New WordPress stuff to look forward to

New WordPress things

I’ve been hard at work these past couple of weeks putting together several new WordPress goodies for everyone. I’m pretty excited about some of the results I’m getting with the work I’ve been doing. Here are some things to look forward to this month:

New image script

I wanted to write about this first because it ties into both of my theme updates.

Traditionally, magazine- or CMS-type blog designs require you to enter image URLs through custom fields. Many users find this difficult or time consuming (I don’t personally think it’s too time consuming, but I’ve probably used custom fields a few thousand times for this).

With this new script, you’ll never have to use custom fields for your thumbnails, feature images, and so on. However, it’s fully compatible with the custom field keys you define.

With one line of code in your theme template files, you’ll have this power at your disposal.

Basically, the code checks to see if you have any custom fields with images defined. If not, it pulls the first image from any images attached to the post. There’ll be more about this in the days to come.

I’ll probably write a full post on this sometime soon and offer it for download. Options and Structure theme users will have this packaged in with their theme.

Structure theme update

It’s long overdue, but I’m finally updating this thing. This is still my most popular theme, and quite a few users have been looking forward to an update. So, I’ll have the update ready within the next couple of days. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Some Options theme "options" and widgets ported over.
  • Rethinking of the way we use widgets in WordPress themes.
  • Optimized code.
  • Plays nicer with other plugins.
  • Use of the new image script mentioned earlier in this post.
  • Gravatar-ready.
  • Fully WordPress 2.5 compatible.
  • Print stylesheet.

Structure is still my favorite theme because it was the first time I felt I had created a masterpiece with theme development. I’ve put a lot of love and care into this update.

Options theme update

I’m always working on this theme, almost every day. I’ve been listening to users and seeing how they use the theme. Here’s a list of some new features of the update:

  • Theme template files look like "normal" WordPress themes, so you'll be able to easily edit them.
  • Inclusion of the new image script mentioned earlier in this post, which will make uploading images so much sweeter.
  • Works a lot nicer with plugins, especially those using JavaScript.
  • Using the new WordPress gallery feature, I've implemented a Flickr RSS plugin-like stream of your latest gallery post.
  • Category cloud (like the tag cloud).
  • Author cloud.
  • New sidebar tabs options.
  • New options for the Recent widget.
  • Print stylesheet.
  • And more...

You won’t be disappointed with this upate (for WP 2.5+ users). At last count, I’ve cut out approximately 332 lines of code and 24 useless functions, making the theme faster and and easier to use.

Random quotes plugin

I’ve had about 90% of this plugin finished for weeks now. I just haven’t gotten around to completing it because of all the other work I’ve been doing.

It’ll come with some really nice options, such as the ability to customize how each quote is output and show quotes from different categories/topics.

If you feel like contributing quotes, I’ll be happy to add them and add a link back to you as a contributor. Right now, I have 6 categories of quotes, which are literature, film, individual, art, life, and friendship.

If you really want to help out with this, you can send over a text file with the quotes ready for the plugin by wrapping them in this code:

$quotes[] = array("This is a quote.","Author Name");
$quotes[] = array("This is a quote.","Author Name");
$quotes[] = array("This is a quote.","Author Name");

Or, you can just send me any quotes you’d like to see added.

Project M

Some of you may recall in both a January and December post I mentioned Project M.

Originally, the M stood for March. Well, I didn’t quite get around to that. Since it’s still May and there are no other months that begin with M left this year, I’ll have to unveil Project M this month.

Without giving away too many details, here are some things involved with this project.

  • More free WordPress themes.

Okay, that’s only one thing, but it sounds good, right?

Basically, it will be my step into monetizing WordPress while giving users the same things I’ve always given with full support.

Don’t ask me how I’ll monetize this thing. However, feel free to make guesses and discuss in the comments. I’ll unveil this project as soon as I finish the aforementioned projects.

That's a lot of stuff

Yes, I’ve been quite busy, which is why you haven’t seen a lot of new WordPress themes lately. They’ll be coming very soon.

Feel free to comment on any of the projects and share your ideas.

There are also idea threads running in the forums for the Options theme and Structure theme. So, if you have ideas, now’s the time to let me know.