About Me

I'm a coder, based in Massachusetts. I like WordPress and JavaScript. I also write about books that interest me.

Categories, Tags and Custom Taxonomies for your WordPress site

WordPress comes with 2 taxonomies built in: Categories and Tags, but you can add Custom Taxonomies if you like. I was building WP sites for three years before I needed to set up a custom taxonomy for a client. There is a lot you can do with Categories and Tags. I’ve always told my clients “use as few categories as you need to organize your site, and as many tags as you like”.…

A simple related posts widget

If you want to put some related posts in a widget you can use the smart YARPP plugin. Or, if you merely want to list posts with matching tags, you can put a function in your WordPress theme. In some ways this is better than the fuzzy logic of YARPP because it gives you more control: you just give posts the same tag, and you know they are related.…

The Nice Things icon set, and icon fonts

The fad for icon fonts is a little silly, imo. I’m not that crazy about trying to replace all text on an app with a curious little picture. But, icons do have their uses, and I generally load Font Awesome on the sites I build, if I can use the social media, RSS, and gear icons. But seeing Chris Behr’s Nice Things icon set (not a font, just a set of images) I was thinking, cool, how can I use some of these?…

Trekkers.org

This was a really nice project for me: a cool non-profit group, that wanted an upgrade of its old website to WordPress. Trekkers is an org that takes high school kids on bus tours around the USA. We created a site that had good balance between easy-admin, and rich news content. It has the potential for good community interaction, with lots of leaders and (hopefully) students posting content.…

Customizing Twenty Twelve

Twenty Twelve is my favorite of the WordPress default ‘twenty’ themes. Its elegant and responsive. I like the smartphone menu. Twenty Ten is not responsive at all. Twenty Eleven is simply less classy. Twenty Thirteen looks like a good full-screen theme, but I have not yet done anything with it. Twenty Twelve should be a perfect candidate for child-theming. You would think. But the stylesheet is written is a bizarre and complex way.…

Favorite WordPress Plugins

Here is my plugin list. Essential plugins: WordPress SEO (by Yoast) or All In One SEO. There is lots of debate over which one of these is better. Yoast’s is more fully featured, All in One is more automatic (set it and forget it). If you are willing to do the work, go with Yoast, and be sure to read his manual. Actually read Yoast even if you are using All-in-One.…

Better WordPress Security by Bit51

For almost two years I’ve been relying on the G5 firewall from Perishable Press, but I’ve come to believe an .htaccess blacklist is simply not enough. Part of the problem is security flaws inherent in the default WordPress installation, such as: An admin user named ‘Admin’ table prefix is wp_ revealing header information users can choose a non-secure password Better WordPress Security can change the username Admin to something else.…

Responsive Comment Forms

After you make the front page of your theme responsive (see my previous post), you need to check the other templates. And one area that might break your theme, and resists the simple CSS-media-queries method, is the comments form, typically loaded on the single post template. That’s because forms tend to have fixed widths, and whats more, the width is defined with inline HTML, or at least its defined that way by default in the WordPress comments template.…

John Howe's WYRIWYG

John Howe, Content Writer

I re-designed John Howe’s personal site for him.  He was planning a move to Florida when he contacted me, wanting a re-design of his old static website, and conversion to WordPress. He also wanted a ‘Florida’ look and feel, so this is what we came up with. It uses the border-image property to give smooth shaded and rounded borders, and it loads a handwritten font. We discussed his domain—wyriwyg.com,…

Minimalist starter themes for WordPress

My two favorite starter themes for Wordpress are Toolbox and Handcrafted WP. I wrote this post to say why you might want a starter theme, even though you don't always need one. These two themes are my favorites because they are the simplest HTML5 themes I've found.