Custom menu management in WP 3.0

WordPress version 3.0 was out two days ago, and it’s looking very good. Feature rich this version, but feels much lighter, faster. It’s love at first sight with the new default theme Twenty Ten. I haven’t tested all things new with 3.0, but so far what I like the most is the new menu management system which is highly customizable.

If you haven’t tested (or tasted) the menu management system already, you can find it under ‘Appearance’ -> ‘Menus’. From there, it’s very intuitive, just create your menu select the pages or categories or custom links into the menu, rearrange the items in any order you want to. You can even make an item ‘sub-item’ to the item above by dragging it to the left. You can define your own ‘Navigation Label’ (the link text) and ‘Title Attribute’ (the tool-tip text that appears when you hover over the link). The possibilities are endless. I mean, this is awesome!!!

Here’s an example, the horizontal menu just below the header of this website (click on the image for a larger version).

WP 3.0 Custom Menu screenshot

And the output appears like this.

Horizontal Menu screenshot

If you look closely at the first screenshot you will find that in addition to the ‘Horizontal Menu’, I have defined two more menus ‘WordPress Themes’ and ‘WordPress Plugins’. I use these menus in the sidebar. Yes, you can use the custom menus in the sidebar too! Just create additional menus, add the ‘Custom Menu’ widget to the sidebar and choose your additional menu. Some users of the Flexi Pages Widget will find this interesting.

Custom Menu Sidebar Widget screenshot

My themes will work in WP 3.0 without any problem, though I’m yet to make the themes’ header menus compatible with the new custom menu system. Updates coming soon. The latest versions of my plugins too will work fine with the new WP version. As far as I have tested, there haven’t been a problem, please do let me know if you encounter any.

Happy Pressing. 🙂

Using theme inheritance to customize your theme

If you want to add your own customizations to a readymade WordPress theme downloaded from here or elsewhere, the most obvious way to do it is to directly edit the template files and style.css of the theme. But this method can lead to complications when the theme author updates the theme to a newer version. If you directly overwrite the files from the newer version, you will lose all your customizations. So, you will have to check every file of the new version for changes, and apply those changes to your customized files. This can be a demanding process especially if you are using a theme that’s updated frequently. Alternatively you may choose to skip the upgrade process, in which case you may miss out on important security updates.

This is where theme inheritance is such a versatile method to add your own customizations to a theme. Creating a child theme is as simple as creating a folder and putting a style.css file into it with a just a few lines of code. With theme inheritance, you don’t have to miss out on updates to the parent theme, and your customizations will never be overwritten.

For example, if you want to customize the F2 theme, here is how to do it. Continue reading Using theme inheritance to customize your theme