About this site and TikiWiki projects

CMS Article construction flaw

The "Read more" and print icon are actually outside of the div class="article", which causes a problem with the bottom margin of an article. An article needs a big bottom margin to make room for .articletrailer and its contents, the "Read more" link and print icon. The link and icon are positioned absolutely so don't introduce a height of their own. If articletrailer has no content, then there is a big white space below the article. Seems to me div.articletrailer should be within div.artiicle so there can be a consistent bottom margin whether articletrailer has content or not. This is my fault, I think, as I layed out these items at one time.

Probably as we move to HTML5 elements for articles (I mean in the CMS sense, not HTML5 element sense), current problems can be corrected.

Problem with custom <head> content

Sometimes it's nice to be able to add something to the site's section, such as a link or metatag. Normally, this can be done easily with Tiki.

But currently I am have a problem is at a current svn branch 7 site at a hosted domain. In Look and Feel admin, custom CSS works fine, but the custom content doesn't get used. That is, it doesn't show up in the page source and of course has no effect. (In this case, it's a link to a Google web font.) The same configuration works OK on my localhost svn branch 7. If I make a theme-specific header.tpl and add the link manually, it works fine, at the remote site.

When this is resolved, I'll post the answer here.

Better record of problems and solutions needed

I'm thinking I need a more public record of problems, solutions, issues, resolutions, successes, complaints, and praises as I work with Tiki files and Tiki sites.

It's frustrating and a waste of time to encounter problems, find solutions, and then a while later run across the same problem again and not recall how to fix it.

Case in point: a few months ago at friendsofannie.org I turned on the calendar and was surprised to see it displaying 10 weeks in the month view, only sloppily indicating the actual current month. Well, somehow I got that straightened out but don't even recall now if it was a configuration change or a file update.

Now I've run into the same problem at another site, walaau.com, which is just getting under way as content is transferred from the domain's previous Joomla installation. So how to fix it (again)? I'll update this post when I have the answer.

Updated to Tiki 5, and other topics

Well, with the Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware release schedule stepped up, maybe it's no wonder that even more than before my blog posts here are only "new version installed".

Apart from that, I've got a few custom theme projects under way, some sites to help out on regarding installation and configuration, updating of themes at mods.tikiwiki.org for Tiki 5 (Judy theme is about ready, and hopefully the new Tikipedia theme - based on Mediawiki's new Vector look, with the classic Monobook as a theme option - won't be much longer), and I've been looking at blog layouts and how they could be more easily customized in Tiki. So I've been pretty busy.

This is in addition to having a 'day job' that was full time but now is 3/4 time, along with English language proofreading and editing I'm doing on a contract basis, and writing ad copy (not to namedrop, but the current job is for Japan's largest semiconductor maker).

Coming soon also, some reorganizing at themes.tikiwiki.org. It's really hard to keep doc and demo sites up to date, because Tiki advances so fast, but I want to do some updating at the themes site as soon as possible.

And the TikiFest in Barcelona is this week, focusing on blog revamp ideas among other things, so I hope to be tuned in as much as possible via Big Blue Button, the open source web conference software that's now integrated into Tiki.

Updated to Tiki 4.1

Doesn't seem like I post about anything else lately, but the site is now updated to Tiki 4.1. Not much time to add content here, as I'm busy on a few other Tiki projects, in addition to keeping busy to cope with the weak economy and so on. Best wishes in this holiday season!

Site updated to Tiki 4.0 beta

Well, not the beta package itself but a more recent Subversion snapshot. Release of Tiki 4.0 is imminent so I've been fixing things here and there to improve visual appearance, placement of items, and so on.

Tiki 4 has so many changes that it'll take a while before everything is documented, but it's becoming increasingly powerful and polished, as long as regressive bugs are squashed so we don't take two steps forward and one step back. More details later.

Site updated to Tiki 3.3

A few hours ago I got the Tiki 3.3 package and updated this site. There are a lot of little fixes, and an update was due since I think I missed the 3.2 update here and so was running 3.1.

Actually I've been working on things for the upcoming Tiki 4, so haven't paid too much attention to the stable version. I'll check the themes here and see if anything needs tweaking. Offhand, I don't think that'll be necessary.

Site updated to Tiki 3.0

I updated this site to the latest Tiki release. There are still some glitches in some themes, as not all the "add-on" themes are completely updated for this version (mostly minor color details remaining, etc.). Functionally, things should be in good shape.

Updating old themes for Tiki 3

Many details have changed related to themes, between Tikiwiki 2 and 3, so there could be problems for sites that are using customized themes, or themes that are no longer part of the Tikiwiki package.

Big changes in default template (.tpl) files

Page columns

In Tiki 3, the page layout method for the left, center and right columns uses floated divs, rather than an HTML table. In Tiki 2, several themes used this new method, but they had their own tiki.tpl, etc. Now this method is the default, and there are no more themes in the package that use the old table-based method.

This means that any theme at a site that previously depended on the old default templates will have broken column placement in Tiki 3 (all columns will be full page width, with the center column first, followed by left and right columns).

The page-top "site identity" area has been changed radically. Previously, Site Identity was an optional feature. Now there is no permission check for Site Identity, which was redundant since there are checks for each of the components within Site Identity. Old templates that have a Site Identity permission check won't display the contents anymore. The contents, arrangement, and location of Site Identity have changed also.

Details, details

Many small details of the template files and stylesheets have been changed. Examples include buttons, search forms, menus (PHP Layers but especially suckerfish (CSS menus)). Also there's been a lot of simplification of selectors in order to have more consistency across features — i.e., making comment posts the same for forums, page comments, blog posts, for example. This means that old stylesheets will have many mismatches when trying to work with the new templates.


Re-implement using a Tiki 3-compatible stylesheet

Old Tiki layouts that are the full width of the page and liquid, with no empty side-margin areas, can use the default tiki.tpl, so won't need their own template. A stylesheet alone is probably all that will be needed for the theme. But it will be necessarily to create a Tiki 3-compatible stylesheet that achieves the old look of the theme. I suggest using one of the theme stylesheets in the Tiki 3 package as a starting point, renaming it, and modifying it to achieve the old look.

Theme option

But an even better solution would be to use a new feature of Tiki 3 called the theme option. When selecting a theme on Tiki 3's Look and Feel admin page or in theme-switching module, sometimes there is a second select dropdown list (such as with the Strasa or The News themes). This extra dropdown list will activate a second CSS file that appends the styling of the main one.

Site admins who want to "customize" an existing theme can now do this easily by making a small CSS file that overrides or adds properties to the primary theme. This way, in site upgrades, the main CSS file (if it is a bundled theme) will get updated, but the theme option file won't be touched, so will continue to adds its extra styling.

To use this method, in the styles/ directory, to add a new option for, e.g., the Feb12 theme, a new directory would be added like styles/feb12/options/. Then the new theme option file would be put in this options directory. If the theme option (called "green" for example) uses images, these images would go in a styles/feb12/options/green/ directory. Check the styles/strasa directory for an example of the necessary arrangment.

Coming up

Specifically, what CSS selectors no longer work, and what has replaced them? I hope to list these sometime soon. In the meantime, pointing FireFox and the Firebug add-on at a page is a great way to find out what CSS stylesheets, selectors and properties are being used for any item on the page. themes.tikiwiki.org is still running Tiki 2 and demoing older themes, so can be used as a reference for sites that have already upgraded to Tiki 3 and need to check the old layouts.

Many combinations to check

The last few days I've been working on the menus and "site header" parts of the themes.

In particular, there are problems in IE6 and, to a lesser extent, IE7 regarding the suckerfish menus. The CSS menus have become kind of a hodge podge in Tiki 3, with some work done on them prior to the last major TikiWiki release, then some refactoring and additions were done during the UI-revamp project, and finally the recent implementation of jquery has added more functionality but also another set of files. The present combination of things works, but isn't the most elegant arrangement. It will get sorted out as jquery is made a more central aspect of the code, I think.

In the meantime, my goal is to have the CSS menus look and work as well as the PHP Layers menus they're replacing. For the most part, this is already accomplished with the exception of some irritating quirks such as flickering in IE6 (apparently due to some javascript conflict).

Logos and banner ads

I was happy and relieved to see that the page-header banner ad will display properly even after the files have been worked on by various people over several months with no one, I think, actually testing the banner functionality. The main banner code seems to be broken, so as far as I can tell it isn't currently possible to configure the normal banner ad displays. But the detail of placing an ad in the header area works fine, and mainly survives the addition of new components in that area in some themes, such as the Coelesce and Strasa log-in and search forms.

Reworking the background image assignments is preventing nasty alignment problems when there's a large logo or logo + text site title + banner. Now the area simply expands, and the navbar, etc. move farther down but with their backgrounds intact and in place. (Well some of the themes being upgraded for Tiki 3 still have some problems, but these'll be fixed before long.)

There'll be a few more days of testing themes and browsers and combinations of items up in the site header area.

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