Tag Archives | WordPress

A new portfolio solution in more than one place.

Ever since I started to focus on Berchman.com I realized that my former “company” website, HamiltonBerchman Design Group, Inc., was no longer maintained, correct, or relevant. However, at the time I was fortunately too busy to even think about doing anything to the site.

Then one day I was doing research on a project and stumbled across a free portfolio template that stood out to me in more than one way. The template is called medifolio, by Dirk Leys who generously posted it online. I was particularly drawn to the “sliding” action when you click on a portfolio thumbnail image, and the return to the main page. There was a simple elegance to the whole thing. I looked at it and thought, “how can I do this type of page in WordPress and Thesis?” The original medifolio is a single, flat html page. How could I generate all the content, in the right order, with the right tags and syntax? I thought about it a while. A long while.

In the time since I first saw medifolio I was working on a client project requiring the listing of individual portfolio pieces, complete with images and text. It required a complete custom solution. By creatively using categories as parents I created blog posts that then occupied specific categories. I could then create custom loops to not only create a listing of the portfolio pieces at the top of the page, but I could have them link to the actual full description and image display further down the page (by using custom generated anchor links). You can see the work in action here on the website ckwrites.com. There are four custom lists generated across the top of the page after introductory text. All done within WordPress and Thesis with categories and custom page templates, and custom loops.

Since I had completed design and development of ckwrites.com I looked back at medifolio and the previous experience lent itself directly to making medifolio a reality. After some long nights tinkering with custom php and css solutions I got the basic page to work as the original static medifolio page. All the content was being dynamically generated from individual posts for each and every portfolio piece. All the tags, divs, etc. were being dynamically generated as well.

Once I had a basic working model the next thing to do was to implement. I’ve done this right now in two places where it lives, live on the Internet. The first implementation was at HamiltonBerchman Design Group, Inc.

I set out to rework, or basically remove, all the non-relevant content from the website and was left with a stripped down, single web page that tells what the current state of affairs is, and shows a sample of work that I completed in my time operating HamiltonBerchman Design Group, Inc.

Once I had this complete, I wanted to take it to another place and that was on the Dennison+Wolfe Internet Group website where I am a partner. This implementation allowed me to refine and rethink some things to how the portfolio is implemented.

I think both of these came out looking quite nice.

It will be a part of the new, upcoming Berchman.com redesign.

My next step, I think, is to clean this up, write a tutorial on how to implement this, and release it on an “as-is” basis. What does that mean? It means if you want it, download it, and figure it out.

That is what I had to do. 🙂

Let me know what you think.

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Where have I been?

I have been busy on many projects recently. What is great is I am ready to share them and the new things I’ve learned with Thesis and WordPress. My two most recent projects made me push my personal envelope of what I thought was possible within the WordPress/Thesis environment. Not that I’ve ever had any doubts, rather just plain figuring out “how the h*ll are you going to do this?“—and then doing it. So much fun.

Over the next few weeks I am going to share the projects, their scope, the questions presented, and their solutions. Not every project will go into minute detail, but I will give you enough info to maybe help you figure out how to do your own solutions to your own WordPress/Thesis challenges. I’ve noticed in the time that I’ve been using Thesis there are more and more people trying it out, and trying to do-it-yourself, which is great. I have found that its not a perfect fit for everyone but if you’re like me the fit is great and learning never ends. So stay tuned to see the projects.

Also, I’ll let the cat out of the bag and now state that I have a new website design for berchman.com coming soon (design is done and now in CSS) along with a custom portfolio solution rolled right into WordPress/Thesis. There is a fair amount of setup and labor in this process (basing things off an open-source solution), but I think the end result is clean and attractive. Thinking about doing a detailed tutorial and maybe releasing everything into the open. We’ll see what my time looks like. I’ve had very little time to write tutorials, or anything for that matter. But believe me there is lots to share and I’m hoping time will cooperate with me.

That’s it for now. Summer is here and I hope yours is going well.

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WordPress + Thesis Tutorial: Finding and fixing phantom spacing on your web page

I came across something while working with WordPress and Thesis that I know will help at least one person and possibly save them hours of frustration. So here is the tutorial.

I was working on a revision to a visual layout of a website I previously helped develop on the Thesis theme framework. I spent more time than I should trying to find out where the extra space between webpage elements was coming from. Was it the CSS? It had to be.

I checked the CSS using my editing tools. No extra margin, no extra padding, yet I still could not get page elements aligned the way I wanted. There was a mysterious “gap” between page elements. No matter what I tried with my CSS (other than negative margins—no bueno in this case) the gap would not go away.

I finally got smart and looked as source code—the html. Typically I get to the source code earlier in the process, but this time I thought all my issues were in CSS but they were not. The key to the solution lie inside the HTML.

I recorded the video tutorial below in hopes that it might help you. If it does, let me know in the comments.

Be sure to click on the small, 4-arrow button in the bottom right corner of the video (as shown in the graphic below) to see the video at full size. Hope this helps.

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A good week for links

Over the past week I have been humbled and honored by two different websites.

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WordPress/Thesis Tutorial: Custom Google Search Engine

One of the things you always want to provide visitors to your website is a good search tool. The default search tool that comes standard with WordPress is adequate. However, if your website covers a topic, or area of topics, or you have a Google AdSense account, you can take advantage of Google’s Custom Search Tool. Continue Reading →

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A Website Realignment: Day 0

Here is the beginning of what I hope to be a great series of posts. This series will chronicle—in as much detail as I can provide without driving myself or you crazy—the process of reinventing my brand and transforming this website in form and function.

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Three Thesis Sites in One Week

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It has been a busy publishing week for me. I have had 3 websites go “live” this week that are based on WordPress and Thesis. Two of these website involved comprehensive design and the other involved functionality customizations. The point of this post is to share some recent work to show that all Thesis sites do not look totally the same. The best part is that I learned many new things about WordPress and Thesis in the process—some of which I will share soon.

Coming up next after this post will be a serious undertaking that I will chronicle on this website—the redesign of berchman.com on WordPress and Thesis. I will post the whole process from start to finish as a complete “under-the-hood” look at how it all gets done. So stay tuned. The posts on the redesign of berchman.com will start next week. Continue Reading →

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Why Thesis is like the chocolate in a Peanut M&M

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I was having a discussion yesterday about the specifics of what I do for a living. I typically give very generic answers as I think most people don’t really care they are just trying to create polite conversation. However this time the person I was speaking with was genuinely curious and was digging deeper with more questions.

Explaining the intricate details of web design and web development to the laymen can be an interesting exercise. Anytime I try to explain something I know intimately, I have the best success using metaphors. Continue Reading →

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WordPress/Thesis Tutorial: Custom ‘Coming Soon’ Page

WordPress-Thesis Image

One of my frustrations when developing WordPress websites (separate from Thesis) is trying to have a “coming soon/under construction/under development” page so that the public gets the message that things are coming while I and the client can work away in the background. Why would you need this? Well in most cases you have a domain name purchased and parked somewhere. Many times you get a lovely, unsightly, generic ‘coming soon’ page that looks very unprofessional.

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Thesis Tutorial: Sidebars However You Like Them

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One of the things I learned from creating multiple custom page templates within the Thesis framework was how to create and modify sidebars. WordPress and Thesis provide you with a simple an effective way for implementing sidebars on your website with the use of simple syntax, options, and widgets. Continue Reading →

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