First Alpha of Arras 3 Released

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!

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.

4 Comments

  1. any demo site ?

    • No demo site. This isn’t meant for a live server, even a demo, yet. Testing installations only.

  2. junky

    Casper, I would like to add shortcode or templates for the theme. Things that I’ve seen as useful and I want to share

    • Junky, thanks very much for your offer to contribute. Shortcodes are no longer allowed in themes that are applying to be listed in the theme repository on WordPress.org — which is where I’d like to have Arras end up. Don’t let that stop you from sharing your ideas, though.

      Please fork arras on GitHub add your proposed code and make a pull request. I’ll review it and let you know.

      If we can’t include it in Arras itself, we may turn it into an “Arras recommends” plugin.

      Cheers!

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