Upcoming Changes to My WordPress Themes

I spent the day working on updates for all of my WordPress themes on WordPress.org – some of which haven't been updated for more than a year.

The single biggest reason for the update is that WordPress 4.3, due to be released next week, changes the recommended way for handling widgets. All of my themes used the older, soon-to-be deprecated method, which meant that people running one of my themes on WP 4.3 would receive warnings. That won’t be the case as soon as the themes have been updated. I’ve also added a lot of other stuff to the themes: SEO improvements, new functionality, styling fixes, etc.

Since when I released some of my older themes, the WordPress theme review team have become more strict in enforcing the Presentation vs. Functionality requirement in the theme review guidelines. You can read more about this here. In short, this means that the only way I would be able to update Hemingway, Wilson, Lingonberry, Baskerville, Garfunkel, Fukasawa and other themes would be to change how they handle the video, quote and link post formats. So that’s what I did.

Previously, those themes would present the user with custom meta boxes in which to enter the video, quote or link details to be displayed on the front end. The new solution is a little bit different. When you create a new post with any of those post formats, you start by selecting the post format in the Format box to the right. Next, you enter the following into the post content window:

Video format
[video url]
Content goes here...
Quote format
<blockquote>[quote content]
<cite>[quote attribution]</cite></blockquote>
Content goes here...
Link format
<p>[link title]</p>
<a href="[link url]">[site name]</a>
Content goes here...

The themes check for the format specific content above the <!–more–> tag, and presents those separate from the rest of the content. The solution utilizes the get_extended() function. You can see it in action on Garfunkels demo site. It’s not as straightforward as the old post meta boxes, but one does what one can. The benefit of this is that if/when you switch themes, all of your post content will come with you. The quotes/links/videos will also be included in the RSS feed, which they weren’t previously.

What will happen to my old format specific content?

The posts themselves will still be displayed, but the format specific content that you entered in the post meta boxes – links, quotes, video URLs – will be lost. I had to remove those post meta boxes in order to release updates to the themes.

Does this effect all of your themes?

The following themes used the post meta boxes and are effected by the changes:

  • Hemingway
  • Wilson
  • Lingonberry
  • Baskerville
  • Garfunkel
  • Fukasawa

What are my options?

Well, you can choose not to update your theme. Keep in mind though that it’s probably not a viable solution in the long run. If you got the know-how (or know someone who does), you can also create a child theme that implements the post meta boxes from the older versions of the theme you’re using and keep going as you did previously.

When will this happen?

Soon, hopefully, as WP 4.3 is slated to be released on August 18. But there’s a lot of people submitting updates to both themes and plugins in anticipation of 4.3, so it might be a while.

I have questions.

Get in touch at anders@andersnoren.se, and I’ll do my best to help you out.