can hold almost any kind of information you can put into HTML or PHP. For example:

  • Text
  • Lists
  • Tables
  • Images
  • PHP functions
  • Widgets

A few of the features of the Tabbed Info Pane are:

  • Easy to set up and use.
  • It is very flexible and can be used in many different ways.
  • Requires no plugins. It is written entirely in JavaScript and CSS.
  • Coexists with JQuery sliders, menus, featured posts plugins and other JavaScript elements
  • Its simple programming ensures trouble-free operation.
  • Can contain almost any kind of information or element
  • Highly configurable. You can change almost everything about the appearance of the Info Pane.
  • SEO friendly. The information is contained in the HTML of your page so Google’s and other bots can index it.

I hope you give the Tabbed Info Pane a try on your site. You will find it a great enhancement that takes only minutes to set up.

Updated: Multilevel Menu with CSS and JavaScript

The Multilevel Menu with CSS and JavaScript has had a major revision, both in its code and in the tutorial.

The Menu now is much easier to install, and most of the causes of installation troubles have been eliminated. It also loads and runs much faster. In addition, the Menu has been made upgrade-proof, meaning that that hard-coded URLs will not have to be changed when you upgrade.

The tutorial has been extensively revised as well. New sections on menu setup and troubleshooting have been added, and the sections dealing with the code and the installation have been updated to reflect the revisions.

If you are a user of the Menu there is no reason for you to upgrade if you are pleased with its performance. But if you want a faster-loading, upgrade-proof program, then you can update in just minutes. Here are some things to note when upgrading:

  • The CSS files “jqueryslidemenu.css” and “jqueryslidemenu-thesis.css” and the CSS you put into custom.css have had only a few revisions. Those are for ease of use, so there is no reason to replace them.
  • The JavaScript file is unchanged, so it will not need replacement, either.
  • You will need to remove the code from the header section of Thesis Options. This is now taken care of with functions in custom_functions.php.
  • There are three functions for custom_functions.php now instead of one. You will need to copy the first two, “slidemenu_head” and “slidemenu_foot” into custom_functions.php They load the necessary files into the HTML of your page and replace the code in the header section of Thesis Options. The third function, the one with your menu definitions, is unchanged, and does not need replacement.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Gary Jones for his suggestions for the Menu’s improvement. They are the basis of several of the revisions in the Menu code.

And thank you to all who have tried the Menu out, and to those on the DIYthemes Forum whose experiences with the Menu have led to my making this revision.