Archive for the ‘WordPress’ Section

Posted on May 15, 2006 in WordPress by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish8 Comments »

Anyone, like me, who uses WordPress to run their site, will spend a lot of time in the administration pages. And like me, many will have noticed the lack of coherance in the design, layout and usability. Don’t misunderstand me, using the admin section is simplicity itself – but there are many oddities and any two pages never look like they were quite designed by the same person. And most probably, they weren’t. It gently nags at me.

Which is why I have been keeping my eye on the ‘Shuttle‘ project over at Broken Kode – an attempt to develop a cohesive, pleasing, usable interface for WordPress admin to follow. And yesterday, many months after Shuttle was announced, images were finally released of all the hard work the small team have put into this important project. And I have to say that in my opinion they have come up with a winner. Clean, consistent and easy to follow – and hopefully Shuttle will also deliver a companion document detailing all the CSS classes and default images that plugin authors will be able to refer to when coding their own admin pages.

My only reservation – and I have already commented on this over at Broken Kode – is the adoption of the familiar menu structure. As current users will know, to get to any submenu option other than the primary one requires two page loads – an unnecessary page load, loss of bandwidth and, if working from a slow server or on a busy day – very time consuming. This is so easy to remedy (as I have done with my own admin drop down menu plugin), that I believe it is a great opportunity missed and the argument that the team didn’t want to depart too much from what users already know doesn’t really make sense. Ask most users if they would prefer to bring up a page with a single click of the mouse instead of two clicks and a wasted interim page load and I believe they would always opt for the former.

Other than that I, like most commenters on the Shuttle pages, look forward to this design being implemented and I hope we don’t have to wait too long for it. And oh yes… I apologise for the title above. Couldn’t resist it.

Posted on May 4, 2006 in WordPress by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish5 Comments »

Please Note:

My WordPress plugins have a new home.
If you would like to take a look at my plugins that are currently available please visit my plugin site and follow your nose – Stuff at Yellow Swordfish.

I’ve done about as much as I think I can to support Internet Explorer with my Drop Down Menu plugin for WordPress Admin pages. There is just one small detail missing but that would require a core code change and is outside of the scope of the plugin. Details are in the read me file supplied with the plugin itself.

I have also created this as two plugins. I have retained the ‘Autumn’ theme – now available as version 1.1 and have also created a menu only version that uses the standard WordPress colours and theme – as illustrated with this post.

I have tested this out on (Mac) Safari, Firefox, Opera and Omniweb – and (PC) Firefox, Opera and IE6. I have neither IE5.5 or IE7 beta.

I was asked to point out that these plugins are really geared for WordPress version 2.x but the Menu Only should really work with 1.5 as well. However, as I no longer have a 1.5 system I am unable to try this out.

Posted on April 29, 2006 in WordPress by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish7 Comments »

Please Note:

My WordPress plugins have a new home.
If you would like to take a look at my plugins that are currently available please visit my plugin site and follow your nose – Stuff at Yellow Swordfish.

In the immediately previous item I said that I was fast becoming a fan of the Opera browser. As a WordPress user, I am also a fan of the Admin Drop Down Menu Plugin from Ozh. As any WordPress user knows, the admin menus are always a two click – two screen load for anything other than the first option in the menu list. In other words – a real pain! The plugin from Ozh deals with this by floating the submenu options below the main menu options which, as far as I am concerned, was wonderful but for two problems. Using a laptop with a touchpad often means losing the submenu list as you need to be accurate. Try it and you’ll know what I mean. And the second probem? It doesn’t work in Opera!

So I set myself the task of correcting both of these problems by ensuring good behaviour in Opera and by making the submenu list a true drop down which opens up when you hover over the main menu item. As you can see in the illustrations. And then, just for the fun of it, I thought I’d change some of the WordPress Admin colours and look. The Admin panels are really quite a jumble of different styles and short of editing the source code there isn’t anything to be done about that so these are just simple CSS tweaks.

But – and there is always a but: It doesn’t yet work in Internet Exporer! And of course, the original work from Ozh does! But – if you are not using IE, and you fancy proper, drop down menus, then I have bundled it up into a small plugin that you can try. And here’s the good bit – if you like the drop down menus but don’t like the rest of the theme, then a simple edit to the supplied CSS file will give you just that – drop down menus in the standard WordPress admin look. As the illustration above shows.

Bearing in mind I only put this together yesterday this has to be considered an early draft although it is working well for me in Firefox, Opera and Safari. Remember, not yet for Internet Explorer and never for IE5.5 on the Apple Mac! If you are interested in taking a look go to the plugin page. And thanks Ozh for doing the hard bit for me!

Posted on April 26, 2006 in WordPress by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish2 Comments »

For those few who make a visit here regularly then you will know I have a habit of changing the theme on the site fairly often. I think, in the near year that it has been up and running, I have been through about 7 different themes and today is the start of another. I can’t help it – it’s an addiction. I like the way it looks and then quickly tire of it.

But – there was more to it this time. Having got the hang of CSS and PHP which makes all this possible, I wanted to enter the murky depths of javascript. I have started out the cheap and simple way of bagging someone elses and then tweaking it although the main routines here are supplied by the great Prototype library added with the effects routines of mo.fx which do all the hard work. But it is a start.

My apologies to the majority of people who still use MS Internet Explorer whether because they have to or through ignorance of what they are missing (i.e, Firefox or Opera for example). This site doesn’t play so well in IE. It is all there but not so pretty. I have grown tired of trying to force my CSS to bend to the peculiarities and non-standards of the ever-appalling IE.

Finally, one of my favourite Mac browsers, OmniWeb, doesn’t like the javascript that much but it wont, hopefully, be for long as they are moving to the Safari webkit with the next near release and Safari plays it well.

Now I’ve got this out of the way and my plugins are all up to date, perhaps I can get down to writing items again!

Posted on April 14, 2006 in WordPress by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish1 Comment »

Please Note:

This WordPress plugin has now been discontinued.
If you would like to take a look at my plugins that are currently available please visit my plugin site and follow your nose – Stuff at Yellow Swordfish.