Category: In Development

Release Schedule and Roadmap

 20
Open Road

Version 3 brought a responsive grid and the WordPress customizer to Arras.

But there is still a huge amount to be done.

Releases

Today I pushed out Maintenance Release 3.0.3 fixing a few bugs that surfaced pretty much immediately after Arras 3 went live. (Face palm!) I anticipate that there will be a few more waiting to be discovered, and some functions within the customizer do not work as well or as intuitively as I’d like.

Therefore, I anticipate that moving forward I’ll be pushing out more frequent maintenance releases in the next phase of Arras’s development. I understand that for a few Arras users who have done major customization having to re-apply those with every release may be a bit of a hassle. I’ll try to be specific as to what get fixed with each maintenance release so you can decide whether the latest update is worth the trouble. And in the event of a fix for a security issue, I’ll make sure it’s clear that the update is more critical.

I also anticipate that I’ll be issuing minor releases of the theme following WordPress core updates, which happens about 3 times a year. These minor releases will contain all the maintenance releases, any modifications that become necessary as WordPress itself continues to evolve and new features as they are developed.

Occasionally something may come up, or a new feature may be added, that will merit the term major release. But for now, I can’t really think what that would be.

Roadmap

Here are some things I’m working on:

  • Getting the customizer stuff fixed. This may involve breaking out custom post-types handling into its own plug-in. Custom post types is often more of a functionality issue, and better suited to be handled in that way. We’ll see.
  • Streamlining the stylesheets. There was a lot of fallout from adding the responsive grid for mobile. It’s still not as efficient as it could be.
  • Adding SASS. If you’re not a developer, you probably don’t care, but this will make style customization a lot easier.
  • Rebuilding the main templates to take advantage of WordPress’s template parts functionality. This should add a lot of flexibility to the way Arras handles it’s “tapestries” and allows for easier development of new tapestries to be added down the line.
  • Making social media integration more flexible.
  • Adding the ability to create as many featured posts sections as you like and to put them in places other than just the home page.

Some things I need volunteers to help with:

  • Languages. There is a translation file, arras.pot, included in the /languages/ folder. You can use that file with the free Poedit app to create the actual translation files that make Arras work with the WordPress’s built-in internationalization abilities. If you make a translation file, I’d love it (and your compatriots would too!) if you could send it along to be included in future releases.

You may have other ideas. The best place to chime in with them is on Github. Just open an issue. And definitely report any bugs.

That’s it for now.

Cheers!
Caspar

(Photo credit: mlhradio)

Arras 3.0 Beta Is Up

 13
Arras 3

All features are in for this release cycle.

Testers Welcome!

Please Note: Though this looks much like Arras 1.x versions, and shares a lot of its code DNA with Arras 1.x versions, it is not backwards compatible with Arras 1.x in many respects.

Arras 3.0 will import many, but not all, settings from Arras 1.x versions previously installed, so if you’re upgrading from Arras 1.x expect there to be some issues in translation that will need worked out.

What’s New?

Arras 3.0 features two major changes over 1.x versions:

Responsive Layout

Responsive layout has meant major changes to the theme’s CSS. If you’ve made lots of CSS customizations in 1.x, they’re probably going to break in 3.0.

The grid now controls column widths and image sizing rather than having options for specific thumbnail sizes.

Options In the Customizer

This is a major shift in the way handles options and settings. In the long run, though, it has the advantage that child themes will be able to edit settings and add their own settings much more easily than was possible using the older WPSettings API.

Beta Means “Test”

This probably goes without saying, but while I think I’ve got it all together, there probably are some bugs in it that will need attention. So, while it’s probably OK to use this for your kicking-around blog, it’s not ready for big-time sites yet.

If you take it for a test drive and find anything that needs fixed, please open an issue on the Development repository at Github. (It’s really not hard to do, I promise!)

And here’s the link to Download the Arras 3.0 Beta.

Arras 3 Alpha 2 Released

 13
wrench

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

First Alpha of Arras 3 Released

 4
Arras 3

And, yes, it’s really raw.

But if you want to try it out, you can download the first alpha version from GutHub and give it a whirl.

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

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

Here’s what’s changed from Version 1.6.2

  • Implement WP title-tag support, remove arras_title()
  • Remove arras_setup() and relocate various sub-functions:
    • Theme support declarations into new arras_theme_support()
    • Move menu functions into new arras_menu()
    • Move wp_head() actions to new arras_scripts() and arras_styles()
    • Fix incorrect sidebar registration loading sidebars without an id
  • Fix deprecated use of caller_get_posts() in sidebar.php
  • Remove user.css
  • Remove yarpp template
  • Remove pagetpl-redirect template
  • Rename pagetpl-single.php to no-sidebar-page.php
  • Rename pagetpl-archive.php to archive-page.php
  • Remove superfish.js menu, implement CSS3-driven menu
  • Remove smoothness.js from admin
  • Remove tabbed sidebar widget
  • Remove tag cloud widget
  • Add skip-links and styles for Accessibility
  • Add Mobile Friendly capacity:
    • Add Responsive Grid CSS
    • Update all templates for use with Responsive Grid
    • Update tapestry functions for use with Responsive Grid
    • Update homepage slideshow for Responsive Grid
    • Add mobile swipe gestures on slideshow
    • Restructure thumbnail (featured image) support to use native WP sizes plus wide-screen size and small-square size
    • Add mobile main nav CSS for small screens ( < 768px wide )
    • Update dynamic footer widget sizing functions
  • Update Options Page Tabs:
    • Refactor for Responsive layout changes
    • Remove “Thumbnails” Tab, move “Auto Thumbs” option to “Layout” Tab.
    • Move Layout selection from “Design” to “Layout” Tab
    • Update Header Background Color option to use WP colorpicker
    • Fix backgrounds not appearing on multi-select dropdowns
  • Update arras_styles() to load child theme stylesheet automatically
  • Merge default.css into base.css and lint:
    • Remove duplicate style definitions (still in progress)
    • Remove px-based font-sizes, implement rem-based sizes
    • Remove all instances of !important
    • Remove use of ids as selectors
  • Update Theme Tags

Major Changes

Thumbnails. In a responsive universe, setting thumbnail sizes in specific pixel dimensions no longer makes much sense. Everything resizes dynamically. So there are no more thumbnail options. Arras 3 will use the native WordPress thumbnail sizes, the original image size, and one theme-specific thumbnail with a 16:9 ratio (same as your wide-screen TV). I’m contemplating the addition of a second theme-specific thumbnail size with a ratio for portrait dimensions. We’ll see. Meanwhile, if images look odd, you might try the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin to resize pre-existing images.

Color Schemes. Don’t work yet. You can still pick a color scheme from the “Design” tab in the options menu, and it will be saved in the database, but for now, the Alpha will ignore it. By Alpha-02 I hope the css for the color schemes will be ready.

Layout and Sidebars. The expected behavior is as follows:

  • The Secondary Sidebar Widget area will appear only on 3-column layouts.
  • Neither sidebar will appear on single-column layouts.
  • Below-content widget areas appear only on the home page.

Widgets. The Tabbed Sidebar widget and the Tag Cloud widget are gone. There are better plug-ins for these, and I think Arras users should be able to choose among those. I’ve kept the Featured Articles and Custom Search widgets. For now.

User CSS. Is gone. If you want to add your own styles, you need to create a child theme or use a plugin. Arras 3 will load the child theme style.css automatically.

And Here’s a Provisional Roadmap

Alpha-02

  • Complete removal of duplicate styles from base.css
  • Refactor color scheme CSS and re-enable use of color-scheme selection
  • Triage reported bugs from Alpha-01

Alpha-03

  • Refactor options to conform to WordPress.org’s requirement of storing settings in a single array
  • Review and refactor options security and validation
  • Triage reported bugs from Alpha-02

Alpha-04

  • Move options from Theme Options page to Customizer
  • Triage reported bugs from all Alphas

Beta-01

  • Second security review
  • Implement bug fixes from Alphas
  • Implement “easy” suggested features from Alphas

Beta-02

  • Third security review
  • Implement all bug fixes from Beta-01
  • Punt remaining suggested features to 3.1

Beta-03 (if necessary)

  • Final bug fixes before release

3.0

If You’re Testing…

Please, please, please if you find a bug or an issue, open an issue on GitHub. It’ll be much easier for me to track everything that’s bound to come up if it’s all reported in one place.

I know a lot of people are anxious to have the new version. And we’re getting there. Really. But, did I mention, Please don’t install this Alpha version on your live site! This is for testing only!

Arras 3 Progress Report

 2
gears

First, thanks to everyone who has checked in with encouragement for the Arras 3 project. It’s your continued interest that’s moving this Arras project along.

Back in January, I had high New Year’s hopes of having a completely revamped Arras nearly up and running by now. With the first release candidate for WordPress 4.2 dropping on Wednesday, and the final release of WP4.2 scheduled for April 20, I figured it’s time to give you all a progress report.

At this point, I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll have a beta version of Arras 3 ready for public testing by the end of May.

Meanwhile, I’ve tested Arras 1.6.2 with the WordPress 4.2 release candidate, and it appears that nothing breaks. (I had feared that upcoming changes in the WordPress permalink structure for custom post taxonomies might cause issues, but things seem to be holding together.)

As things stand, the major change from Arras 1.x will be adding responsive capability. I’ve put most of the other stuff on hold until that big issue gets sorted out.