Come and join me at WordCamp Ottawa

WordCamp Ottawa 2013The first ever WordCamp Ottawa is happening in a few weeks on April 27. It will be held at the University in the MonPetit Hall. I graduated from University in 1991 and haven’t been back since. I’m a little apprehensive about going back, but excited as well.

I’ll give a talk in the developer track and discuss ways to become a better developer by contributing to WordPress and joining the community.

The title of my talk might be a bit misleading though. I probably shouldn’t have said developer.

Designers, teachers, writers and organizers are also needed and welcomed in the WordPress community. I hope that all types of WordPress enthusiasts will join me and get to know the many ways in which one can participate.

See you there.

Responsive starter theme now with genericons

genriconsIf you’ve visited the Bluelime Media website lately, you’ll have noticed that it’s undergone yet another design change. This latest design is simpler, I removed a lot of content but more interestingly, I substituted the social media icons with genericons. Genericons are vector icons embedded in a webfont designed to be clean and simple keeping with a generic aesthetic. Brought to you by Automattic, they are indeed a pleasure to work with.

With more and more folks migrating to new Macs with retina display, I thought it would be a good idea to get in the habit of using vector icons.

In addition to the Bluelime site, I’ve also built a few responsive sites lately and my starter theme has proven very handy. However, I did find myself changing the same things over and over again. So earlier today, I made the following changes to the BLM responsive starter theme.

  • The social media icons have been eliminated and replaced with genericons. I also had to replace delicious with tumblr. Delicious is no longer as popular as it once was.
  • I’ve updated both desktop and mobile navigation. The small menu now display the menu title and upon click opens up the navigation.
  • I’ve simplified the CSS and removed the gradients from the navigation.
  • The header image, if used, now links to the home page.
  • I’ve also updated silly errors here and there that Robert must have missed.
    ( ahem.. yeah, it must be his fault. I wouldn’t have done that.)

If you’ve used the BLM responsive starter theme, I would love to hear your thoughts. If you think it could be improved, enhanced or modified in any way, please let me know. For those interested in seeing the code changes, have a look through the commits.

FAQ Manager Plugin

One of my favourite aspect of WordPress is the fact that custom post types can be created for just about anything. Movies, projects, testimonials, books etc… These are easy enough to do if you’re a developer but a bit tricky if your just learning. A common request by many clients is the ability to have an FAQ section. Again, this is a great use of custom post types and easy peasy to set up.

However, I recently discovered that all that work is not even necessary. Andrew Norcross has developed a plugin that manages FAQ really simply and is super easy to use.

Simply download the plugin, activate it, enter your questions and answers and then choose the shortcode you wish to display on your FAQ page. Andrew has thought of everything and given you lots of display options. The FAQ manager plugin is definitely on my list of favourites and has reduced my workload.

WordPress Theme Customizer

One of the most exciting features introduced in WordPress’s version 3.4 was the theme customizer. The theme customizer allows you to make a few changes and preview your site before activating it.

As a theme developer this means that there’s no longer a need to use a theme options page. Otto wrote a series of great articles detailing how theme developers can implement different options and even created a theme demo for us to play with.

Since then, other developers have written great tutorials on how they’ve integrated the code in their themes. Here are few good ones:

Adding a logo uploader to your WordPress theme with the Theme Customizer, by Kirk Wight
Using the WordPress Theme Customizer to choose between excerpts or full content, also by Kirk Wight
The WordPress Theme Customizer: a Comprehensive Developer’s Guide, by Alex Mansfield

These tutorials helped me immensely in a few recent projects. My new theme Color Palette has a logo uploader and a color scheme selector. My BLM Responsive starter theme has been updated and the links to social media sites are now located in the customizer instead of a separate theme options page.

If you’ve played around with the Theme Customizer and have come across interesting themes or tutorials or if you happen to have downloaded one of mine and have comments or suggestions, please let me know.

Learning Child Theming with Twenty Twelve

With the release of WordPress 3.5 comes a great new default theme called Twenty Twelve. Twenty Twelve is responsive, beautiful and a super easy to child theme. Child themes are now accepted on the WordPress repository so I thought I would try my hand at making one. You can now download my child theme, Deux Milles Douze. I also wrote a short tutorial explaining the steps I took to make it. If you’re interested in child themes, I would suggest that you give Twenty Twelve a try.


Mon Cahier now offers RTL support

Version 2.3 of Mon Cahier was just released today. This new version comes with Right to Left (RTL) language support for countries in the middle east and Persia. Only 10% of WordPress themes on the repository come with RTL support, which is a ashamed since it’s so easy to include. Have a look at my theme and if you speak a language that requires RTL support please let me know what you think.

WordPress Community Summit 2012

The first ever WordPress community summit (wpcs) took place last Monday in gorgeous Tybee Island. The weather was a bit chilly thanks to Sandy, but that didn’t keep anyone from enjoying themselves and taking part in amazing discussions. Attendees, each there by invitation, was composed of Automatticians, core contributors, WordPress based companies, hosting companies, plugin developers, designers who have contributed to the community somehow.

The unconference started with everyone wishing to discuss a certain topic giving a 2 minute presentation detailing what they wanted to discuss and who they would like to have at their table. Discussion topics ranged from how to recognize non-code contributors to WordPress, reducing the pain of Plugin and Theme reviews, the future of Multisite and much more. Altogether, there were four time slots for these discussions which lasted 45 minutes. So we all got a chance to participate to 4 sessions and join in on stimulating conversations.

Each session had a note taker and the group needed to come up with one action item. You can view all of these notes on the wpcs website if you wish to read them in more detail.

Read more…

WordCamp Vancouver

Time is almost running out, WordCamp Vancouver 2012 is next Saturday, Oct 13th!
We have a jam packed day in store with 16 sessions, spread over 3 tracks. Talks from how to make your WordPress site mobile, to demystifying SEO, to building member sites, to developing properly with jQuery, to caching, to BuddyPress, and so much more! I’ll be giving a presentation about the WordPress community. If you want to learn how to get jobs, make friends and get involved, come check it out.

The whole day will be filled with talks for every level from beginner to advanced. So check out the schedule, and then grab your tickets.

Responsive Theme and Patterns

These past few weeks I finally started getting serious about responsive sites and finally completed my Bluelime Media website conversion. I started almost a year ago, but never got around to finish it. I had the chance to work on a few responsive sites this year and I predict that more and more websites will opt for responsiveness in the future, so as the saying goes, one must practice what you preach.

Lucky for me, Robert Dall at 32 Spokes, offered to help me convert the Bluelime Media HTML5 basic starter theme to a responsive version. Following an intense week of tweaking, refining and testing, I’m pleased to say that a responsive version of my starter theme is now available for anyone to grab on Github.

Like my other themes, this theme contains the bare minimum. The theme also only has one option for mobile navigation. There are loads of different options one could choose and one couldn’t possibly include them all.

If you’re looking for different responsive patterns, you might want to visit and bookmark Brad Frost’s collection of responsive patterns. Brad has compiled an amazing list of useful patterns and resources.