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Brian Tozer

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July 9, 2010 - 11:55 am
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I would welcome a 'once over lightly' overview on something that I am confused on.

Assume a site design is for x pages and 1 blog/posts/news page.

I would want total individual control over the layout of each of the pages.

Most of the queries on the Thesis forum seem to be about how the poster can have one page different than other pages.

I assume that the design of Thesis/WP is biased towards global page controls that are 'global' and affect every page similarly.

Complicating my confusion is the place of the 'full page width' option, which seems to have certain implications on some of the Thesis options/results/effects.

I am confused about how WP 3.0 changes this situation, and how Thesis 1.8 and later will affect it.

I hope that I have expressed a coherent picture of my confusion.

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Rick Anderson
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July 9, 2010 - 2:07 pm
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So here's my brief WordPress Pages Overview.

Bias toward similar configuration for all pages - Yes you are correct, this is the starting point.  WordPress by default (and Thesis by extension) assumes that all pages look the same and have the same elements.  To move away from this starting point requires various customization tools.

Potential Areas of Customization

Thesis headers and footers - Thesis makes it fairly easy to customize your headers and footers by using hooks.  It is possible to have completely different headers for each page by using conditional statements in your custom_functions.php file.

Page Layout - Thesis also makes it fairly easy to customize the layout from page to page.  You can either do this by using custom templates or you can add various types of custom functionality to individual pages, again using hooks and conditional statements.  Thesis has an additional element like this called the "Feature Box".  You can activate the feature box and make decisions about which places to display it on.  You can also have page specific content for the feature box using again (you guessed it) hooks and conditional statements.

Sidebars - Thesis also makes it quite easy to add additional sidebars to individual posts or pages.  I know that "easy" is a relative term, but it is easy compared to vanilla WordPress.  The reason for this is because of all of the hooks.  Anywhere there is a hook you can add a widgetized area (sidebar),

Custom Class CSS - Thesis automatically adds a custom class to every page.  This means that you can reference all of the CSS elements on each individual page.  If you don't want that much granularity you can add your own custom class designation in the edit post or page screens.  I'm working on a project today where we have added custom classes called "about", "clients" and "services".    There are several pages within each of these classes.  We've set some specific css attributes to each of these classes to make the pages in the same group look similarly.

Widgets - One of the weakest elements of WordPress sidebars is the default behavior of displaying the same widgets every time.  However, TS Custom Widgets will allow you to determine which widget displays on which page.

I think this pretty much describes the various ways in which you can customize the appearance of individual pages on your site.

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Rick Anderson
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July 9, 2010 - 2:18 pm
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I forgot to answer the full width part of your question.  When you mention full width you have two possible things going on here.  The first is the No-sidebars template.  One of the ways you can customize some of your pages is by doing away with the sidebars all together using the No-sidebars template.

The other thing is the Full Width Framework.  You have 2 different strategies you can pick from for the big layout of your site.  Either you can use the Page Framework or the Full Width Framework.  Your site will be either one or the other.  In general the concept is if you want your page to look like a page (as in this site) then you'll use the Page Framework.  If you want your site to appear to span the entire width of the site then the Full Width Framework is for you.

The full width framework gives you more places to add background images (#header_area, #content_area & #footer_area).  You can pretty easily make your site look "stripy" by changing the backgrounds of these 3 elements.

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Brian Tozer

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July 9, 2010 - 2:21 pm
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Superb!!!

Even bettter than I had hoped for.

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Brian Tozer

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July 10, 2010 - 3:56 pm
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Thanks Rick.

Do we know yet whether/how WP 3.0 and Thesis 1.8 is going to affect the operation of any of these, or perhaps offer better useability/options?

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Rick Anderson
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July 10, 2010 - 4:55 pm
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Well, WP 3.0 allows for custom post types which I've just recently used as secondary content on a page.  Once you have the possibility of multiple content areas on a single page the appearance of stuff begins to change as well.

Thesis 1.8 adds a bunch of customization for both Tag and Category archive pages.  So that'll be something to consider as well.

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Brian Tozer

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July 10, 2010 - 5:45 pm
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This is very useful info.

I have now created manila folders for each of those specific subjects, and know what information to look out for.

I am a danger to the rain forest...

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