Re-thinking “Uncategorized” in WordPress

As WordPress users soon come to realise after setting up their website, a few defaults are loaded in. These defaults include a test “Hello World” post with a comment from Mr. WordPress, a “Sample Page’ with some text and instructions and the “Uncategorized” category, amongst the various default “Links” data and “Blogroll” category.

Having given this some thought, the “Uncategorized” category doesn’t really seem correct in that the term is a category in itself. It’s almost a full paradox to say that a post is “uncategorized”, meanwhile it is in fact in a category.

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Matty Theme QuickSwitch featured on The Sweet Plugin of the Day

One thing I enjoy almost as much as developing with WordPress is reading about WordPress development and the goings-on within the WordPress community. WPCandy, a website I’ve written a few posts for, is my main go-to resource for community news and current happenings within the WordPress community.

Ryan, the editor at WPCandy, broadcasts a video podcast called “The Sweet Plugin of the Day”, where he reviews a plugin that he finds useful and/or interesting. Matty Theme QuickSwitch, a plugin I recently released to make quick switching between WordPress themes easier, was recently featured on “The Sweet Plugin”.

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What a blog redesign means to me

Today’s question, folks, is; “What does a blog redesign mean to you?”. Lets dive right in, shall we?

For me, a blog redesign means quite a lot. It means the opportunity to hone my skills, experiment with new ideas and techniques and put a fresh coat of paint and a new engine behind my blog. Let me elaborate on the paint and engine for a moment.

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A theory on approaching difficult tasks

Whichever industry you work in, whether you work for yourself or a company and whatever your job description, there are days where things just aren’t going your way. No matter how long you sit at your desk, tapping your pencil, the solution to the problem at hand just isn’t apparent.

As a developer, the problem and solution are usually quite clean-cut (such is the nature of code, prodominantly). The solution, however clean-cut it may be, isn’t always visible when approaching a coding task. At times like those, I employ a theory:
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Custom URL rewrites in WordPress – A Getting Started Guide

I’ve been tweeting quite a bit recently about custom URL rewrites in WordPress. After a few hours of trial and error, I’ve managed to get my specific custom URL rewrites working. After reading through several tutorials online (the majority of which used the same examples to explain only a portion the information I was looking for), here’s my tutorial- a getting started guide to Custom URL rewrites in WordPress.

The process

So, what exactly are we doing here? To put things in point form, this is the process:

  1. Create custom rewrite rules
  2. Add our new variables to the public_query_vars array
  3. Flush (and thus, regenerate) all WordPress rewrite rules
  4. Add our functions from steps 1, 2 and 3 into WordPress via actions and filters

Right, so lets get down to it then. Continue reading

Theming for Magento — Part 03 – Theming Basics

Right. We’re in part 03 of our “Theming for Magento” tutorial collection. Time to get down to some theming.

A quick word on conventions

Magento, like many other content management systems, likes to follow conventions. Adopting these conventions when designing your theme, as well as during the theming process, can greatly minimize the amount of code required by your theme. As mentioned on Part 02, Magento has a “fall back” feature where it looks for required files, when not in your theme, within all other themes in the current interface until it finds the file it requires. This essentially allows users to keep a copy of the default theme in the interface in which they are coding their theme (either the “default” or a custom interface) and to only modify the files that require customisation. Continue reading

Theming for Magento – Part 02 – Theme Architecture

OK folks, we’re not going to rush things. Lets take this theming for Magento one step at a time. 🙂

In today’s tutorial, I’ll be discussing the architecture of Magento themes, the reason for this architecture and a brief introduction into a general idea of what goes where and why.

The installation… lets get it out of the way

The Magento installation is, essentially, a click-through process. You need to have a MySQL database created on a server, as well as the login details for this database. Other than that, the various options are fairly clear and straight forward.

For further information on installing Magento, visit the Magento Installation Guide and Knowledge Base. Continue reading

Theming for Magento – Part 01

Magento, the popular e-commerce website platform, has, over the past few years, become a prominant player in the content management market. Utilising its robust array of features as well as its stock and sales management fascilities, Magento is a great choice for a system to manage your online store.

When setting up your Magento store, the system comes packaged with a default theme. In the majority of situations, this is not ideal. Enter theming… the process of designing and building a custom theme for your Magento store. This post is an introduction to a collection of blog posts discussing theming for Magento, general concepts and a few tips and tricks. These posts are intended as guidelines to theming and not as a verbatim point-for-point on how to create Magento themes. 🙂

Before we start, there are a few things you’ll need:
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Obox launches the Obox Theme Store

Well, guys, launch day is here. The Obox Theme Store is online! After weeks of watching Dave, Marc and Nat at Obox working late nights and early mornings, weekends, public holidays and all other kinds of days imaginable, the launch has happened, the first sale has come and gone and I must say, it’s looking AWESOME!

For those who haven’t been following the hype marketing campaign for Obox Themes over the past few weeks, Obox Themes is a premium WordPress theme store set up by the team at Obox Design, selling WordPress themes of a premium grade, with extensive additional functionality and keen attention to design detail. The Obox website has had an overhaul as well and now boasts an integrated theme store and support forums for customers.
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A few guidelines for WordPress plugin development

The WordPress plugin API is vast and powerful. It allows developers to essentially hook code into almost any area of the WordPress system without modifying the core files at all. It also allows for the creation of standalone plugins that work within the WordPress system but do not hook into the core modules.

Over the last few weeks, WordPress plugin development has become one of my favourite things to do. I find it exciting to be able to create functionality, incorporate it seemlessly into the WordPress system and see it work smoothly with the other modules. While plugin development for WordPress is incredibly powerful, it also carries with it a few areas where people commonly stumble over and potentially lose interest in their code… which could be the next big thing. Here are a few guidelines I’ve picked up in order to step over the stumbling blocks.
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