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Rationale for default Appearance submenus (10 posts)

  1. ajmacleod
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Context: I'm new to WordPress theme design. I'm trying to make a theme for a CMS, where clients can change the header image, footer text and background image/colors etc.

    I've managed to easily create Appearance submenus to change my theme's header and background using:

    add_custom_header_image (as per Twenty Ten)

    and

    add_custom_background - what a nice,simple, user-friendly function!

    I'm working on the footer text now... Trying to get my head around the necessary code... (There doesn't seem to be a add_custom_footer function?)

    Anyway, it occurred to me that it would be nice to have Header, Background and Footer submenus to the Appearance admin page by DEFAULT. Surely, every WordPress user wants to be able to take their chosen theme and make it their own?

  2. Not every theme has these features built in, so ... Theme settings are per theme, not just general to WordPress.

  3. Jen Mylo
    Key Master
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Ipstenu is correct, these features need to be supported by a theme to be accessible, and some themes offer far more in the way of "theme options" than others. There's no function built in for custom footers because it's not something people are clamoring for. Unlike a header, which generally just swaps out a photo, the footer of a theme is ties to the css palette etc, so having a footer function not tied to the rest of the CSS would be weird.

  4. ajmacleod
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Thanks for both your comments...

    Regarding Ipstenu's comment I'd say that, technically speaking, a theme does not necessarily need to have a header - yet the functionality exists within WordPress to have custom headers. (Obvious reasons for this, of course!) There is a bit of disparity in not having similar functionality for footers. (Footers are undervalued).

    I think Jane hit the nail on the head when she said: "There's no function built in for custom footers because it's not something people are clamoring for".

    (I didn't understand the comment on CSS - perhaps you could clarify... I've styled each part of the theme including the footer...)

    Since the convention is to design themes to use the get_header and get_footer functions in a modular way, it would be nice if the footer could be given the same treatment as the header.

    An interim solution to my problem is to make the footer a widgetised area... However, this does not achieve all my design goals. (I'm not a fan of widgets for a variety of reasons... in this case I want to restrict what functionality my clients will have in different parts of the templates).

    I am going to have to re-invent the wheel in this case: add a footer submenu manually and create options for it...

    I'd better go now and start clamoring... put my best "footer" forward, step up to the mark and stand firm.

  5. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 3 years ago #

    I'd say that, technically speaking, a theme does not necessarily need to have a header

    Oh yes it does! The header is far more than just a pretty banner at the top of the page.

  6. What esmi said!

    I would say this: Technically speaking, a theme does not need to have a menu customizable header :)

    yet the functionality exists within WordPress to have custom headers.

    Actually ... No. The functionality exists within PHP to allow for customize anything. And because that's really broad and vague, it's a 'per theme' choice. Some people think too many options cause problems. You CAN make the footer customizable. There's no real need to for TwentyTen, or the dev didn't want to do it, and that's their choice.

    If you switch to another theme, you will LOSE the header customization available in TwentyTen. This actually increases flexibility, because it lets each theme be as flexible (or not) as they desire :)

  7. ajmacleod
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Oh yes it does! The header is far more than just a pretty banner at the top of the page.

    Esmi - Of course the header is more than a pretty banner... lol

    As I am sure you know (better than me), all that a (very basic) theme needs to have is an index.php and style.css file. The required html and php that conventionally resides in the header.php could just as easily be at the top of the index.php file instead. In that sense, a header is not required. Similarly, the required html/php that conventionally resides within footer.php can also be included in the index.php. In that sense, a footer is not required. (Not that I would advocate such an approach to theme design).

    All that actually needs to exist within a WordPress theme is a way of retrieving data from the database (i.e. the "loop"). And, of course, navigation if you are going to have more than one page.

    Talking about looping, let me start again. I feel that my point has been lost in semantics. (My fault for not making it clearer! Thank you for your patience). Here goes...

    - There exists an optional WordPress php theme-related function to provide the facility to swap header images from the dashboard. Likewise, there exists an optional WordPress php theme-related function to swap background colors and images.
    - There does not exist an optional WordPress php theme-related function to change footer images/text.

    The reason I would like this functionality is so that my clients can easily edit their footer without needing to either:
    - use an ftp client
    - directly edit the footer.php file
    - use widgets

    I can create the functionality I am looking for manually within the functions.php file. However, I just think it would be a huge time-saver if every web designer in my position didn't have to all re-produce the same code!

    Let me put it this way: when I browse the function reference page and go down to Section 1.7 Theme-related functions, I'd really like to see the following under the Other functions subheading:

    add_custom_background
    add_custom_footer
    add_custom_image_header

    Surely, you can see the value of this?

    Thanks for reading,

    Andy

  8. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 3 years ago #

    The required html and php that conventionally resides in the header.php could just as easily be at the top of the index.php file instead.

    Agreed - although these kinds of themes tend to have very few template files. In some cases, index.php is the only template file.

    But I'm still not seeing a widespread need for a custom footer option. A customisable footer can be created very easily using widgets. Even with custom CSS. What additional benefit would a dedicated theme support option offer?

  9. ajmacleod
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    I don't want to widgetise the footer for the following reasons.

    1. I want clents to be able to easily change the header and footer themselves as they wish. I want the process to be transparent. I've already added Header and Background submenus to the Appearance menu - it makes sense to have a Footer submenu too.

    2. To fully widgetise the footer, I'd have to create more CSS to adequately deal with the widget options that do not get incorporated into my project.

    3. While widgets are currently "in vogue", I'm not really a fan of the Widgets menu, full stop. I'd rather select which widgets are allowed in various areas of the templates.

    4. As I've already argued, not having an add_custom_footer function seems to be weird when there are header and background functions.

  10. You can do all that if you code it into your own theme, is what we're saying.

    But again, that is a PER THEME choice, like if you want the theme to be blue or white or polkadots :). There's no one way to do a theme, so WordPeess wisely leaves it up to you.

    The default theme chose not to. You can fork it and make it, if you want, and that's cool too. But no, Twenty Ten likely will not be doing that.

    (There are some cool plugins that let you control widgets on a granular level like per template. Like http://weblogtoolscollection.com/archives/2010/12/29/plugin-review-dynamic-widgets/ )

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