Upcoming Demo: How Parade.com uses the WordPress Theme Customizer

Have you been curious about the WordPress Theme Customizer?

It’s used by many theme designers to allow users to quickly preview and customize themes from the admin interface, but many VIPs are using it as a way to give editors and content owners more control of the site’s appearance without having to delve into the code. The Theme Customizer can allow them to preview and publish significant personalizations or changes to a site’s home page (or other page) with just a few clicks, allowing for the editorial team to react quickly to the latest news stories.

Parade.com's Demo of the Theme Customizer

The WordPress.com VIP team is featuring a deeper look at the Theme Customizer with the help of the Parade.com team.

During the free 30-minute demo, we’ll take a deeper look at the Theme Customization API and why it’s interesting, how it works from a technical standpoint, and we’ll see some examples from Parade of what it can do, as well as how these customizations were enabled at the code level. The demo will be led by Parade.com’s Senior Developer, Taylor Buley (Twitter / Github), and he’ll cover both technical & non-technical information so all participants are welcome to attend. A brief Q&A will follow the demo.

Time & Date: Wednesday, August 28th, at 10am PT. Find what time the demo is in your timezone.

Want to attend this free demo? Register here

Check out the teaser video below to get a taste of what’s in store during the Theme Customizer demo.

Want more information about using WordPress for big brands and enterprises? Get in touch.

WordPress 3.4 preview: Theme Customizer

There’s a lot of interest in the upcoming “Theme Customizer” which will be released in WordPress 3.4 (currently in beta 4). The Theme Customizer will make it easy for users to customize their theme and see the results real-time without opening or refreshing a new browser window to see them.

Otto walks us through a preview of what the feature may look like (final version subject to change) with a screencast of it running locally:

So, WordPress 3.4 has this nifty new feature you can find on the main Theme selection page. It’s a link next to each theme labeled “Customize”. This is the new Theme Customizer, and it’s way cool.

Otto also goes into depth how theme developers will be able to take advantage of the Theme Customizer in their theme development in a very detailed post with code samples for the settings and controls developers will be able to use.

Check out “How to leverage the Theme Customizer in your own themes” on Ottopress.

Cheezburger Network Open Sources Their WordPress Administration Panel

WordPress.com VIP Cheezburger Network, where you get your daily LOLz from one of their 50 popular sites like I Can Haz Cheezburger? and FAIL Blog, have shared the code of their WordPress theme administration panels.

Called CheezCap, it’s a simple library for easily creating custom admin panels.

Screenshot of CheezCap

Cheezburger Network uses a single shared theme across all their sites. In order to avoid having to create conditionals and other per-blog modifications in their theme, they developed CheezCap. Any of the administrators can update the options controlling the layout, design, colors, etc, without having to dig into the theme code.

When asked what motivates his engineering team to participate in the WordPress community, CTO Scott Porad replied:

I can say without hesitation that WordPress has had a hand in the success of Cheezburger. So, to the extent that we can help other people be successful with WordPress, we’re on board!

What I meant to say is… All aboard the WordPress Express! Choo Choo!

P2: The New Prologue Theme

Over a year ago we released the original Prologue theme for WordPress, which we used internally at Automattic for group communication.

We are now happy to announced the update to Prologue with a new name, P2. This new theme is perfect for group collaboration and communication. It’s especially handy for communication which you want to keep private – as many are using P2 as a private “group Twitter”. The instant notifications also make this theme ideal for live blogging.

Here’s the overview of what’s new in P2:

  • Threaded comment display on the front page.
  • In-line editing for posts and comments.
  • Live tag suggestion based on previously used tags.
  • A show/hide feature for comments, to keep things tidy.
  • Real-time notifications when a new comment or update is posted. (If you have a Mac, you know what we mean when we say it’s Growl-like.)
  • Super-handy keyboard shortcuts: c to compose a new post; j to go to the next item; k to go to the previous item; r to reply; e to edit; o to show and hide comments; t to go to the top; esc to cancel.
  • Helvetica Neue for you modern font lovers.
  • Plus more to come! Keep an eye on the news blog for updates.

And as always, there’s:

  • Hassle-free posting from the front page.
  • RSS feeds for everything: the entire prologue, each author, each tag, and any search.
  • A feeling of supreme awesomeness because you’re using a sweet theme custom-made by Automattic.

Check out this video below for a short overview:

You can run P2 on WordPress.com and on your self-hosted WordPress by downloading the theme from the WordPress.org theme directory.

More Than Blogging Software

As well as all the excitement about us backing BuddyPress, I’ve seen quite a few interesting articles this past week about WordPress being used as more than blogging software. As well as there being great example of WordPress being used as a full Content Management System (CMS), WordPress is being used in a lot of creative ways.

Raanan recently wrote about WordPress being used for contact management, this week we have Chris Cagle’s “How to Use WordPress as a Membership Directory“, “TDO Forum WordPress Theme“which I read about in Scott Gilbertson’s “Turn Your WordPress Blog into a Forum“, and Raj Dash’s “48 Unique Ways To Use WordPress“.

WP Contact Manager

A great example of innovative work being done in the WordPress community is the WP Contact Manager by The Design Canopy:

WP Contact Manager is a different kind of theme for WordPress. With a little bit of work (outlined in detail below) it turns WordPress into a contact manager. You can add contacts through the regular admin interface, tag contacts, search them and more.

Very much in the early development stages, Joseph Scott points out that:

It’s a bit more involved to setup than Prologue, but it has the same basic premiss, use WordPress as the base and build features on top of it.

You can learn more and try out the demo here.

Bloomington Indiana Startup Weekend Utilized Prologue

When we released the Prologue WordPress theme for group communication, we knew it would be used in innovative ways.

This past weekend we saw it utilized for a Startup Weekend, an event where you can “Build Community and a Company in a Weekend”:

Bloomington, Indiana was a proud host to Startup Weekend, which completed a 54-hour marathon weekend of design, planning and implementation of a new company. Although the organizational structure is still in progress, the consensus of the majority who stuck around for all three days of work is that this was a great experience. There is a strong desire to take our project to the next stage and release our work to the world.

The group used the WordPress Prologue theme to keep up to date with various updates and activities:

We tried to be as transparent as we could (until the legal team advised us to be selective), and evidence of the process is available on the official blog and in our Prologue stream.

You can see the “Prologue stream” from this past weekend in action here at talk.bloomingtonstartup.com .

Prologue: Group Communication Using WordPress

We launched a new theme today for WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress called Prologue.

Prologue is a way for “each of us to share short messages about what we’re doing or working on internally, or private messages between groups of folks.”

As you can see from the screenshot below and by clicking through to the Prologue demo it’s all about helping teams of people communicate and collaborate in an efficient manner — similar to Twitter but with a focus on groups.

For publishers looking to deploy this kind of tool, Prologue is very easy to use.  Like other themes for WordPress, you can install this on WordPress.com with a single click in your “Presentation” tab, or quickly add it to your themes directory for self-installed WordPress.

And since Prologue is a theme,  it leverage the power of WordPress to provide user management, privacy settings, RSS feeds, Gravatar, and more.

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