With the imminent release of Graphene 1.6, here’s what you should know before you upgrade.

At the time of publishing of this post, I have already submitted Graphene 1.6 to the WordPress.org Theme Repository. However,  you should know that it might take anywhere from several hours to several weeks before the theme is published on the repository, as each theme is reviewed by the WordPress Theme Review Team before they are made live. In the mean time, let’s see what Graphene 1.6 has in store for you, and where it might trip you up.

What’s new

The new column width options in Graphene 1.6

With each major release comes a number of major new features. The highlights of this release are the customisable column width, as well as compatibility support for bbPress. Yes, you can now resize the width of the theme and each of its columns to your heart’s content, and install bbPress so that you can shout about it to your visitors and have them shout back at you.

There are also three new languages being added for the theme, which are Bulgarian (bg_BG), Urdu (ur_UR), and Serbian (sr_RS). This brings a total of 26 languages the theme has been translated into. Translating the theme is no small task, so kudos and thanks so much to those translators who have contributed their time and effort to localising the theme. Make sure you check out my video tutorial on how to make the most of these translations.

The Editor Style has also been updated, so that it now reflects the front end styling of your post. This means that while writing a new post or page, the content that you write in the WP Editor will closely match the style they will be displayed in when they are published. This should make it easier for you to lay out your content, and brings the editor closer to being true WYSIWYG. The Editor Style will also reflect the width of the content area, according to your column settings and Page Template being used for the page.

For those with menu that span multiple lines, the styling has also been updated to accommodate up to two lines of menu items. Note though that it’s probably much better to organise your menu into multiple dropdown menus rather than listing each menu item as a top level menu. It is better organised that way and avoid clutter in the navigation menu.

Squashed bugs

There are also a number of bugfixes, including the annoying Twitter widget bug where it won’t display any tweets if the total number of tweets you have is less than the number of tweets the widget is configured to display.

The list of pings are now displayed even when there are no comments. Automatically embedded videos will also now have the proper width according to the width of the content area they are in.

You can see the full list of bugfixes in the theme’s changelog.

What to watch out for

There has been a major reorganisation of the theme’s files in this version, due to the functions.php file becoming unwieldingly long. As a result, the files that some action hooks reside in may have changed. If you are using the Action Hooks Widget Areas, make sure click on the Rescan action hooks button in Graphene Options > Advanced > Action Hooks Widget Areas. This will force the theme to rescan the action hooks in the theme and updates the list of action hooks.

There is also some style and layout refresh in this version. This, coupled with the reorganisation of the theme’s files, as well as the splitting of the loop.php file into loop-single.php and loop-page.php, may cause some of your customisations to be out of sync, even if they are implemented in a child theme. The best way to go about this is to look for areas where this occurs, and update your customisations accordingly. The splitting of the loop.php file may also require you to attach functions that were previously attached to a single action hook to multiple action hooks so that they appear in both posts and pages.

The positioning of sidebars has also been modified to provide better consistency. Previously, the sidebar named Sidebar Widget Area is always displayed first before Sidebar Two Widget Area. This means that in two-column mode, Sidebar Widget Area will always be displayed regardless of whether the sidebar is on the left or the right. This also causes the Sidebar Widget Area to be displayed on the left hand side in three-column mode. In Graphene 1.6, the Sidebar Widget Area will always be displayed on the right, and Sidebar Two Widget Area will always be displayed on the left, regardless of the column mode being used.

Also, some of the theme’s images have been modified for this release, so if you’re using any sort of caching plugins or softwares at all (including, but not limited to, W3TC and Cloudflare), please force them to clear the cache. And always refresh your website’s pages by pressing CTRL + F5. Otherwise, your browser may use the images and stylesheets from the previous version, which may cause your website to look weird and unsavory.

Changelog

The changes listed in this post are just the highlights of this release, and do not reflect the full set of changes.

For the full changelog, head over to the theme’s demo site.

Credits

The Graphene theme is a community effort, and a lot of people have contributed to its development.

I would like to express my gratitude especially to the translators and beta testers, whose feedbacks and bug reports have been invaluable.

Also thanks to Jeffrey Tummers for contributing codes and for co-developing the theme.

Not to forget the Support Forum moderators and volunteers, particularly Josh Lobe, Kenneth J. Odle, and Prasanna. You guys have been a huge help, and I’m sure a huge number of the theme’s users feel the same way.