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I have added some changed to the blog which you may or may not have noticed. I started adding linked posts to the blog. These are similar to what John Gruber does over at Daring Fireball. Basically, these are links to external articles that I comment briefly on. The reason I’m creating these is that I noticed I post a lot of links on twitter but rarely have enough characters to comment on them how I’d like. I figure my blog is the perfect place to do this but didn’t want just a series of extremely short normal blog posts. That’s when I decided to implement asides.

I found a plugin that will allow you to implement and style your asides without editing WordPress’ loop. It’s a great plugin because the only file I need to edit is my stylesheet so that I can style my asides as I see fit. That still didn’t solve my problem with having the post link to the actual article on my blog or my feeds. Because I didn’t want to hack my theme files, I settled on two plugins that would bring me that functionality. The first is the Linked List plugin. This is technically all I should need but, as I said, I wanted to implement these things without editing any theme files (besides the stylesheet of course). So far, I have styled asides and if you click on a linked post in my feed it will bypass my site and take you directly to the article. I needed one more plugin to link the actual post on my site to the external article. This is where the Page Links To plugin came in handy. I designate the URL the permalink should redirect to and it takes care of the rest.

So when you see posts like the one in the screenshot below, that’s a linked post. You can click on the external link icon at the end and it will take you to the article I’m referencing. If you are reading an external article from a feed reader, just click on the feed title and it will take you there.

Of course, right now I have no way of showing, in a feed, that it is a linked post, but I would think it would be pretty obvious if I’m talking about an article but there is no link within the text. I’ll see if I can find a way to make that more clear from within the feed. If you have any suggestions on how to that, I’m open to them.

This isn’t a tutorial on how to bulk-update/upgrade plugins in WordPress 2.9, just a tip in case many users are confused as to where this much sought-after feature is. It’s under Tools -> Upgrade. Seriously, this has to be one of WP’s dumbest decisions yet. Why in the world would you put the bulk update for plugins under Tools -> Upgrade? It should be a button or an action from the bulk action dropdown. Usability Fail!

Thanks to Kris Britt at Silente.com the PhoenixBlue theme has been widgetized.  I’ve also made a few other minor tweaks to a theme that seems to still be very popular even though I’ve not had time to update it in over a year.  Post meta information now includes what tags are used in the post and the theme now supports WordPress image captions that came out in WordPress 2.6.  You can check out a demo of PhoenixBlue Widgetized here. You can download the PhoenixBlue Widgetized theme here.

Thanks again to Kris for widgetizing the theme.  If time permits I may add support for threaded comments, but I’m not entirely sure I will yet.  If anyone else wants to add the functionality, feel free, just let me know.  Also if you find issues with the theme and want to help fix them let me know.  The theme isn’t exactly my main priority right now so if any help is greatly appreciated.  I know one area that needs some work is the tag cloud styling so if you want to take a crack at that feel free.

I’m writing this post so I don’t have to constantly explain my reasoning to everyone in #habari. This is not a post describing how bad Habari is, it is a fine product. It’s just not ready for me and I’ll explain why.

Everyone who visits my site knows that I like to change themes. The lack of quality themes on Habari is one thing that is keeping me from changing. Themes aren’t a make or break deal, but I do like to change things up and not having the ability to do so with a variety of different themes is something that will weigh heavily on my decision. If there was nothing else that made me hesitant about switching, I’d do it. But there are other things.

Lack of widgets or modules built in are something I really want. Because I like to change themes often, not having a widget system for sidebars and whatnot makes things difficult. I like to rearrange the contents of sidebars, footers, etc. without having to edit code. It’s not that I don’t know how to edit the code, it’s just that, these days, I shouldn’t have to.

Lack of documentation makes it hard to do the things I want to do. Back in the pre-widgets WP days this page was my Bible. When editing themes, I still use this page quite often. Habari’s documentation is seriously lacking and it’s difficult to find what it is I need to accomplish certain things. WordPress’s codex spells it out in a great way. This isn’t Habari’s fault, they are young. It took a long time for WordPress’s Codex to get to where it is now. Even a lot of the plugins that are released for Habari have come without clear documentation.

There are also other things that aren’t as big, but I wonder why they aren’t included. For example, Habari uses tags instead of categories. So why isn’t there a template tag to display a tag cloud? You have to use a plugin in order to display it if you want one. I’m sure there are other things like that but I’ve not dealt with it enough to see what they might be. Also, since the codebase is ever changing at this early stage, it takes a lot to keep up with themes and plugins as they are changed quite often and, well, WordPress is much easier to do with the introduction of the automatic plugin upgrading. I can’t tell you when the last time I had to edit a theme because of a WordPress upgrade.

So, there are a few of my reasons why I’m not switching to Habari…. yet. Hopefully, once they mature a little, these things will be introduced and worked on and it will make the transition from WordPress to Habari easier.