Introducing WPShout V4.0

I’m absolutely delighted to announce today the launch of the brand new look WPShout V4. As I announced a fortnight ago, WPShout is coming back to its regular schedule and I’ve got some really awesome stuff lined up for the next couple of weeks, including a new eBook, screencasts and some in depth tutorials.

The first of the awesome stuff is this brand new makeover for WPShout (hop out of your RSS reader). The site is now much cleaner, much bigger, much more responsive (with six different sizes) and just a much nicer place to be writing at and reading at.

Walking through the new design

We’ll start off with the homepage — as good a place as any to start. The main feature on the homepage is the massive slider at the top of the screen (right now it’s having some slight issues with any sizes other than the largest, but I’m working on it, don’t fret!).

One of my main goals with the new design was to make the site just generally lower maintenance, which means no more using clusmy custom fields to set post images; instead I’ve got a simple if statement on the the homepage which detects if the <!– more –> tag is set and if so, it displays that — otherwise, on old posts especially, the_excerpt displays as a fallback.

<?php if(strpos(get_the_content(),'#more-')) {
the_content(''); ?>
<span class="custom_read_more"><a class="button medium" href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>">Carry on reading ? </a></span>
} else {
the_excerpt ?>

Getting responsive

If we then head on to a post, it’s worth resizing your browser to see the responsive layout in action. Here I’ve just used CSS media queries to set six different breakpoints in the theme. I’ve just added these media queries to the end of my stylesheet; to move from the largest size to the second largest, the following CSS is used, for example:

@media only screen and (min-width: 1100px) and (max-width: 1299px){

.container{ width:1100px; }
#main{ width:740px; }
.entry-body{ width: 700px; }
.entry-meta{ display:none; }

As the browser size gets smaller, the code becomes slightly more complex, but the principle is the same.

Images in posts also resize automagically as the browser size changes. Here I’m using an awesome little script called Adaptive Images. All I have to do is upload an image as normal and it will generate smaller sizes on the fly. This even works for images I’ve already uploaded, too, and no mark-up changes are required so if I ever want to get rid of it, it’s not a problem. It’s really easy to install, too.

Easier archives

A complaint I often had with the old design was that the archives were essentially useless. I’ve tried to address this in Shout V4.0 with a very simple new archive tab. This is pretty much the simplest archive I could possible create; it just lists every single post I’ve ever written on the site. It makes it super easy to go back through WPShout history and find bits of content from the past.

CSS3: no images!

You’ll also notice in the screenshot above there are some nice social media icons. Minor confession here: these are done just using CSS3. I pretty much copied them from Nicolas Gallagher’s post; they worked more or less as is so I struggled to find a way to improve them!

Screencasts: coming soon

You might also notice in the navigation there’s a tab for Screencasts, but clicking on this takes you to a disappointing “coming soon!” page. These are, um, coming soon! I’ve got a custom post type set up for these with some really awesome custom meta boxes, which you can see above, but I’ll run through how I made those in a post here soon.

And finally

Just a couple of people left to thank! First off, the guys at Sucuri, who’ve done a fantastic job clearing up the site after it got a fairly hefty malware infection. Also to the lovely people at WPZOOM; I’m working at their support forums now and the comments section on Shout V4.0 is heavily based on the excellent work in the WPZOOM Framework. Finally, to Syed at WPBeginner for his continued support of WPShout. Thank you!

I’d really love to hear what you think of the new design! Really! Honest! If you’ve got any thoughts or you’ve found something not working, then please let me know and leave a comment below.