Arras 3 Alpha 2 Released

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Again, please do not use this on production sites, or anywhere you don’t want to risk breaking things!

Here’s where to download it for testing! Please note that since this is for testing only, you use this at your own risk. There is no support for this release on live servers!

That said, at this point, I’d be grateful to any and all who want to participate in the testing of the new version.

This Alpha 2 Test Version is all about the colors. Testers, here’s what to look for:

  • Color schemes have been updated, and color scheme options have been moved from the Arras Options admin page into the “Colors” section of the Customizer (Apprearance > Customize > Colors).
  • Please be on the lookout for spots where the colors aren’t applied or inconsistent.
  • You can now add/modify/delete color schemes from within a child theme using the new ‘arras_color_schemes’ hook. (No more registering a “style directory” and then messing about with custom CSS!) See the comments and format of the array to filter in library/styles.php

Please, if you notice anything that needs corrected, find a bug, or have an idea open an issue on GitHub.

Many thanks to all you testers!

Roadmap Update

The WordPress.org Theme Review Team ruled last month that to qualify for inclusion in the “official” theme repository themes must move all their options into the Customizer interface. While this was on the roadmap for Arras 3 anyway, I’ve moved this up as a priority issue which I’ll be implementing in the next release.

The next release should also be the long-awaited first beta, and I’m hopeful still (but without making any guarantees) of that happening by the end of May.

Cheers!
-Caspar

About the Author:

Caspar Green Caspar Green has been doing web stuff stuff since before Y2K. He is now a software developer with AwesomeMotive, Inc., but still does a few projects on the side as time allows.

13 Comments

  1. Thanks for the update! I’m looking forward to seeing the customizer integration.

  2. jb

    Hi Caspar,

    I’m currently under Arras 1.5.2 and plan to move to 3.x.

    If I’m trying the alpha/beta theme in a test environment, is there a way to proceed so that it picks the current theme settings? i.e. settings in 1) all 6 tabs of the Arras options menu, 2) the theme customization menu, 3) my user.css

    • The Alpha 2 version should use the same settings from the settings page of a 1.x version if you’ve installed it as a replacement of 1.x. It should also use the same header and background settings from the theme customization menu (Appearance > Customize > Header > Background Image and Appearance > Customize > Colors > Background).

      Unfortunately, user.css is a different matter. The best way to try incorporating that css is to copy it into the style.css of a child theme. However, the implementation of the responsive grid in 3.0 has caused the page structure and classes to change significantly in ways that will not be backwards compatible with 1.x versions, so your mileage using old custom css will vary.

      Also, Arras 3 corrects an error in the way Arras 1.x was registering sidebars, so you may find that all your widgets have been disabled after installing Arras 3. In this case you should find the missing widgets at the bottom of the widgets page in your dashboard where you can drag them back into the appropriate sidebars.

      • jb

        Thanks.

        That’s OK for the user.css. Due to the big gap between the 2 versions, it’s normal to have to test customizations one by one.

        Also, when you write “installed it as a replacement”, what do you mean exactly? If I upload the github files into a neighboring folder, say /wp-content/themes/arras3/ , and switch my theme from arras 1.x to arras 3, arras 3 will try to fetch the former theme options from the SQL table? Or does the theme folder name need to remain /arras/ ? Does it also mean that if arras 1.x and arras 3 are installed in different folders, they will always share the same customization settings?

        • “Installed as a replacement” means just that Arras 3 Alpha2 should be able to read and use Arras 1.x options if it finds any. As of Alpha 2 If you have both versions installed side by side, both themes will (I hope) share the same settings. (Curiously, Arras 1.x stores options in two separate places within the WordPress Options table.) — except for the sidebar reset, which the two versions won’t share.

          With the forthcoming release of Beta 1, the settings in Arras 3 will all be moved into the Customizer, and this will result in a major change in the way Arras handles theme settings. It will also result in Arras 3 using a completely different set of options in the WordPress options table. I do plan to have Arras 3 read in as many options as possible if it finds Arras 1.x options present in the database when it first loads, but it will then create and save it’s own options from what it can find from the old version.

          Hope that makes sense. 🙂

          • jb

            Thanks, it does make sense.

            I’ll wait 1-2 weeks until your first beta, and wish you all the best.

            Thanks again for your work.

            jb

  3. Request ##

    Featured Posts function !!

    can you please add function for Featured Posts

    Current
    Slideshow
    Featured Posts #1
    Featured Posts #2
    News Posts

    Request
    Slideshow
    Featured Posts #1
    Featured Posts #2
    Featured Posts #3
    Featured Posts #4
    Featured Posts #5
    Featured Posts #6
    News Posts

    i hope u understand what i mean

    • I wonder what would be the use case for having so many featured posts sections? (Or, to put it from a design perspective, how much value does featured posts #6 add to your homepage?) How many would be enough?

      There may be a better way to accomplish what you’re looking for here, or you may need to rethink your UX strategy. In any case, adding that kind of complexity probably calls for a custom theme rather than a generic template.

      • Actually, this has been an issue for me too. I don’t disagree with the questionable impact of so many featured posts, but as I have found working with one particular site, the original client pm insisted and we were unable to convince them otherwise. For now, I am stuck with it, so when updates to the theme occur, I have to go back into the core code and carefully add code to mimic/add sequentially to the featured posts. The last, most recent time was a nightmare; the adjusted php wasn’t updating on the server so I didn’t know whether I had done something incorrectly or not, and then a day later, suddenly everything worked. Also, I’ve had to add custom post types and taxonomies because the theme doesn’t allow for pages to be part of the featured posts (yeah yeah, I know…but a page isn’t a post, etc.). This is another flexibility issue for clients that just don’t understand and don’t care no matter how clearly you explain.

        With additional built-in featured posts, the content developer would have the option of creating different focus points that can be reprioritized from time to time and the developer (me) wouldn’t have to go digging into the PHP to customize the site each time a new theme update comes around. I realize that for the most part, the Arras theme did not change for some time, but now, with continuously changing requirements from Google, et al., who knows what kind of update schedule we’ll all be up against.

        • So, what I’m hearing is you need (1) more featured post sections AND (2) the ability to display pages in a featured section as if they were ordinary posts.

          As for having to re-code your changes whenever the theme (goes for any theme) gets updated, I’d highly encourage you to make your changes in a child theme so they don’t get overwritten.

          So if, to use your example, you wanted to insert custom content (of whatever sort) between the “Featured #2” and “News” sections of the homepage, you could write a function into a child theme’s functions.php file and hook it to ‘arras_above_index_news_post’. Then whatever the output of that function might be, it’ll always appear in that spot and you no longer have to worry about it getting wiped when Arras gets updated (because a theme update won’t overwrite the functions.php of the child theme).

      • for me enough featured posts #6

  4. Yes, that is correct. It is my humble request of course for the additional featured post selections, and that is so the user will always see that option in the Arras theme options in the dashboard.

    I will go back over my notes to find the specific changes I made. I believe I understand what you mean about the child functions.php, but I was afraid there might be an error between the visible site functions output and the internal dashboard additions via what I think I remember being the admin.php functions and I felt completely in over my head at the time and had what turned into a very limited schedule to make the update.

    I wasn’t sure if the child theme would support that (adding an additional admin.php file to the child theme), but that’s probably just my lack of knowledge. In any case, the current site is using a child theme, but really only makes use of the custom CSS, and only minor changes to the functions.php. The only thing I did add to the child functions.php was the following:

    /**

    add_filter(‘upload_mimes’, ‘custom_upload_mimes’);
    function custom_upload_mimes ( $existing_mimes=array() ) {
    // add your extension to the array
    $existing_mimes[‘vcf’] = ‘text/x-vcard’;
    return $existing_mimes;
    }

    add_action(‘arras_beside_nav’, ‘arras_add_searchbar’, 1000);

    **/

    …to allow the upload of v-cards to WordPress and Ye Olde “Why can’t I select where I want to place the searchbar in Arras?” thing.

    Feel free to send me an email and I will be happy to send you a link to the site I am referencing (I have not updated my own site as of yet, but that’s on the priority list of course). Thanks so much!

  5. I forgot to mention that my workaround for the posts versus pages is to use the GD CPT Tools plugin which allows me to create additional taxonomies and post/page types in order to bypass the original Arras Theme limitation.

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