To-do: WP Engineers get in line!

There has been a spike in my blogging activity over recent months. This has led to me making some observations about the methods WordPress insist their users make use of, to add content to their platform.

Since there’s a Post (that I am still writing) that’s over six-and-a-half thousand words long, the shortcomings of the present editor have been made obvious.

In short: is there a way to expand the default height of the editing window (for Pages as well as Posts)?…

I love having two columns, and think I shouldn’t have to compromise my experience because I have most of the editing tools open; like Recommended Links/Tags, Related Articles and Writing Helper.

All of these tools together affectively double the amount of the content and/or tools on that screen; perhaps minimising them, by group, behind a dropdown or slide-out (in case those Happiness Engineers are reading)? Or perhaps more than one?! Pretty please?…

On a more positive slant, and a completely unrelated subject: LaTeX has been available on WordPress.com for some time (23rd June 2009 to be exact): http://www.logicnest.com/using-latex-in-wordpress

This is brilliant, even for peeps who won’t need Mathematical formulas in their Posts, as the engine needed to render the text makes use of some fancy font-work. This, at least in theory, could be whipped into routines affecting cross-site body-text (NOT in an XSS-fashion), but research seems a little thin on the the ground…

The above was found looking for superscript / subscript tags in WP.com; turns out you have to use the HTML editor there. Sad face (not that writing HTML as if in Notepad / Gedit is a problem!).

However, WordPress.org users can just turn them on with a script: http://css-tricks.com/snippets/wordpress/turn-on-more-buttons-in-the-wordpress-visual-editor/ (yes that’s me at #comment-113311).

Holes in the design of the WYSIWYG editor either way? Well, perhaps…

Another change of tack, mid-flow: sometimes it’s not all about the WP. ThemeShaper lists an awesome article on WP Theme Validation: “Theme code matters, too“. Something for anyone writing themes to keep in mind (hint, hint). I know I would’ve found it rather blindingly useful!

I found the above when I was looking up WebDesigntuts+ (believe it or not) on the FB. Advertised was “Working with WordPress: http://enva.to/qhFsCe (@boagworld podcast)”. Also freakin’ useful.

Some Examples

When working on the theme for CTS Pro‘, I noticed the author had thoughtfully made a stab at writing some HTML5 markup. Unfortunately this author, who was forking the code, had to fix it in order to generate validating markup. It took a little while to notice, but there was many a self-closing element sprinkled throughout the code. “Hmmm”, I archetypally thought to myself. “What happens if I convert the DOCTYPE to XHTML 1.0 Transitional?” Surprise, surprise it worked first time; and continued doing so until the FB “Like Button” got involved. Soon there was also a video player, and Galleries; then (with a nod to cheesy theatre) I kissed any chance of the Big Green Tick-mark gracing that domain goodbye…

It brings up a lot of what I really hate about WP into light: that the incumbent techie has zero chance of getting the install behaving in exactly the right way, validation or not. To fix the above issues, I would have to get rid of a proprietary property (fine!) but at the expense of IE users. Considering the client used IE7 at the time (and hopefully still doesn’t!) that wasn’t going to pass. I would also have to stop using the EMBED tag for liasing video on the Index; again, video was a required feature and needed to at least render a screenshot in all (desktop) browsers. No luck there then. My grateful but slowly-learning client discovered galleries could be inserted into Posts as standard, not quite shrinking to the required size… Pagination was also a lot of fun, and something I’m only partially considering I’ve solved!

For the Friends of Heatham House project: forking Bombax was probably purposefully made difficult (protection of their IP, etc): which is fair enough. Any construction can be made to appear difficult-to-assault, and therefore put off likely thieves. In this case, the code was open-source and attributed after-the-event, so hopefully nobody will come chasing me money! Adjusting the text of the footer; re-writing a sidebar’s “dynamic” content; and the blurb inside the Theme Options were the highlights. Sort of.

Conclusion

I recently wrote about SquareSpace and the elucidating LlewBlog: its Index has only one error! Harrumph. Not that I’m jealous…

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About Nick

House-husband, KUSECWB, graduate & techie-monsta / computer-wrangler; at your service.
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