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WordPress Themes Development Frameworks

If you build and develop WordPress themes often, you will probably be fed up of all the repetitive code writing, the constantly checking of your mark-up and all you really want to do is focus on the design and the project-specific features. The answer is a WordPress development framework. A framework is designed to speed up the process of designing and coding a WordPress theme by minimizing your time, and balancing your patience, on WordPress’ back-end code that is repeated within every theme.

This post is not about finding the best framework, it is about finding the right framework that works for you. If you are an experienced developer then you will probably go for the powerful and feature rich Thematic or Carrington, or if you are a novice, you could try the Whiteboard framework or , even easier, download a stripped out and bare bones blank canvas theme, which you will find at the bottom of the post.

Which would you use?

Thematic – WP Framework

Thematic is a highly polished WordPress Theme Framework that is built upon the 960.gs. At first glance, its backend may look daunting and complex, but you will soon realise just how well organised it is and easy to use. Its power is based upon its flexibility and its simple customisation, you would be very hard pushed to find a project you couldn’t use the Thematic WP Framework for.

THEMATIC FEATURES

  • Optional 2 or 3 column layouts.
  • Up to 13 widget ready areas.
  • Modular CSS with pre-packaged resets and basic typography.
  • Fully Search-Engine Optimized.
  • Can be used as it is, or as a blank WordPress theme.
  • Dynamic post and body classes make it a hyper-canvas for CSS artists.
  • Options for multi-author blogs.
  • Great support available from the customisation guide and forums.
  • Child Themes are available for upgrading the theme.

THEMATIC (CHILD) THEMES

Thematic uses Child Themes, these are essentially stripped down versions of a full WP theme, that needs the Thematic Framework for functionality. Upon download, Thematic comes packaged with a basic child theme, but you can download many more from the Thematic homepage. Download Thematic Child Themes.

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WordPress Themes can be more faster than you think let’s see how !!?

A few months ago, I ran an experiment to see how much faster I could make one of my websites in less than two hours of work. After installing a handful of WordPress plugins and fixing a few simple errors, I had improved the website’s loading speed from 1.61 seconds to 583 milliseconds. That’s a 70.39% improvement, without having made any visual changes to the website.

According to a 2009 Akamai study, 47% of visitors expect a page to load in under 2 seconds, and 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Since this study, no shortage of case studies have confirmed that loading time affects sales.

In 2006, Amazon reported that a 100-millisecond increase in page speed translated to a 1% increase in its revenue. Just a few years later, Google announced in a blog post that its algorithm takes page speed into account when ranking websites.

So, how can you speed up your WordPress website?

Below are twelve quick fixes that will dramatically improve your website’s loading time, including:

  • identifying which plugins are slowing down your website;
  • automatically compressing Web pages, images, JavaScript and CSS files;
  • keeping your website’s database clean;
  • setting up browser caching the right way.

Lay The Foundation

When your house is sinking into the ground, you don’t polish the windows — you fix the foundations. The same goes for your website. If it’s hosted on a sluggish server or has a bloated theme, quick fixes won’t help. You’ll need to fix the foundation.

So, let’s start with what makes for a good foundation and how to set ourselves up for a website that runs at lightening speed.

CHOOSE A GOOD HOST

Your Web hosting company and hosting package have a huge impact on the speed of your website, among many other important performance-related things. I used to be sucked in by the allure of free or cheap hosting, but with the wisdom of hindsight, I’ve learned that hosting isn’t an area to skimp on.

To put this into perspective, two of my clients have similar websites but very different hosting providers. One uses WPEngine (an excellent hosting company), and the other hosts their website on a cheap shared server.

The DNS response time (i.e. the time it takes for the browser to connect to the hosting server) of the client using WPEngine is 7 milliseconds. The client using the cheap shared hosting has a DNS response time of 250 milliseconds.

If you want your website to run quickly, start with a good hosting company and package.

CHOOSE A GOOD THEME

Unfortunately, not all WordPress themes are created equal. While some are extremely fast and well coded, others are bloated with hundreds of bells and whistles under the pretence of being “versatile and customizable.”

A few years ago, Julian Fernandes of Synthesis ran an interesting case study in which he updated his theme from WordPress’ default to the Genesis framework, monitoring page speed. He noticed that just by changing the theme to Genesis, his loading time improved from 630 to 172 milliseconds.

When you choose a theme, check the page speed of the theme’s demo, using a tool such as Pingdom, to see how quickly it runs with nothing added to it. This should give you an idea of how well coded it is.

USE A CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORK

I recently started using a content delivery network (CDN) for one of my websites and noticed a 55% reduction in bandwidth usage and a huge improvement in page-loading speed.

A CDN hosts your files across a huge network of servers around the world. If a user from Argentina visits your website, then they would download files from the server closest to them geographically. Because your bandwidth is spread across so many different servers, the load on any single server is reduced.

Setting up a CDN can take a few hours, but it’s usually one of the quickest ways to dramatically improve page-loading speed.

12 Quick Fixes To Speed Up WordPress

Now that our foundation is solid, we can begin fine-tuning our website.

A good way to start speeding up a website is to look at what can be removed. More often than not, a website is slow not because of what it lacks but because of what it already has.

1. IDENTIFY PLUGINS THAT ARE SLOWING YOU DOWN

P3 is one of my favourite diagnostic plugins because it shows you the impact of your other plugins on page-loading time. This makes it easy to spot any plugins that are slowing down your website.

A common culprit is social-sharing plugins, most of which bloat page-loading times and can easily be replaced by embedding social buttons into the theme’s source code.

Once you’re aware of which plugins are slowing down your website, you can make an informed decision about whether to keep them, replace them or remove them entirely.

2. COMPRESS YOUR WEBSITE

When you compress a file on your computer as a ZIP file, the total size of the file is reduced, making it both easier and faster to send to someone. Gzip works in exactly the same way but with your Web page files.

Once installed, Gzip automatically compresses your website’s files as ZIP files, saving bandwidth and speeding up page-loading times. When a user visits your website, their browser will automatically unzip the files and show their contents. This method of transmitting content from the server to the browser is far more efficient and saves a lot of time.

There is virtually no downside to installing Gzip, and the increase in speed can be quite dramatic. As we can see in the screenshot above, MusicLawContracts.com goes from 68 KB to only 13 KB with Gzip installed.

for more : http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/06/25/how-to-speed-up-your-wordpress-website/

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The theme framework you’ve built will be used as a parent theme in the sites you develop. This means that in each case you’ll need to create a child theme to create a unique site with its own design and with extra or different functions compared to the framework.

The obvious way to go about this is to dive in and start creating template files in your child theme to override those in the framework, but thanks to the action and filter hooks you’ve added to your framework, this might not always be the best approach.

In this article, I’ll outline some of the techniques you can use in your child themes to make best use of your framework and improvise your workflow.

The topics I’ll cover are as follows:

Creating starter child themes
Amending code via the framework’s filter hooks
Adding code via the framework’s action hooks
Creating template files in your child theme
When to use a plugin instead
Creating Starter Child Themes framework

The main purpose of developing your theme framework is to adopt the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle, and that applies to your child themes, too.

It can make you more efficient if you create one or more ‘starter’ child themes for use with your framework, which contain the core code you need to get started on new projects.

When deciding how to go about doing this, consider the way you work and the sites you build:

Do you create a lot of sites for clients in the same sector with similar needs?
Do you want to offer low cost template based sites to smaller clients?
Are there specific template files you tend to create for most of your new projects?
Is there functionality you need to include on some sites but not others? (For example, I use two starter child themes, one with comment functionality and one without.)
Is there styling you tend to use for most projects, or can you use object oriented styling or a CSS preprocessor for most projects?
Are there libraries or resources you use for most new projects, or for a significant proportion of them?
Do you have two or three main categories you can place projects under, with each category involving similar development work?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then developing one or more starter child themes may save you time. You can create a set of child themes with the basic code that you repeat across all projects using them, and then you don’t need to rewrite that code (or create those files) for each new project.

Note on caveat: If you’re adding some code to every single new project, you may want to add it to your framework instead of to child themes, maybe by using a hook so you can override it if a different need arises in the future.

Even if you answered no to the questions above, it’s worth creating a very basic starter theme with an empty stylesheet and functions file, and adding the instructions WordPress needs to access your framework’s parent theme .

You might also want to create a starter functions.php file with the functions you most frequently use in your child themes. You can then choose to remove any of these and/or add to them for specific projects.

Amending Code via Filter Hooks

As well as adding styling to your child theme, you’ll most likely want to make changes to the code output by the framework. The most lightweight way of doing this is via filter hooks, so it’s worth exploring those first to identify if you can use any of them.

Creating a function which you then attach to a filter hook is much more efficient than creating a whole new template file for the new code; however, if you find yourself doing this repeatedly with the same filter hook, you might want to consider changing that filter hook to an action hook and writing a new function for each project which you activate via that action hook.

To be more efficient, you might want to create a set of relevant functions which you place in the functions file of different start themes or even create a plugin with your function which you activate when needed. I’ll cover plugins in more detail later in this series.

Adding Code via Action Hooks

Your theme framework will also have action hooks which you can use to insert content in various places in your sites.

If you’ve been working on the code files for the framework bundled with this tutorial series, you’ll have seven action hooks to work with:

before the header
inside the header
before the content
after the content
in the sidebar
in the footer
after the footer.
To do this, create a functions.php file in your child theme and .

There is plenty of other content you could add using your action hooks, such as sharing buttons above or below the content, extra content in the footer, a search box in the header and much more.

You might just want to add some content on specific page types, such as single blog posts, in which case the most obvious place to start would be by creating a newsingle.php template. But you can still use your action hooks with the addition of a conditional tag.

Creating New Template Files

On occasion you won’t be able to do what you want using the filter or action hooks in your framework, in which case you’ll need to create new template files in your child themes.

These might be the same template files as are stored in your framework, in which case the files in the child theme will override them. Or they might be new template files, for example for a new category, taxonomy or post type.

If you are creating template files in your child themes, it makes things easier if you use the template files in your framework as a starting point. The steps I follow are:

Identify the template file you need to create with reference to the WordPress template hierarchy
Create a blank file with the appropriate name in your child theme
Identify the file in your framework which is closest to the new file (again with reference to the template hierarchy)
Copy the contents of that into your new file
Make amendments to the new file as required.
Doing this saves you the work of duplicating any code which will be common between your new file and the existing files in your framework, such as the calls to include files.

When to Use a Plugin Instead

Another option you have when creating sites based on your framework is to use plugins in conjunction with your child themes. A plugin won’t replace a child theme completely, but it can be useful in the following circumstances:

The functionality you want to add isn’t theme-dependent (i.e. you want to keep it if the site ever changes theme in future). This might include registering custom post types or taxonomies, for example.
You want to use this functionality on a number of the sites you create, but not enough for it to go into a starter child theme or the framework itself.
I’ll cover developing plugins for your framework in the next part of this series.

Summary

Your theme framework is just the starting point of a library of code and files you’ll create to support the sites you develop. Each site you create will need to run on a child theme, which will have your framework theme as its parent.

As we’ve seen, your child themes will add their own styling and functionality, and they can do this by hooking into the action and filter hooks in your framework, or via the creation of new template files. It’s always a good idea to adopt the solution which needs the least code, as that makes your site faster and your life easier!

from :http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/creating-child-themes-for-your-wordpress-theme-framework–cms-21933

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Getting your readers to return to your blog is something that every website owner has to get to grips with at some point. At times it can be a constant battle to drive that returning traffic. Then there’s the problem of keeping your readers interested when they get to your site.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could improve your website’s traffic flow and frequently update your website, with very little work?

It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?

This is a sponsored review, it is completely impartial and not influenced in any way by being paid. If you would like to order a sponsored review, please visit our advertising page.

Anything that takes little effort, has to have a catch – it’s the way the world works. And yet here I am, about to share a WordPress plugin with you, that may just do that very thing.

get-events-plugin

Today I’m introducing GetEvents, a plugin that claims to do all of the above. I have to say I’m always a sucker for jumping on anything that says it will improve my site’s level of returning traffic, so how about we give it the benefit of the doubt and see what it has to offer first.

GetEvents For WordPress

GetEvents is a platform that helps people to find events wherever they are in the world. Via the installation of a simple plugin, you can quickly and easily create a page on your website dedicated to events that are happening in a location of your choosing.

Users can browse events based on the parameters you choose in your settings. For example if you’re a tech blog, you can choose to display tech events. Restaurants and hotels can display events happening in their local area for tourists to discover.

get-events-2

You can also display your own events by adding it to your GetEvents login area. Your event will display alongside others in the area you select, helping to drive engagement and add variety to your listings.

Because GetEvents always has the latest content, it can provide great benefits for your website’s level of returning visitors. Your website will always have regular updates in the form of event listings, with content that people are looking for which ensures people will continue to come back to your website to check for updates and create a buzz around your site.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at GetEvents in more detail. I’ll walk you through creating an account, getting the plugin set up and creating your first GetEvents page for your WordPress website.

GetEvents Plugin Review

The GetEvents plugin is currently free to download and install. Head to the GetEvents plugin page which can be found in the WordPress.org plugin directory, and download the plugin to your hard drive.

get-events-1

From within your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins and Add New. Browse your hard drive for the GetEvents .zip file and click Upload. Finally activate the plugin.

get-events-5

To view the GetEvents settings area, select GetEvents from the left navigation area of your WordPress Dashboard. At this stage you’ll be asked to either create an account or login with your existing details.

get-events-6

Creating an account is simple. Type in your Website, Email, Name and Password, then click Create Account. Be sure to check your emails for your confirmation message and to successfully activate your installation.

get-events-7

Once you’ve logged in, you should see a screen similar to the one above. This is your GetEvents plugin dashboard and it’s where you can set up your first events page. As you can see there’s a piece of example text to show you the type of thing you could add to your page. Go ahead and change this to a location of your choosing.

For this review I’ve chosen to set my location as Event In London. Once you’ve chosen your location, click the Add Page To WordPress button. The plugin will now automatically create a draft page where your events listing will appear when published.

get-events-8

In the screenshot above you can see there are further fields you can now fill in. These include:

  • Sub-Title – here you can explain a little further about the types of events you’ll be listing on the page for example.
  • Add Keyword – this field is self-explanatory and allows you add the main keywords associated with the events you’d like to list.  Example keywords could be; ‘London Events’, ‘Days Out London’ or ‘Tech Events London’’.

get-events-9

With the GetEvents plugin you can further customize the look of your events page. Clicking either Background, Header or Link will bring up a color picker tool. Here you can change the colors of the respective elements, enabling you to match your page to your website’s branding.

 

from :http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/creating-child-themes-for-your-wordpress-theme-framework–cms-21933

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