At long last: Ahimsa 3.0 for WP
August 31st, 2009 by ravi

Update: You can now download this version of the theme from the official WordPress site as well.

Download Ahimsa 3.0 for WordPress

Download Ahimsa 3.0 for WordPress

With apologies for all the delays, and for the incomplete features and issues that remain, I am releasing Version 3.0 of Ahimsa for WordPress.

There is a lot in this new release (hence the bump up to version 3, rather than the 2.3 that was initially planned). Here’s a summary:

First the fine print

This release includes cleanup of the stylesheet. If you have custom CSS changes or equivalent, please beware (also see my offer towards the end of this post). Your custom skins will need to be updated to the new styles. You can do that by checking the “Update Skins” checkbox in the Ahimsa Options page of the admin section of your blog, and then clicking on Save Changes. The AhrenCode supplied skins (Kind of Blue, A Grey Mood) are already updated to the new style, so this step is not required in their case. The corollary is that if you have made custom modifications to these themes, then please save them before you install this version. Finally, as of this release, there is not even a pretense of IE6 support. Sorry, its just too much work.

New Features and Fixes

  • Custom skin editing: if you created a skin in the past and were frustrated by the inability to edit it, this might be a bit of relief. You can now edit the skins you create (or have created) — the limit is that the skin has to be the current selected one. As the above fine print notes, the style sheets have now changed, so follow instructions above to first update any skins.
  • New Skin “Sarvodaya”: this update includes a new earth toned and simplistic skin called Sarvodaya. Give me your thoughts on it!
  • IE Rounded Corners: don’t get excited. This has turned out to be a horrible affair. After evaluating 10 or so JavaScript plugins and libraries, I settled on two that provide some support for rounded corners in Internet Explorer. A lot of disclaimers apply: no rounded corners for the titles, sidebar widgets, the action bubbles, etc; and an artifact: a small white section is displayed under the bottom bar of each post. If all of this is palatable to you, then visit the Ahimsa Options page and turn on IE rounded corners support. If you notice anything worse than the above, turn it off and let me know.
  • Custom modifications support: for your own CSS customisations, or JavaScript snippets and such that you may need to add to the footer, there are now two files that you can use: <code>custom.css</code> (for your style overrides) and <code>footer-custom.php</code> (for your footer snippets). The stylesheet <code>custom.css</code> is loaded last by the theme, so you can override any of the styles in this file. And since these files are external to the theme files, your modifications are safe from theme upgrades (watch out, however, that your theme update does not nuke your entire theme directory, killing your custom files!).
  • Proper Comment Reply Form AJAX behaviour: WP 2.7 introduced the feature of moving the reply box up immediately after a comment when you click to reply. That behaviour was broken in Ahimsa and has now been fixed.
  • Share your skins: this is not a change to Ahimsa itself, but if you have created a custom skin that you want to share you can now do so. See the instructions on the Ahimsa page.
  • W3C XTHML 1.0 Standard validation: many, many fixed to satisfy the W3C validator. One or three issues might persist but most are now gone. Check it out and let me know!
  • Multi-page suppport: Ahimsa did not include support for mutli-page posts. It now does.
  • Other fixes:
    • Fixed input fields in response form: The response form had ridiculously long input fields for Name, URL etc. That has now been fixed.
    • Increased line spacing: makes for easier reading for your audience.
    • New screenshot: the current one dates back to an Ahimsa 1.x release!
    • More information in the Options section
    • Fixed a bug where the date bubble in comments was getting chopped off on the right.
    • And a lot of other minor issues.

Many of you have waited patiently for this update and I hope this is worth the wait. As always, I greatly appreciate your feedback.

And if you have done customisations of the theme with which you need help, or if your skin does not update properly, etc, please do contact me and I will be glad to help.

DropZone makes file transfers fun
August 27th, 2009 by ravi

Author's Choice Did I say file transfers? That’s an injustice because DropZone can do more than file transfers. It can zip and email files, install apps, upload pictures, post them to Twitter or Posterous (did I tell you about Posterous? well, that’s the next post), print stuff (though you really shouldn’t be killing trees in the 21st century), generate short URLs via … and all that for less cost ($10) than it took me to type up this list (what, you don’t think my time is worth $1/minute?).

And if you are capable of coding in Ruby, then DropZone provides a well-documented API using which you can write your own extensions. I plan to write one (though I am not a Ruby programmer) that uploads dropped files to a WordPress blog (using XML-RPC)… using the WordPress provided mechanism (XML-RPC) is useful because uploaded files (images) then show up in the built-in media manager (uploading such files via FTP, SCP, etc., will not have this effect).

Snow Leopard gets less elusive
August 24th, 2009 by ravi

Mac OS X Snow Leopard Logo

Image by Dekuwa via Flickr

The fanboy sites are buzzing today with the news that Apple has announced Aug 28th as the release date for the next version of their operating system. This one is called Snow Leopard and I won’t even attempt to go head to head with the likes of TUAW and John Gruber in trying to tell you all that is awesome about it… so go read what they have to say.

Me, I am wondering what tools I use currently will be replaced by new features that are built into Snow Leopard. For instance, text replacement is now built into the OS, voiding the need for Typinator. Tools that display date in the menu bar can be given the short shrift as well, though some of them support additional features (e.g: interface to iCal). Can the most excellent Formulate Pro be upstaged by the new Text annotation tool and other features in Preview? Will QuickTime X edge out video conversion tools? If you give me $29, I can let you know on Friday! ;-)

A new home: GitHub
August 18th, 2009 by ravi

I am now in the process of moving all my source code to GitHub, an online public repository built on top of the Git version control system. This service includes an internal issue-tracking module, so I will be slowly retiring over the next week or two (16bugs is a great site/service that I greatly recommend to anyone looking for a bug tracker — I am moving not due to any dissatisfaction with them, but because I want to take advantage of GitHub’s tools). What this means is that you can, if you are so inclined, both track my progress online (view known issues, upcoming features and even the changes I make to the code) as well as access the source code, in all its revisions including the latest bleeding edge (which is of course recommended only for the adventurous). If you are a coder and Git aware, and if you have plans to fork the code for some reason, please chat with me.

(yes the email address blurring is an utter FAIL ;-))

Audacity of Tanish: now at
August 12th, 2009 by ravi

Audacity of Tanish for WP (version 0.9.2) has been approved and is now available for download and rating at the site. Please be kind with your ratings ;-).

Audacity of Tanish 0.9.2: A theme for WordPress
August 9th, 2009 by ravi

Download Audacity of Tanish 0.9.2

Download Audacity of Tanish 0.9.2

This post has been updated to provide download link for version 0.9.2 which includes some small but useful fixes.

Audacity of Tanish is a dark coloured theme for WordPress that I am releasing under the GPL. For more info, visit the Audacity of Tanish page, which includes more screenshots, etc. This is version 0.9.1 and it has been tested on Firefox 3.5, Safari 4 and IE7. It should also be available shortly for download from the official WordPress theme site.

A note for the patient and friendly users of Ahimsa for WordPress: this doesn’t mean I don’t love you any more ;-). This theme grew out of a temporary project to understand some WP stuff and play with code cleanup and so on, all targeted towards my next release of Ahimsa. In the process, I realised I had done enough work to make an independent new theme and hence this one. Ahimsa 2.3 will be release as soon as possible (later this month).

GPL and putting food on the table
August 8th, 2009 by ravi

Patrick Ewing infamously proclaimed, in his role as the leader of the player’s union during the heated negotiations with NBA basketball team owners circa 1999, that the strike was an issue of putting food on the table for his children. Ewing and his offspring may not have faced any real threat on the food and shelter front, but it could be argued that it is indeed a question that dominates (and determines) the lives of most human beings. In previous posts ([1], [2]) I offered some responses to Dan Jalkut and John Gruber’s criticism of the GPL and Matt Mullenweg’s defence of it. Both Dan’s criticisms and my responses were centred around his sense that the GPL stifles participation. But the other 800-pound question is: is a GPL model sustainable? And importantly, are the alternative Open Source ones any more so?

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