Final touches included php8 and ClassicPress compatibility along with ongoing code maintenance and refinements. We also configured the Plugins helper to be off by default (the helper can notify on the dashboard about the plugins we used to enable certain features and functionality during our testing of Blue Haze).
Blue Haze v0.9.9.8 is essentially production ready, feature testing on a variety of sites and configurations is complete, so in that respect things are in good shape. However, the plan to incorporate a level of plugin management into the theme has been set aside and instead we are developing a separate suite of tools for Plugin Management. We will provide details about that project in another post, but are sort of holding off on backing some of the plugin related code out of the theme until we are further along with the Plugin Tools. Since other changes made enhance functionality for sites using the blog features of WordPress, we decided to release what we hope might be the last Beta Version of the Blue Haze Theme.
Development continues on Blue Haze and v0.9.9.6 cleans up some of the issues we wanted to work out before an official release version is assigned. The main items left to cover include additional testing on a few more sites and configurations along with how to properly handle plugin requirements and/or suggestions – this has been difficult to work out due to endless variations desired by developers and publishers. Our suggestions could easily be overwhelming or bothersome for some, while others may enjoy knowing how we made use of plugins to achieve functionality for certain features. The further we push into trying to work out a theme driven solution, the more it seems that offering a plugin might be the better choice, as it could provide the basics regarding what plugins we find useful and compatible with Blue Haze, while potentially becoming a plugin manager to use across multiple sites.
Features continue to be added and refined as Blue Haze is tested on an expanding number of sites. As of release 0.9.9.4 the functionality provided by the plugin Post Template Select has been replaced by settings integrated into the Blue Haze Options dashboard that allows selecting which post types, including any custom post types, you want to be able to use the Blue Haze Dynamic Template on.
Testing of the theme for major issues and expected feature operation is now complete and Blue Haze is ready for public use. No major issues would be expected since the theme started as a branch of the existing WordPress theme Bootstrap Basicv3. Blue Haze retains and expands on the Bootstrap compatibility, offering better FontAwesome integration and optional dataTables compatibility along with a new set of features that empower authors and developers alike to build on Blue Haze without the worry of having an upgrade cause havoc to the modifications they have made, or requiring the use of child themes and plugins solely to support trouble free theme upgrades.
If you are like me, you have downloaded and messed with countless themes only to discover that none of them fit your exact needs. I am not saying Blue Haze is that one size fits all theme, that would be an unrealistic expectation on my part, since we are all looking for what we need, not what someone else thinks we need. However, having waded through countless themes, my goal is to make the Blue Haze as functional and code friendly to as many people as possible.
Besides being designed for the Classic WordPress Editor, one of the key goals was to work towards more of a universal template. Far too many themes seem to lack true control of page layout, our Blue Haze Template Options allow you to easily pick normal or full width pages. But the real functionality comes with the ability to select virtually no formatting at all, or even substitute a php file for any page’s content, up through page by page sidebar and format control. For those who may be upgrading from Bootstrap Basic, the default template is the same in Blue Haze.
Our plan is to add features based on user requests and we welcome any who wish to make suggestions or offer improvements. Another goal is true upgrade protection for those who choose to expand on Blue Haze for their own needs. We have options for you to include your own functions and css file, both safely outside the themes folders, so upgrades do not affect them. Speaking of upgrades, our theme will upgrade through the WordPress dashboard like any other theme once installed.
Like many WordPress offerings, we do not claim the code used in our theme is entirely of our own making or that we are expert coders using only the latest approved methods, in fact nothing could be further from he truth, we used examples from themes, plugins and other existing resources along with our own code and hacks to create the final product. We believe you should be able to easily follow our code should you need it as an example of how you could implement a feature, so we include notes in our code and try to make it easy to understand.