Faster Image Loading with Jetpack & Photon

Photon is a JetPack module that enables your images to be resized and loaded using WordPress.com’s servers. This can can speed up the loading of images for several reasons:

  • Photon utilizes multiple levels of caching, including a globally distributed CDN to make sure images are served as fast as possible.
  • Lossless compression. All images are losslessly compressed using either OptiPNG or jpegoptim.
  • Photon takes advantage of parallel downloads by using multiple sub-domains to load images.
  • Images are resized if they exceed the max $content_width set for theme.

Read more in the Photon Developer Docs.

Adjust Image Quality

However, you might be able to squeeze your image sizes even further by using the Photon filters to adjust the quality. Instead of loading images at full quality, you could try 80%. Continue reading

Excerpt versus Content for Archives

Most theme developers have slowly moved away from using the_excerpt to display content on index, archive and search pages. I definitely have.

Let’s go over quickly how the_excerpt works:

  1. If an excerpt is explicitly defined, it will be displayed (including HTML).
  2. If an excerpt isn’t defined, the post content will be used, but stripped of HTML and truncated to 55 words by default. An indication that is has been truncated also displays “[…]”.

If a post consists entirely of a YouTube embed, a gallery, a single image, or a Tweet embed, “the_excerpt” will strip all that out- and thus nothing will be displayed. This makes for a very weird looking archive page if the_except is used.

The alternative is to use the_content. This allows the full content to show. But the content can also be truncated on archives by using more tag.

This is what I’ve been using in most of my new themes as it is the most flexible. Continue reading

Announcing Hexagone

car

2015 will be a transformative year for language support in WordPress. The majority of new WordPress installs are now in languages other than English. New APIs are in the works for wordpress.org which should make translation easier, and new features in WordPress core will add better support for those languages. But what I’m really excited for is the eco-system in those other languages to grow.

Matt Mullenweg alluded to this at WordCamp Europe, “Personally, I am far and away most excited about the internationalization improvements, because the fact that WordPress has that many users at all in these other languages where there’s not very much documentation, no plugins, very few themes, it’s kind of amazing.”

Which brings me to a new project I’ve been working on with a partner based in France… Continue reading

Theme Process: Cascade

I released a new version of the Cascade theme with DevPress a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be worth writing about the process.

cascade

I learn a few new lessons with every new theme I build. This one was especially interesting because I was able to study the existing codebase, analyze all the choices that had been made by the previous author, and also learn a few new good tricks. Continue reading

Selling Digital Products with WordPress

digital-products

I just launched a new business with Fx Benard this week. It’s called “Hexagone“, and we’re focused on WordPress products and support for a French-speaking audience.

Although I’ve been selling products through WordPress for over three years, this project was really fun because it gave me the opportunity to rethink all the services and infrastructure involved and build something new from scratch.

It’s clear that WordPress has grown into an excellent platform for launching a digital products based business. I thought it would be worth sharing some of the great tools, products and services we relied on to get the job done for those interesting in launching a similar type of business. Continue reading

Anders Norén

Anders Norén is one of the most prolific theme developers I know of. In 2014 he released a total of 8 themes into the WordPress.org repository- all of which are excellent. A total of 4 made the Tavern’s top 15 free themes of 2014.

If that wasn’t enough, Anders announced a brand new one this morning:

As with any great theme, I really like the attention to small design details. For instance, look at all the subtle icons and design that went into a simple author comment:

comment Continue reading

Open Source Immune System

I recently listened to an interview with Tom Dale, one of the developers who helped create Ember. He was comparing Angular, which is maintained primarily by developers at Google, and Ember, which has a smaller and more diverse group of contributors behind it.

I thought this remark was interesting and also applies to the WordPress world:

“I think of open source project as an organism. An organism has an immune system and the best thing you can do for the immune system of your project is to diversify as fast as your can.

This includes valuing contributors who are not just code writers. It includes valuing people who write documentation, valuing people who work on infrastructure, valuing people who run events and organize meet-ups in the real world.”

Tom Dale

From TalkShopShow Episode #147.