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Lesson 10 – Part 12 – Question and Answer

Difficulty Level -

Now what I’m going to do is take questions and I have a whole bunch of questions here. Sandy, I’m going to start off with you. Good morning Sandy. I’ve just unmuted your microphone.

Sandy: Good morning. How are you?

Rick: I’m doing well. How are you?

Featured Image and Thumbnail Images – Typical Function and Agility Function

Sandy: Good, thank you. Actually, my question was way back when you were talking about adding images which I’m pretty familiar with. I just wasn’t sure when you were sending the featured image and the thumbnail images, whether you were working within the post or in the pages. Because typically and correct me if I’m wrong, the thumbnail would belong to a post and then you would click on the post title and then go to the full post in the blog area, right?

Rick: Well, that is the common functionality but the way Agility is configured, that thumbnail is used on archive pages and on the home page. And then the full sized image or the large image is used on the pages and posts.

Sandy: Oh okay.

Rick: But the nature of it is that you can decide you know, what you want to display where. And as long as you’re using the WordPress featured image, whether it’s a post or a page, it doesn’t matter. You can choose whether or not you want to display a small size image or the larger sized image or whatever.

Site in both Thesis 1x and Thesis 2 – Transitioning

Sandy: Okay. And then my other question and I didn’t type this. And so if this needs to be answered later, that would be fine.

Rick: No, go ahead.

Sandy: A few weeks ago, I mentioned to you that I was working on a site for a non profit that’s going to be on a radio show. And I started off and it has to be on page widths. So I actually started off using the classic, Thesis Classic. And I finally got stuck so I went back to Thesis 1 to make sure that they had something available because they’re being aired tomorrow morning at 9. But so I have essentially 2 sites now, one in Thesis 1 and one in Thesis 2. But I’m now stuck in Thesis 2 and I would like to unstick myself so that as I further develop their site, it’s actually being done in Thesis 2. So I don’t know if this is an appropriate time to address that because I do something up for their show tomorrow.

Rick: Well, did you want to ask… I mean, what kind of questions do you want to ask?

Sandy: Well, I was stuck on the footer so I can show you both sites. The one that’s in Thesis 1 and pardon me, yeah Thesis 1 and then the one that’s in Thesis 2. So the development one… pardon me, it’s live on Thesis 1 and it’s and it’s kourageous with a K.

Rick: Kourageous Kids Storybooks.

Sandy: Correct. You probably won’t find it in Google because I haven’t submitted it yet. So it’s just live, the site is live. So yeah, the Facebook page shows in their old site on shows that way. So if you just type in directly into the address bar, you’ll get it.

Rick: Okay, I see.

Sandy: Yeah, that’s the one.

Rick: Okay, there we go.

Sandy: Okay there it is. So this one’s done in Thesis 1 so that I can get the… everything set up the way I wanted it to. The development site that I have in 2 is just the word And you’ll see I didn’t get very far because I got stuck.


Sandy: So I had to get it done. The header I can do. I’m not worried about that part. Where I finally got stuck was my footer or I mean that’s where I quit. My footer is not on the right line and you’ll see on the live site, how my standard footer looks. And so that’s where I got stuck because it was going the full width which was stacking it rather than putting them side by side. And I was under the gun to get it done so that’s where I stopped.

Rick: Well you know, you might want to use my smart responsive columns for that because that would make it easier.

Sandy: Okay.

Rick: I mean, you don’t have to, right? Is the rest of the site responsive or not?

Sandy: No because I’m using Thesis Classic and I really wanted to use Agility. But I needed the page width because they really liked those bubbles in the background. And the you know, on the shading, you can see I’ve got a little bit of shading around it.

Rick: Yeah.

Sandy: So I wasn’t sure how to do that in… with Agility.

Rick: How did you do the background otherwise?

Sandy: Well the background itself is just a transparent PNG and then I added box shadow, inset box shadow for the shading around it.

Rick: Okay.

Sandy: And what else did I use? Rounded corners. So that’s all done through the CSS.

Rick: Okay.

Release of Carta Skin

Sandy: But when we talked a couple of weeks ago, I remember we asked this… somebody asked this question about the page width and because it doesn’t have a container with Agility… and then you talked about… yeah, you were maybe going to do a page width one. So that’s why I went back to Thesis Classic.

Rick: Not maybe. I actually am doing one.

Sandy: Yay!

Rick: I’m very close to releasing it in beta which it is… I mean, this is what it looks like today. I have some functioning I need to create for it but it has… essentially, it has.. well, it’s page width. It has this… this is all CSS, right? So it has packages that allow you just to set that stuff. And anyway, I’m… this is one version of it and this is another version of it. And I just haven’t had the chance to really… to polish this up yet and get it to a stage where it’s working properly. And I really hope to be able to do it by the end of this week and obviously, that’s today. So it’s probably not going to happen… it might happen yet this weekend. But nevertheless, it has the same features as Agility but it’s got an entirely different HTML structure from Agility.

Sandy: And at this point, I think I might just wait until you’ve got it because it will be so much easier for me to work within Agility rather than trying to turn Classic into the responsive. Although I am taking that class. I’m in about the middle of it, the one that you offered because they do have something up right now that you know, the one that’s live. And they don’t know you know, the backside of it. They don’t care. It’s just me. I care on how to develop and it will be way easier to use the Agility skin.

Rick: Well and so then this skin is called Carta.

Sandy: Oh that’s the one.

Rick: Which is Latin for page.

Sandy: Right. Okay, that’s the one that we had asked you about that you’re going to be using for that Cart66 class.

Rick: Exactly.

Sandy: Okay cool, awesome.

Rick: Yeah, that’s it.

Sandy: I’m just going to wait on you because their show’s tomorrow. They’re happy with what they have for now. It’s just as I develop their full site, I’d rather use the Carta instead of Agility.

Rick: Great.

Sandy: Yeah awesome. So then I can just replace that skin with where I’ve gotten so far and continue on, once you have it released.

Rick: Yes. It should be easily be transferable like that.

Sandy: Awesome. Thank you. That answered my question and that will make my designing life so much easier. So I really appreciate your help.

Rick: Perfect. Have a good day.

Sandy: Thank you. You too, Rick.

Rick: Bye bye.

Should I remove Inactive Plugins

Okay see, next up is Jim Cooner. Let’s see, good morning Jim. I’ve just unmuted your microphone.

Jim: Hi, how are you?

Rick: I’m doing well. How are you?

Jim: Good.

Rick: Good. So what can I do for you?

Jim: Well, I just asked you a question about inactive plugins, whether or not you should remove them, if that does any kind of damage. I mean, I’ve seen…

Rick: Generally, you should not have a bunch of inactive plugins because it does, nevertheless, take up some server load and take up some memory, even if they are inactive. Plus, inactive plugins have this way of not being updated by people because they say, “Well, I’m not using it.” so they don’t update them. And if there’s any security flaws, they can still be exploited even though they’re not active. So I do say that almost always, you shouldn’t have a plugin deactivated that you… and just leaving it in your dashboard.

Now I happen to be in a unique situation where I have a couple of plugins that I use all the time but then I don’t want running all the time. And so I use it on the administrative side and then I just deactivate it until I’m going to use it again you know, a few days later. And so that’s an exception to that rule, I think. And I’m also attempting to make a couple of things work on the site that aren’t working currently. And so what I’m working on and I turn it on and work on trying to make that work and then I turn it back off again until I’m ready to go back to it. So those are the only two circumstances in which I have inactive plugins.

If you’ve got a rationale like that for an inactive plugin then that’s fine. But if you… but you know, really, I see this all the time. I see somebody with 30 or 40 plugins, most of them inactive, many of them duplicates… duplicate the functionality of other ones and I think that is… that has a potential to a recipe for disaster.

Jim: Yeah, I understand that. No, I’m real careful about even adding a plugin. I want it to do something.

Rick: Well, and really, it needs to do something important because in the grand scheme of things, plugins are pretty inefficient because they’re written by different people and they have different… they may try to do the same thing but they each have their own set of code for it. And they may have their own set of javascript and they may load their own CSS files. And you may have all kinds of extra stuff that you’re loading that will slow your site down, that you may not need. So you want to make sure that the functionality is important enough for you to have it and to pay whatever price there is for using it.

Jim: Right. That’s exactly the way I look at it and I only use BYOB plugins and TinyMCE. Those are basically the two… that’s basically all I use. It’s just a matter of if I have something that was not active, whether or not I should remove it and whether or not it made a difference. But I think you really answered my question. I really appreciate it.

Rick: Okay you’re welcome. Have a good day.

Jim: You too.

Rick: Bye bye.

Are WordPress Plugins Conflicting with Thesis 2?

Okay let’s see, Larry asked, “Is there a chance that most existing WordPress plugins with conflict with Thesis 2 skins?” No, I don’t believe there… you know, the plugins that have the chance of conflicting or not working the way you want them to work are those plugins that generally rely on their own templates. So you know, Wu Commerce and Shoppe and WP Ecommerce and you know, some of the ones like that don’t work with Thesis because they have their own template system and Thesis has its own template system. So you know, they don’t do… they don’t just play well together. But I have found very few plugins that don’t work properly with Thesis 2 and so I would say most of them probably work fine with Thesis 2.

Do Widgets Only go in Sidebars?

Okay, Tom Huntington. Tom, I’m going to unmute your microphone. Good morning, Tom.

Tom: How are you?

Rick: I’m fine. How are you?

Tom: I’m doing great, thank you.

Rick: Good. So you had a handful of questions here.

Tom: I think they’re pretty simple. You already answered the one about video.

Rick: Okay.

Tom: You use a text widget for video.

Rick: Yes, that’s right.

Tom: And you showed us how to do it, thank you very much.

Rick: So you asked the question, “Do widgets only go in sidebars?” And the answer is yes. Widgets can only go inside of a container and that container is either called a widget area or a sidebar, depending upon you know, what those two terms are synonymous. So… and the word sidebar, should not denote location to you. Sidebar should be… sidebar should just be widget container. And it can be in the side, it can be in the bottom, it can be several of them in the middle. They’re all WordPress sidebars.

Tom: Great, thank you. That helps.

Why Use FTP to upload Plugins?

Rick: Okay and then you asked about why did I use ftp to upload Black Studio Tiny MCE. Just as a way of demonstrating the ftp manual method of installing a plugin. I was demonstrating two methods. I was demonstrating the method you’re probably going to use all the time, the method I use all the time which is the automatic method from the dashboard. And then the method that everybody used to have to use and that every once in a while, you may still need when you have a problem. So…

Tom: Great. Well, I’m glad you showed it and I’m glad I asked the question because my question’s really coming from whenever ftp comes up, it’s like I go “Arrgh!” And I’m only able to follow for a little bit and then I lose it. So I really appreciate getting another example of using ftp. Maybe the next time, I’ll be able to go all the way through an ftp demonstration.

Rick: Well and you may want to go back to Lesson 3 and look at the system for setting up synchronized browsing with ftp. I mean, that’s really one of the most critical skill sets to have because it makes… it solves lots of problems for beginners. So if it…

Tom: No, Lesson 3 is those before… one of those first one of the five lessons?

Rick: Yes it is. Lesson 3 is one of the first 5, yes.

Tom: I never listen to that so great, that’s perfect.

Rick: Yeah that’s what Lesson 3 is all about is setting up ftp.

Tom: Excellent. Thank you.

Rick: Okay, you’re welcome. Anything else?

Tom: I think that’s it for right now. Thank you very much. This is great, Rick.

Rick: Okay, have a great day.

Tom: You too, thank you.

FTP Process for Uploading Plugins

Okay so let’s see, John Grieg. John, I just unmuted your microphone.

John: Oh hi. Hi Rick.

Rick: Hi.

John: Yeah so I think I’ve kind of lost you a little bit with the plugins that you used on the ftp method. And that’s what I sort of understood from what you were doing is you downloaded it to your computer and then uploaded it through the ftp and then picked it up through your WordPress dashboard in that way. Or did I miss something in…

Rick: No, yeah. That’s what I did. I went to, searched for a plugin, downloaded it from to my computer and then used ftp to upload it to my site.

John: Right. Do I have to do that or can I download it directly into WordPress?

Rick: No, you do not have to do that. The… in fact, I only every do that when I have a problem. I always use the quick, easy method of installing it from the dashboard. It’s faster. It’s generally error-free. It’s consistently easy to use. And I always do it that way unless I have a problem.

John: Right, okay. So what was the reason for actually doing it that way today? Was it just…

Rick: To demonstrate how to do it.

John: Yeah okay. I mean, just one other thing. I went through Lesson 3 and was setting that up. Then I spoke to one of the technical people at Bluehost and his advice to me was did I really want to be having something that works, that set… that updated both my files on my computer and on the website automatically without me touching it?

Rick: No you don’t want that. But that’s not what Lesson 3 does. Lesson 3 teaches synchronized browsing but not synchronized… not file synchronization. So it’s…

John: Oh that’s where I made a mistake, I think then. So if… so I don’t set that side without… but just every now and then to manually synchronize, download one side or upload the other…

Rick: Yes.

John: Specific trials that I want to use.

Rick: That’s exactly right, yeah. The synchronized browsing bit is just so that when you open up wp content on one place, you’ve open it up on the other.

John: You’re doing it on the other side, yeah.

Rick: Yeah.

John: And then you could just pull profiles from one side or the other, depending on what you want to do.

Rick: Right.

John: Okay, alright. You know, I think I misunderstood the lesson a bit because I took it a bit too far.

Rick: Yeah, it’s not… I mean, there are programs that synchronize, right? Dreamweaver will synchronize. It used to be Microsoft Frontpage and there’s now Expression Web will synchronize. So there are… it is possible to have the thing set up to synchronize and many professionals do that. But that’s not really what we’re doing.

John: Right, okay. I think I just misunderstood it so…

Rick: Okay.

John: Because I think… actually found it very helpful to use the ftp when I had all these problems in my site having been hacked and lost and…

Rick: Sure.

John: Found again.

Rick: Okay. Anything else?

John: Yeah thanks. So basically, just in summary, it’s… you were just showing that as a sort of… as a fallback if we’re having problems. Otherwise, we can just do it straight through the dashboard.

Rick: Yes absolutely.

John: Yeah okay thanks so much.

Rick: You betcha. Bye bye.

Are the BYOB Responsive Menu Box and Packages Included within Agility?

Okay let’s see, Mark Bunting. Where are you? Good morning, Mark. I’ve just unmuted your microphone. Well, I’m going to leave your microphone unmuted here while I look at your question. You said, “Is the drop down responsive menu box and style going to be included and updated in the BYOB Agility so it’s always there?” No, it’s not. The responsive menu is an add on that you would install separately which is why I taught it that way. I mean, designers like this are always trying to find the right balance between functionality and… or between features and bloat. And so if you don’t have a multilevel drop down menu then you don’t need all that extra stuff. And the standard menu will work just fine. So I don’t include that and you wouldn’t use it unless you needed a multilevel drop down menu.

How do you overlay an image with essentially what’s an icon or how are you going to describe a label with the link?

Okay let’s see, Blake is next. Blake, I’ve just unmuted your microphone. Hi Blake.

Blake: Hey, can you hear me?

Rick: I can, yes.

Blake: Oh good. Well, greetings man.

Rick: Thank you.

Blake: From Florida. And my question is about trying to overlay… if I’m displaying a piece of art from an artist which could take up to a fair amount of a certain page and then kind of start to develop a routine where the artist’ signature function as a link to the page, the artist page. So how do you overlay an image with essentially what’s an icon or how are you going to describe a label with the link?

Rick: Yeah, the… you get it one or two ways. One is the image could be a background image, not the link image, but the big image. The signature would be a real image and the big image would be a background image. And very much like I demonstrated on Wednesday for adding the customized opt in boxes where we put a great, big image in the background and then laid the opt in form over the top of it. If you want them to be… if you want them both to be regular HTML images then probably the best way to do that would be to wrap the two of them together in a container that you could…

Blake: Using a text box for the second image and changing the z index in the css?

Rick: Yes, changing the z index and also using absolute and relative positioning. So you give the big container a position of relative and you give the signature position of absolute. And then if it was in the lower left hand corner you know, you would say position absolute bottom 0 right 0. And it would… the image would sit there on the lower right corner.

Blake: You just turn the volume up for me.

Rick: Now I have a seminar on using absolute and relative positioning, if you need it. It’s under Seminars and it’s down at the very bottom, under the Other Seminars section. It’s called ‘Understanding the Position Property”. And that shows how to use absolute and relative positioning to do exactly that, to lay one thing over the top of the other or to you know, move something out of its ordinary flow into another location.

Blake: Right. Yeah, I just didn’t think of it.

Rick: Okay. Anything else?

Blake: Yes, just one thing. I just wanted to say learning from you, as hard as… destroyed the romance of the Magna Carta now for me.

Rick: Well, thank you very much.

Blake: You guys are… thanks man.

Rick: You bet. You have a great day.

Blake: Bye.

Rick: Bye bye.

Is there a widget area available for the front page in the Agility skin?

Okay let’s see, so finally, Mark Jensen. Mark, I’m going to unmute your microphone. Good morning, Mark. I’ve just unmuted your microphone.Are you there? Okay well if you don’t have a microphone, you said, “Is there a widget area available for the front page in the Agility skin?” Well, there is… well right now, the front page of Agility is designed as a full width page, right? And there is actually a widget area besides the footer which… and it’s the… I’m going to get there here. It’s the feature box widget area. And so if you look at the HTML section of the front page, inside the feature box area, outside the feature box columns is the feature box widget area. So there’s that and of course, the footer.

Now you can always choose to make the main content area two columns instead of one and use the sidebar, the standard sidebar if you wish. But the Agility front page is designed as a full width page. And by the time we’re finished, we will be adding some more content areas. We’ll be adding what I call the tension boxes under the content area. So you’ll see what that looks like too.

Okay so I think that’s it. I think that’s the only questions that were out there that were left. So everybody have a lovely weekend. I’ll be back on Wednesday with Live Q&A, both Wednesday morning and afternoon. And then we’ll be back again on Friday. And on Friday, we will be adding… we’ll be customizing that front page and customizing the widget areas and getting that stuff all set up.

So my apologies to everyone for the delay in getting last week’s videos up. Somehow, we got our wires crossed and edited last year’s Lesson 10 or Lesson 9 and posted those. So we had to scramble and re-edit and blah blah blah. So anyway, I was going to do a better job about that this time. And everybody, just have a lovely day. Thanks a lot. Bye bye.

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