WordPress Commercial Theme Now Available: Lucidity 2.0

After a few long months of updates, tweaks, and new features, I am happy to announce Lucidity 2.0 is now available for purchase. You can see a demo of the theme by going to http://themes.sandboxdev.com/lucidity/.

Lucidity Commercial Theme 2.0

For those interested, Jappler.com is simply a child theme of Lucidity 2.0 and contains around 75 lines of CSS, and 2 modified template files. This is a great theme for developers and users alike.

Jappler.com: New Theme Using Lucidity 2.0

My company SDAC Inc. is preparing to release the next version of the commercial Lucidity WordPress theme. I decided that since I am selling a theme – it had to be something that I could easily use, and customize without making major changes or changing much code. With this in mind – I added a number of new features, redid a lot of the admin interface, and added in some of the great new functionality that comes along with WordPress 3.0+.

The theme that you see here is actually a child theme of Lucidity. I customized one theme template, added in a home.php template, added 8 image files, and added just around 50 lines of CSS to customize this theme.

I am hoping to have Lucidity completely finished (going through last bit of QA now) and ready for purchase next week. I am also hoping that now that I have a clean new theme – I will be more inspired to start blogging on a regular basis (one of my goals for 2011).

Interested in Lucidity? Check out the theme site for a demo: Lucidity WordPress theme.

Excuse the Dust

I am in the process of re-organizing and re-doing a lot of the backend of my jappler.com sites so if you see anything out of place or broken – I am on it 😉

WordPress 2.9 RC 1

Well – it is that time again – another new version of WordPress is coming out in the next few days (WordPress 2.9). I am running WordPress 2.9 RC 1 here on jappler.com and only one issue so far. If you have not read anything about the newest version soon to be available and you use WordPress, check out: WordPress 2.9 New Features/Changes.

Try and Try Again

Well – In the past I thought about posting on a particular subject certain days of the week would be good for me and something the readers might find interesting…until I started dreading it, posting less, getting a lot less comments, and realized I was pushing content like traditional media (I say when and where, you tune in).

I am going to be making some changes here over the next few days – to really make this more interesting, relevant, and more fun for me to post/share information.

Thanks for your patience – and I hope this will become a blog you look forward to reading again.

WordPress Wednesdays: Jappler Category/Tag Feeds

Perhaps you come to this site because you personally know me or like some of the WordPress hints I like, or like my CSS posts, or just like my personal rants (which seem to happen less…hmm I need to get on that!).

If you are only interested in some of my posts but not others, you can easily subscribe to just certain “subjects” very easily.

For example, lately I have been posting on a certain subject each day. (WordPress Wednesdays, etc). If you are only interested in reading those posts, subscribe to this RSS feed: http://www.jappler.com/blog/archive/tag/wordpress-wednesdays/feed. Perhaps you only want to read about things I post in the “Serenity Now” category. You can subscribe to http://www.jappler.com/blog/archive/category/this-and-that/serenity-now/feed. Do you see what I am doing? This logic will work on any tag or category. Find the tag URL (click on a tag) or find the category URL (click on a category in the sidebar) and then add “/feed” to the end of the URL – and there you go. A custom filtered Jappler.com feed.

Just another way WordPress makes it easy to interact with content!

Jappler Blog Format

After four years of blogging – I think I finally am getting close to having a solid idea of what to write that would be both regular and interesting.

I am going to make each day of the week specific to something that I find interesting. This will not only hopefully be more interesting for you – but will also allow me to really focus in on some topics, and get me to write more.

Starting next week Jappler.com will begin featuring:

  • Media Mondays (music, podcasts, movies, etc)
  • CSS Tuesdays (CSS tricks, tips, resources,etc)
  • WordPress Wednesdays (WordPress specific posts)
  • Linkfest Thursdays (links I find interesting)
  • Random Fridays (I need one random day)

The Story of My Life – Told in the Header

For the last few versions of Jappler.com – I have had images in the header arranged in a way to tell a story.

  • My roots. This picture was taken out of my car on the road my parents live in NY.
  • My home. Old Main on the Penn State campus. I was destined to go to Penn State and it was my #1 goal since I was 3 years old (besides a few months in 7th grade when my #1 goal was to beat Super Mario Brothers) I spent a lot of time sitting on the front steps reading, people watching and hanging out with Amy.
  • Pita. Right after we moved to Chicago – I wanted a kitten and we chose Pita. She is my little helper.
  • Salsa. We figured Pita needed a friend so a year later after getting Pita – we got Salsa. Her name is perfect for her – she is a spitfire.
  • My Apple tattoo. Back in 2000 – I decided it was time to get a tattoo and what better and more meaningful than what changed and formed my life more than anything else?
  • My first trip to Vegas. I finally made it to Vegas in my early 20s and it was unforgettable.
  • September 11, 2001. This changed me – and probably all of us forever.
  • Chicago’s Bean. Millennium Park opens four years late – but is an awesome place!
  • Triscuit. My first dog – Triscuit who was absolutely amazing (and fast).
  • My mecca. Doug and I went to the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta. As a huge Coca Cola fan – this was awesome.
  • My Apple Cube. As an Apple collector – I had to have it (and it looked great next to my B&W!
  • Sears Tower. How could I not have this in my header? I absoltely love the Sears Tower and spending time in it.
  • Golf. I finally started golfing after a few years of not golfing and bought my first set of Ping irons – which I love.
  • My S80. This was Volvo #3 for me – and my absolute dream car. I cannot imagine getting rid of it.
  • Penn State football. After a rocky game at Northwestern that we were at – Penn State not only turned around their season, but their entire program.
  • Evan. My first born son brought a new perspective and endless entertainment into my life.
  • Colby. Colby – Triscuit’s brother found us right after Triscuit died and we feel very fortunate to share our time with him

And so you have it – the history of my life…all in a web site header collage of pictures.

Out With the Old, In With the New

As you might have noticed – I took a week off from blogging in order to focus on something else – cleaning up Jappler.com. Over the past few months I have learned so much more about WordPress, web site optimization, and what I really used this web site for – so I decided I needed to take some time to redo this site.

From a design perspective, I decided to darken the colors quite a bit in order to remove some of the drabness of the old design. I also added a background pattern to give some depth, and also added in some new pictures in the header that represent changes/additions in my life over the last few years. I love working with greys – so I added more grey elements. I also simplified the layout and got rid of a number of image based elements to keep everything minimal.

From a UI perspective, I decided to focus on the content I have created over the past 4-5 years instead of a few static pages here and there. I moved all of the blog content into the main navigation so it is easier to find/navigate. I also used Jappler Menus in combination with the WordPress function to list all categories/sub-categories.

From a functional perspective, I started from scratch with this new version. I created a number of custom functions that make presenting content a lot easier. I dropped the YUI library and went with all jQuery based AJAX functionality. The code is leaner, faster, and easy to modify for any future needs. The comments are now using WordPress’s threaded comment functionality, and a number of other WordPress 2.7 additions. I also went through and got rid of almost 50% of my old plugins (replaced the functionality with custom functions, WordPress built in functionality – or completely removed unused plugins.

From an optimization perspective, this site uses far less javascript, CSS, and images and will load much faster than the previous site. I also increased the use of title tags, alt tags, and other easy tricks to help with search engine optimization.

All in all – this was something fun that I enjoyed and look forward to adding even more new design/functional elements in the future.

WordPress 2.5 Beta 1: One Click Plugin Updates!

On my company blog, I blogged about my initial thoughts on WordPress 2.5 beta 1. I have since then updated to WordPress 2.5 beta 1 and have been pretty darn happy with it so far. All my plugins on jappler.com made the upgrade without any issues and this morning when I logged into my web site, I noticed that one of my plugins had been updated since I last logged in and with WordPress 2.5 – you now have the ability to do “one click” installs. You need to provide WordPress with your FTP user name and password, and with that, you can have WordPress manage your plugin updates. No more manual downloading, uploading, etc… Nice work WordPress team! Stay tuned for more WordPress 2.5 related posts.