Category Archives: Plugins

Zen Dash – Version 1.5 released

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I’ve just released an update to my Zen Dash plugin. Besides adding funky zen-bamboo artwork to the WordPress.org page, I’ve made the following minor amendments:

  • the option to hide the Jetpack menu now only shows up when Jetpack is activated, otherwise it’s hidden
  • I’ve verified compatibility with the immanent release of WordPress 4.4
  • added funky zen-artwork (see above, courtesy of GraphicStock)

I’ve you’re one of the 70+ active lucky users, you can upgrade the plugin from within WordPress as usual, or you can download a copy from GitHub or the WordPress.org plugin repository:

  • https://github.com/versluis/Zen-Dash
  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/zen-dash/

Questions, suggestions, translations and pull requests are always welcome!

What is Zen Dash again?

Zen Dash is a magical plugin that lets you get rid of the myriad of options in the WordPress admin area. I’ve created it because sometimes less is indeed more, and new users can get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of menu items, dashboard widgets and upgrade notifications.

While it is possible to let casual users have privileges less than administrators (and therefore see less items), I found this ineffective. With Zen Dash you simply flick a switch and make things disappear that you don’t want to see everyday. You can just as easily bring them back if you need them.

You can read more about Zen Dash in my release post, which even includes a video on how to use the plugin.

Child Theme Wizard – Version 1.1 released

wizard

I’ve released a new version of my popular Child Theme Wizard plugin today. Everything remains the same, except for one thing: the parent theme is no longer loaded via CSS, it’s now being loaded via PHP. Let me explain why.

When I wrote this little tool in 2014, the best practice to create a child theme was to load the parent’s style sheet via CSS. This was done with an @import statement, like this:

While this approach works just fine, this is no longer regarded as the best approach to the puzzle. That’s because the parent theme’s full path is hard coded into your child theme, and should the parent theme ever change it’s folder name, your child theme would stop working.

There’s a better way to get the same thing done by loading the parent style sheet via PHP in the functions.php file. Here’s how it’s done:

So that’s what the update does: switch from the older way of loading the parent theme to the new one. There. Keeping up with the times and all 🙂

Download Child Theme Wizard

You can download the plugin from the official WordPress Plugin repository, or take a look at the source code on GitHub. Enjoy!

  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/child-theme-wizard/
  • https://github.com/versluis/Child-Theme-Wizard

How to use ZEN DASH for WordPress

I’ve just released Version 1.3 of ZEN DASH and thought a quick video demonstration is in order – and here it is:

In this podcast I will show you how to use ZEN DASH for WordPress and explain how you can easily hide menu options, dashboard widgets, admin footer links and suppress Update Notifications (for WordPress core, plugins and themes).

This plugin comes in handy if you’d like to hide functionality before giving the site over to a client. For example, you may not want your client to have access to plugins so he can accidentally deactivate a shopping cart and break the site.

You can download Zen Dash

  • from the WordPress repository http://wordpress.org/plugins/zen-dash/
  • or from GitHub: https://github.com/versluis/Zen-Dash

Here’s my release post for Zen Dash with more info:

  • https://wpguru.co.uk/2013/09/introducing-zen-dash/
Catch this episode on my WP Guru Podcast:

Introducing Child Theme Wizard for WordPress

wizardI’ve just finished writing a new WordPress Plugin to help you create Child Themes with a single click, and no need for any external tools.

The Child Theme Wizard is a super slim assistant which can be accessed under Tools – Child Theme Wizard. Pick a Parent Theme, enter additional information, click Create Child Theme and you’re all set!

Child Theme Wizard in action
Child Theme Wizard in action

 

If all goes well
If all goes well you’ll see this

 

In case something went wrong
In case something went wrong

Child Theme Wizard allows you to enter the following details:

  • Theme Name
  • Description
  • Theme URL
  • Author Name
  • Author URL
  • Version

You can pick any existing theme that is currently installed, and you won’t be able to choose other child themes as parent themes (obviously). Child Theme Wizard will even pre-populate some of the data if it’s available from your Profile Information.

You can choose to include the GPL License to make your theme ready for Open Source Distribution. It even creates a thumbnail so you can tell your Child Theme apart from your other themes.

Funky Thumbnail included
Funky Thumbnail included

What does Child Theme Wizard do?

To create a Child Theme you have to

  • create a directory on your server
  • create a file called style.css
  • paste template code and tweak it
  • make sure you get your template path right
  • add an empty file called functions.php
  • add a screenshot.png file to make it look pretty

This usually requires an FTP client with credentials, as well as a text editor, or another web interface – in short: it’s much more tedious and time consuming than it really needs to be. Child Theme Wizard does it all conveniently from within the WordPress Admin Interface with a single click.

Why do I need to use Child Themes again?

If you make any modifications to the CSS or functionality of existing themes, and you’re tweaking core files, your changes will be overwritten if your current theme is updated with a new version.

Child Themes however isolate your changes into dedicated files. The Parent Theme can be updated safely and your tweaks remain intact.

Watch the video

In this video I’ll show you Child Theme Wizard in action:

 

Changelog

  • v1.0 (13/03/2014) – Initial Release

Roadmap

I’d like to include the following features in future updates:

o option to support custom thumbnail uploads
o export theme option
o add translation

Download and Contribute

Child Theme Wizard is available from the WordPress.org repository. You can download it simply by searching for “child theme wizard” under Plugins – Add New and following the instructions. Or you can download it here:

  • http://wordpress.org/plugins/child-theme-wizard/

You can also download and contribute to the code on GitHub:

  • https://github.com/versluis/Child-Theme-Wizard

If you have any suggestions or feature requests, please leave a comment below.

Catch this episode on my WP Guru Podcast:

Disk Space Pie Chart – v0.6 released

PieI’ve just released a new version of my (totally unpopular) Disk Space Pie Chart plugin for WordPress. The update addresses the background colour of the pie chart which worked well with WordPress 3.7 and below, but now that we have a snazzy new colour scheme in the admin interface, I made sure it still looks good.

You can download the plugin from the links below, or just hit “update” when you’re in the WordPress backend next.

  • http://wordpress.org/plugins/disk-space-pie-chart/changelog/
  • https://github.com/versluis/Disk-Space-Pie-Chart-Plugin

P2 Header Ad – v1.3 released

I’ve just released a new version of my P2 Header Ad plugin, adding the following features:

  • added translation readiness
  • added German Translation
  • added Spanish Translation (thanks to Andrew Kurtis from WebHostingHub)
  • verified WordPress 3.8 compatibility

You can get the latest version simply by using the WordPress updates (under Dashbaord – Updates), or download it from one of the links below:

  • https://github.com/versluis/P2-Header-Ad
  • http://wordpress.org/plugins/p2-header-ad/

How to internationalise and translate your WordPress Plugin

Today I got a lovely request from Andrew over at WebHostingHub.com who asked if he could translate my P2 Header Ad plugin into Spanish. “Of course”, I thought – and then I realised that I knew not much about how to get a plugin translation ready. I knew POEdit of course, but how to make my plugin speak another language wasn’t really clear to me.

An online search didn’t really reveal all the answers – snippets here and there, but not the whole picture. So here it is – step by step – as of December 2013.

In a nutshell:

  • add a text domain
  • replace all strings with compatible PHP calls
  • generate a .pot file
  • open it it POEdit and translate your strings
  • switch WordPress to another language to see if it actually works

Let’s check it out

Introducing The P2 Header Ad Plugin

P2 Header Ad IconI always loved Automattic’s P2 theme: it’s one of the most innovative ideas for blogging I could find. I’m using it on several of my notebook websites, including this one. I’ve been tweaking P2 for quite some time, and one thing I wanted to do is display an advert inside the P2 header.

As you may know, P2 doesn’t like child themes very much, so I wrote a future proof solution as this handy plugin.

P2 Header Ad let’s you display an advert of your choice inside the header. And when the theme is updated, your advert stays in place. Neat, huh?

Continue reading Introducing The P2 Header Ad Plugin

Introducing Zen Dash

zen-treeIt is my pleasure to share with you my latest WordPress Plugin: Zen Dash. It allows you to selectively hide those Dashboard Widgets, Menu Items, Update Notifications and even Footer Links.

Inspired by Joseph Lowery and my recent post about how to do this in code, I wanted to create the same functionality without users having to use code.

After a few days of coding I really got into it and added several other features, including some nice jQuery UI tabs.

Continue reading Introducing Zen Dash

Disk Space Pie Chart – Version 0.5 released

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 18.46.50I’ve just released a small update for my Disk Space Pie Chart plugin for WordPress.

The new version addresses the following minor issues:

  • Fixed Division by Zero bug (Thanks, Jure!)
  • Tweaked some colours to better blend with WordPress Core
  • Added MySQL Server Version

The update was inspired by Jure di Mephit who very kindly gave me a tip on how to fix a bug in July last year… I didn’t find the time to write that update until now. Hey, better late than never. Thanks again, Jure 😉

Find more info about the plugin here, or download it for free from the WordPress Repository.