Tag: Arras 3

The End — Mostly.



I’m ending active development of Arras. You can still download it, and I might occasionally update it, but no promises.

As of Today, April 21, 2016

There are 4 versions of Arras I know of which are of any interest (with links where you can get them):

  1. The last 1.x version by Arras’s original developer, Melvin Lee: Version 1.5.3-RC1. This version was last updated on August 12, 2012. This date corresponds to WordPress version 3.4.1. The original theme’s website is arrastheme.com.

  2. The last 2.0 version, also by Melvin Lee: Version 2.0.1-beta-dev. This version was last updated on May 21, 2013. This corresponds to WordPress version 3.5.1.

  3. The last 1.x version done by me: Version 1.6.2. This version was released on January 18, 2015. This corresponds to WordPress version 4.1.

  4. The last 3.0 version, again my work: Version 3.0.3. This version was released on October 15, 2015. This corresponds to WordPress version 4.3.1.

What Gives?

Each of these versions has some significant limitations and quirks. I’ve said before that Arras is kind of like your uncle’s vintage Ford Mustang out in the garage. It’s old and it’s still prone to break in new ways every time you take it out on the road. But it’s fun to tinker with on weekends.

For a while I was doing Arras updates more regularly because I had a client who used the theme and was somewhat dependent on my keeping it alive. After a significant shift and re-branding, that client moved to a completely different theme. So now, Arras truly is a catch-as-catch-can project for me.

I realize that for most people looking for a reliable WordPress theme with active development and support this kind of sporadic, weekend coding isn’t a viable solution. Nor is it honest or helpful to pretend any longer that it is.

So this is formal notice that Arras is no longer in active development, and that support (at least from me) will be extremely limited.

I’ll probably continue to tinker with it on weekends. Occasionally I may push out an update. But no promises.

Where it goes from here…

I also realize that Arras has (or at least had) a lot of fans, some of whom may be still be nostalgic for it. Arras, in its heyday, had a large and active community of contributors.

When Melvin Lee discontinued his development of the theme, he offered that anyone who wanted to was welcome to take up the project and run with it. That was the spirit in which I took it on. And so I’d make the same offer to anyone else: If you want to pick up the torch, please let me know. You’re welcome to it!

Photo credit: Arijit Roy

Arras 3.0.1

Arras 3

I won’t bore you with all the details about how over the summer I had to put Arras (and a lot of other things) on the back burner for a while.

Thanks to JB (bicycling across Africa somewhere, I think) who provided a lot of feedback on the Betas while I was out of commission. And to everyone else who commented and waited patiently.

Arras is a little like your uncle’s vintage Ford Mustang. You hang onto it because it’s a piece of nostalgia, even though it’s dated and not as efficient as just getting a new car. But at least now it’s responsive so it won’t suffer from mobilegeddon.

As such, Arras 3 still shares most of it’s code base with Arras 1.x, but it’s not the same theme. It will try to pull whatever settings from Arras 1.x it can into the new arrangement, but you still may (probably will) have to adjust a few things yourself.

Also, note that as an old theme (ancient in terms of WordPress development and internet time), there is some code that is old enough that Arras 1.x will break completely (I’m talking Fatal error, white screen of death) on servers running php 7 (soon to be released). With this release of Arras 3, I’m leaving Arras 1.x behind.

A few things to keep in mind…

  1. Language files for the Arras 1.x won’t work on Arras 3. I’ve provided a new .pot file in the /languages folder for anyone who cares to load it into poedit and render a translation. If you make a translation, please help other Arras users by submitting a pull request with your translation. I’ll make sure to add them to future releases.

  2. Child Themes based on Arras 1.x will probably break in Arras 3. With the introduction of a responsive grid, a lot of the styles have changed.

  3. Customizer work is ongoing. Custom post types and taxonomies on the home page works, but sometimes requires reloading the customizer page to update the available selections. Again, with any luck this should get smoother with future releases.

Download Arras 3.0.1


Arras 3 Alpha 2 Released


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.


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


  • 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


  • 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


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


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


  • 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


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


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.