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How to Customize Your WordPress Theme

We just released the Ultimate WordPress Theme Customization Guide, it’s full of useful tips for customizing any theme.

Here are some of the things included in the guide:

  • Learn how to avoid rookie mistakes
  • How to create and modify a WordPress child theme
  • How to preview CSS changes in your Chrome browser
  • How to edit the style.css and functions.php files
  • How to add/modify theme template files
  • Learn about theme hooks: actions & filters
  • and much more!

It’s free, and it has lots of useful links to other resources.

What are you waiting for, brush up on your WordPress theme customization today!

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Designfolio, Our NEW Fully Responsive WordPress Theme!

Designfolio WordPress Theme

Designfolio Pro is our brand new WordPress theme that has more features then you can shake a stick at, including three custom post types (Portfolio, Slider, and Testimonial)!

It has been months in the making and we are very excited to finally announce its release. It is a fully responsive portfolio theme for designers and creatives and looks great on all devices too (desktop, tablet, mobile phone)!

Rather than list all the features here why not take a look at the dedicated Designfolio Pro page for detailed theme information.

Also, be sure to check out the Designfolio Pro live demo yourself, and take it for a spin. Be sure to let us know what you think!

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Introducing CoachPro Our New WordPress Theme!

CoachPro WordPress Theme

We are excited to announce the release of our latest theme, CoachPro. It is designed to appeal directly to personal development coaches, and is an easy & affordable way to get your coaching website online straight away!

CoachPro is packed with features, and comes with 8 pre-made skins which you can switch between with just a single mouse click. This also includes skinning of the Twitter widget for the first time in our themes.

Why check out the CoachPro live demo yourself, and take it for a spin. Be sure to let us know what you think!

Or, check out the CoachPro information page for detailed theme information.

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What Motivates Us?

Well that’s an excellent question! What does motivate us to keep on developing great WordPress themes and provide dedicated support for all our users?

There are many factors really but one of the most satisfying reasons is getting positive customer feedback. Whilst many of our customers thank us in the forums for getting timely help with their sites, one recent message stood out in particular.

Jan, and Ingvild, from Peppy Fitness e-mailed us specifically to thank us for helping them get their site up and running. You can check out the great work they have done on their site here, which is based on our FitPro theme.

The e-mail we received from Jan, and Ingvild, was as follows:

Dear Scott and David,

Our website www.peppyfitness.com has now been up and running for a while with the Fitpro theme. The major hurdles have been passed, and we can now enjoy adding posts and pages without spending too much time on technical details (although we do have do upgrade to the new version soon).

So, we would like to take the opportunity to thank you both for your outstanding help and patience and quick response time while we were setting up our site over the past months. We’re very pleased and feel we have been in the good hands of two very skilled people (and their team).

We’ve had many questions, and you’ve always answered professionally to the most unprofessional of questions :-) .

Thank you for making it so easy for us to recommend your services and themes to others!

Kind regards,
Jan Helge and Ingvild Ostensen

This sort of feedback is exactly what motivates us to get out of bed in the morning and to continue developing awesome themes! So, many thanks for the kind words Jan, we really appreciate it. Good luck with your site in the future and you know where we are if you need any further help! ;)

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Full Service Theme Hosting

WordPress Theme Hosting

Press Coders is now offering full service, all inclusive WordPress hosting to our theme customers.

We’ve been referring our customers to outside hosts for a while now, but we find that we answer a lot of questions about how to set everything up. Sometimes it will be weeks from the time someone buys their hosting until they actually get their site online.

If you setup hosting yourself, you have to find a hosting company you trust, purchase a plan, register a domain, connect the domain and hosting, install WordPress, install your theme, then build your site. That’s assuming you already know how to do that stuff and you don’t need help.

What a pain!

In the time it takes to go back and forth with someone helping them setup their hosting account, we could have set it up for them and saved everyone some trouble.

That stuff is easy for us, so we figured, why not just let us do all the work?

After all, we know our themes better than anyone, who better to set your site up for you?

This service isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. This is only for our theme customers who don’t have the time or desire to mess with setting up and maintaining all the technical stuff.

To sweeten the deal, we will throw in a free theme!

Click here, everything you need to know is on this page.

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*New* FitX WordPress Theme Launched!

FitX Fitness WordPress Theme

We are excited to announce the release of our latest theme, FitX. It is our second fitness theme after the success of our very popular FitPro theme.

FitX is a vibrant new theme with lots of great features, you can see a demo of it here.

Some people asked what is the difference between FitPro and FitX? Well, FitX has everything FitPro has, and more. It is built a little differently, more modern features like HTML5, a new rotating testimonial feature, easily change fonts, a custom sidebar feature, and cool custom graphics.

Plus, we have a great new quick start feature included in FitX which is perfect for new sites. Upon theme activation you have the option to setup some default content including new pages (About Us, Contact Us, Blog, Sitemap), and a navigation menu etc.

Click here to check out the full FitX details!

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Better Theme Activation Handling

Here at Press Coders we are never happy with making do with the same old functionality. We constantly re-evaluate the way we do things and always look to improve on user experience. So, what have we been up to?

Well, one thing that bugs us is that when activating a theme for the first time your site can typically look less than amazing. That is until you create some content and complete some initial configuration including:

  • Posts
  • Pages (About Us, Contact Us, Sitemap etc.)
  • Navigation Menu (and setting the Theme Location)
  • Widgets and adding them to widget areas

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to (optionally) install this content automatically when activating a theme on a new site?

Yes, we thought so too, and that’s why we added it to our theme framework! ;)

The actual code of creating the default content will be left to another post. In this post we want to focus on what happens on the theme activation side, and demonstrate how our framework makes it a snap to change this behavior when activating the theme.

Let’s see what a bog standard theme activation looks like.

OK, so here we have added an extra admin notice to show we have activated a theme, and even thrown in a link to the theme options page for good measure. But it still isn’t great.

For one thing, the default activation message feels a little outdated. I mean, what theme doesn’t support widgets these days? So let’s start by removing this default activation message. We are safe to do this because we know that all our current and future themes will ALWAYS support widgets.

How do we do this exactly? Well, we need to make sure our code runs when a theme is activated. There is no built-in WordPress hook for this (seriously) but we can use the following to achieve the same thing.

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global $pagenow;
if ( is_admin() && isset($_GET['activated']) && $pagenow == "themes.php" ) {
	 /* Show theme activation message, and setup them option defaults. */
	add_action( 'admin_notices', array( &$this, 'theme_activated' ) );
}

We can add code to the ‘theme_activated’ callback function that will be executed every time a theme is activated. You may have noticed that this callback is referenced via class method syntax. This is because we are using classes rather than standard functions, thus the callback references need to be modified slightly.

Inside our callback function we have a line of jQuery code to remove the standard WordPress theme activation notice.

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?>
<script type="text/javascript">
	jQuery(document).ready(function($) {
		$('#message2').css('display', 'none');
	});
</script>
<?php

Now that is gone we can add our own message when the theme is activated.

This is getting a little better now. We have a more relevant message with some buttons to go to the site home page, or theme options page.

But what about the default content mentioned earlier? Well, in the functions.php file we have two constants (INSTALL_DEFAULT_CONTENT, and INSTALL_CONTENT_PROMPT) that we can alter to change the activation message/behavior.

When INSTALL_DEFAULT_CONTENT is set to FALSE (the default setting) the above theme activation message is shown. But when it is set to TRUE we see a new activation message.

You can decide whether to install the default content or just go straight to the theme options page (or any other page you want to). To prevent accidental installation of default content the is an alert box that pops up to make sure you want to go ahead.

And if you do choose to install the default content, you get a confirmation message after completion.

The second constant, INSTALL_CONTENT_PROMPT, is only relevant if INSTALL_DEFAULT_CONTENT is set to TRUE. It is used to decide whether the default content to be installed should be installed automatically or prompt the user first.

We have already seen the effect of having INSTALL_CONTENT_PROMPT set to TRUE above where the default content is ONLY installed if the user specifies. If set to FALSE then the default content is installed silently in the background.

In this case the activation message is the same as before (see screenshot below) when INSTALL_DEFAULT_CONTENT was initially set to FALSE.

Why bother to install default content in the background without giving the user a choice? Well this option is pretty useful in situations where you ALWAYS want to make sure default content is installed every time a theme is activated. We already have one clear use in mind for this feature, for a proposed theme test area. Users will be able to sign up for an account and get full admin access to a blog where they can try out any of our themes.

In this scenario, it suddenly becomes clear that being able auto-install default content upon theme activation is pretty useful. This is a great way to show off a theme to its full potential right from the start, without the user having to do any initial configuration.

The theme activation feature discussed in this post is really still a work in progress, and the final implementation will almost certainly change before we use this in a production theme. But, we were pretty excited by this new addition to our theme framework, and wanted to share our development progress!

So let us know what you think in the comments. Would you find this feature useful?

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Editing a WordPress theme’s CSS using Firebug (Video)

Learn how to make changes to your WordPress theme CSS using Firebug, a free Firefox browser add-on.

This video is an intro to Firebug, it is to help beginners make changes to WordPress themes.

Read More

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Get our new Big Shot theme free!

Big Shot WordPress Business Theme

We are pleased to announce Big Shot, our brand new WordPress business theme. It’s sleek, feature packed, and ready to make you look like a Big Shot!

The official release date is Wednesday July 27th, but you can get Big Shot for free by simply connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Check out all the details about Big Shot and see how easy it is to win by clicking here.

Please note, this free promotion has now ended. Thanks to all those who entered!

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FitPro 2.1 Released!

A new version of FitPro is now available that has some bug fixes, new features, and is fully compatible with WordPress 3.2.1. To download the latest version simply login to your Press Coders control panel and download the zip file from there.

To help you upgrade with the minimum of fuss you can also find an upgrade document (pdf) in the FitPro forum, at the top as a sticky thread.

Some of the new features include:

  • A ‘Reset Options’ button so you can revert your theme options to the defaults at any time.
  • A custom styles text box where you can enter your CSS commands directly, to have fine grained control over your site.
  • Info box widget now has an optional search field too.
  • The Sidebar Commander feature has moved from theme options to the Appearance->Widgets page.

If you are new to FitPro and haven’t tried it out yet, why not take the live demo for a spin and see what you think of it? Click the image above to go directly to the live demo where you can see try out all the great features of FitPro first hand.

Alternatively, you can find out why we think FitPro is such a great theme so click here to see all the juicy details!