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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started to focus on Berchman.com I realized that my former “company” website, HamiltonBerchman Design Group, Inc., was no longer maintained, correct, or relevant.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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New Web Site Published

Today was a big day of sorts. I completed design and development work on new website. It is a custom designed website in form and function. It’s a significantly modified version of Thesis [ #thesiswp ] running on the latest install of WordPress (presently 2.9.1).

The site is http://www.ckwrites.com

I learned a great deal more about Thesis and what’s possible. New tools and techniques that I plan to share with the #thesiswp community in the coming months. I already have at least 4 new tutorials coming; from the simple to the complex.

I’m very happy with the results of my work with Christopher Korody, a.k.a. ‘ck’ of http://www.ckwrites.com. I’m sure he would agree that it was a tough slog but well worth the results. In fact you could just ask him.

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A Website Realignment: Day 105: Content and Its Function

This next phase of the overall Re-Alignment of Berchman.com as I stated in my first post for this project is to “define purpose, guiding principles, and desired outcomes” with this website. Continue Reading →

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How Long Does Making My WordPress Website Take?

I hear this question quite often from clients and thought I would answer it as best I could. If you are in the market to hire someone to build your website, or if you are a designer/developer perhaps this explanation will help.

I’ve decided to use the power of video to convey my answer. I find this format to be more efficient in terms of getting my point across. I have more improvements to come for my future use of video. So, if you can be patient, the quality of videos will improve in the future with the coming rollout of the ‘realigned‘ berchman.com.

http://vimeo.com/7355539
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Thesis 1.6 Out of Beta

DIYThemes has unleashed the final version of Thesis 1.6. While the beta has been out for weeks I never downloaded it from a combination of busyness and being prudent. How many times have you been burned for being an early adopter? For me too many, so in the words of Yoda, “Patient you must be.” Continue Reading →

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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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Thesis Tutorial: Custom “After the Post” Box

Something I have at the end of my all my posts is a box letting people know that I am a WordPress expert, Thesis certified designer, and that I can work with you! This shows up on each and every post. I have this setup in Thesis’ custom_functions.php. I thought I would share how I did this and explain some other options that you might consider if you want to use it.

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