Feedback on the WordPress Twenty Sixteen Theme

Last week, WordPress released WordPress 4.4 “Clifford” along with a brand new Twenty Sixteen theme. I am currently hosting my blog on WordPress.com now and thought I’d give the new theme a try. It’s a great theme for me but its not without a few issues. Check out some notes I wrote on my blog running the new Twenty Sixteen theme with Microsoft Edge:

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In case my handwriting is too sloppy, here is the tl;dr version:

  • Why is there a black frame around the entire site in my browser? This looks really weird to me. I want to turn this off.
  • How come the site header title text uses such small text? I want to be able to easily change this.
  • And why is there so much spacing on the top and bottom of the site header title text?
  • On the sidebar, why is there so much space at the end of every widget?

The problem I am seeing is that by being on WordPress.com, I have my hands sort of tied a bit in exactly how much theme customization I can do. Or at least, the ease in which a theme can be customized. I’d like to tweak the Twenty Sixteen theme to address some of the issues I’ve noted above. I’m looking into that right now. If there is anyone out there who contributed to the Twenty Sixteen theme for WordPress – I’d love to speak with you!

Testing out the OneNote Publisher for WordPress plug-in

Today, the Office Team has announced the OneNote Publisher for WordPress plug-in. You just download and install the plug-in on your WordPress blog and you can start using OneNote to write blog posts.

NOTE: When setting up the plug-in on your WordPress blog – make sure you follow the instructions especially the part about configuring the plug-in to work. At first, I neglected to do this and just assumed it’ll work by simply installing the plug-in and turning it on but no, there is additional configuration needed. 

How it works: You write whatever blog post you want to publish on your WordPress blog as a page in one of your OneNote notebooks. I’ve created a new notebook specifically for blog posts. After you’re done writing up your blog post, just go into your WordPress Dashboard and start a new post. Then click the OneNote icon in the menu.

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It will fill the post title with the page title from OneNote and add whatever you have written in that page from OneNote into the body of the post. It works pretty good. If you’ve added images into the page in OneNote, it’ll even add those images!

I wrote this blog post using the universal OneNote Preview app on Windows 10 (Build 10122 we released yesterday). I did find some issues using this with Microsoft Edge and flagged for the Microsoft Edge Team to look at. I also found some weird formatting issues with my theme but I think its just because I hacked up this theme too much.

Try the OneNote Publisher for WordPress plug-in on your blog!

WordPress is buggy while hosted on Windows Azure

UPDATE 1/1/2014: It has been four months since I wrote this blog post and I can say the majority (if not all) of the issues I was having with WordPress hosted on Windows Azure have been completely resolved. I am very impressed with WordPress on Azure and would recommend it as a solution for anyone looking to host their own WordPress blog.

I’m long overdo for writing a blog post about how I moved my blog to being hosted on Windows Azure. So there you have it – my blog is powered by WordPress AND hosted on Windows Azure. Cool, huh? Yeah I think it is.

Well sorta.

I am having all kinds of issues with WordPress running on Windows Azure. For starters, updating plugins automatically through the WordPress Dashboard will break my blog making it completely inaccessible – even the Dashboard. To resolve the issue, I have to FTP into the site and delete the plugin manually that I just attempted to update. In the case of today, I attempted to update the Jetpack plugin from WordPress. Once I did this, my blog starting handing out “HTTP 500 Internal Server” errors like candy.

Other issues range from when deleting comments, database errors occur to rendering issues in the Dashboard and issues composing blog posts (for example under “Visual”, I cannot add hyperlinks – I need to go to the “Text” tab).

I have no idea how to resolve these issues so if anyone out there has any tips or tricks for Windows Azure hosted WordPress blogs – I’m listening.

Dusting things off

I spent the evening tonight dusting off my blog here. It’s gotten very little attention lately – something I am hoping to change!

I updated my theme a bit. The theme is a work-in-progress. I actually built it from scratch learning from code examples and other themes on how to construct a basic theme. Going forward, you can expect the theme to grow as I continue to learn to make it better. Although, it’s about the content not how the site looks, right? I am hoping to eventually do some things with HTML5. Keep in mind, I designed the site with IE9 in mind but I’ve tested it out with the latest Chrome release and have seen no issues there. I play to add pinning and Jump List support for my site with IE9 in the very near future.

Another thing I did this evening was I added Disqus to the site for managing comments. You can now sign-in with a variety of services to leave a comment. I see this as an interesting experiment although I know a lot of folks using Disqus are quite happy with the service.

More to come!

Considered Posterous, but sticking to WordPress

I updated my blog to WordPress 3.0 RTM over the weekend. Time to give this place a little more attention. I debated moving away from WordPress all together and going to someplace like Posterous which is a little more automated. However everyone I know who considers themselves a serious blogger continues to use WordPress for their blogs. Many do, however, have Posterous accounts they treat as “secondary” to their blogs where they post images and other social updates to. I have done the same here – you can go to here to check out my Posterous account which I have configured on a subdomain. It is curious to me to see so many people using a service like Posterous as a secondary service to their main blogs. I’ve yet to see a good integration of both into a single site. If you’ve seen a site that integrates the two, let me know as I would like to see what that looks like.

When I was investigating using Posterous for my blog, Posterous’s CEO Sachin Agarwal had tweeted about taking in bug feedback. I jokingly replied to him that I thought not supporting Windows Live Writer was a bug (although I was being serious in that they should support Writer). His response to me on what I considered some valid and honest feedback was that he considers using Windows “a bug”. That kind of put me off a bit. Granted, I’m a bit biased. I know Sachin worked at Apple, supports their products 100% (just like I do with Microsoft), and is “inspired” by Apple and has never owned a PC according to his Twitter profile. But seriously… what kind of response was that? So Posterous is going to ignore the huge customer base that uses Windows today (it looks like Posterous doesn’t support IE8 either)? On Windows – Windows Live Writer is simply the best blogging tool available. It would be a huge benefit to Posterous to support it in my opinion and create additional value to people looking to move to Posterous. Perhaps he misunderstood my initial reply as being a bit snarky and if that’s the case – I do apologize. But if Sachin considers using Windows a bug – I take that as a heavy sign Posterous will likely not be doing anything special like supporting Windows Live Writer for Posterous – at least officially. Scott Lovegrove has made a plugin for Windows Live Writer that enables using Writer to post to Posterous blogs. Scott’s plugin works well. But I was looking for official support. It looks like Posterous is also focused on competing with the likes of Twitpic anyway. I wish them luck.

So in short – I’m sticking to WordPress as the blog platform of choice for my personal blog.

Trying out WordPress 3.0 Beta 1

Just installed WordPress 3.0 Beta 1 this evening. WordPress 3.0 Beta 1 was announced last week. Usually its unwise to use beta software to power your blog but I figured I’d live a little dangerously.

In WordPress 3.0, they are introducing a brand new default theme called “Twenty Ten” which offers several customization features. I’m trying the new theme out right now. So far I really like it. I’m going to test out the theme’s new customization features over the weekend. I think investing less time in trying to develop my own theme from scratch and perhaps doing some actual blogging might be beneficial.