In early August, Liza from A Maui Blog contacted me about helping her to upgrade her blog to WordPress 3.0. She also wanted to update here main menu. The initial challenge in this was that her theme at the time used some hard-coded button images in a table for the menu, thereby preventing her from being able to easily update her menu items.
The solution? A WordPress 3.0, Twenty Ten child theme. I’ve been doing a lot of work with Twenty Ten child themes for workshops over the last several months and here was another chance to put that theme’s flexibility to the test. As it turned out, the Twenty Ten theme proved once again to be extremely flexible and creating a child theme that closely matched the design of here existing theme, but with the flexibility of WordPress 3.0 menus turned out to be fairly straightforward. Even the button-like appearance of the main menu items was fairly easy to replicate with some basic CSS. They even keep the rounded corners on Firefox and Chrome browsers. Unfortunately Internet Explorer isn’t supporting that yet.
A feature I hadn’t previously worked with was adding additional widget areas and getting the primary and secondary widget areas of Twenty Ten to be side by side. Turns out that adding a new widget area is a pretty simple customization to the theme’s function.php file and getting the sidebars to be side by side was a simple float:left and float:right in the stylesheet.
As it turns out, the biggest challenge with this project wasn’t the custom theme, but rather wrestling with the web host to get the WordPress version upgraded to WordPress 3.0.1. The blog is hosted on 1&1 Hosting, and was using an old version of MySQL. Long story, short – it turned out to be a bit of extra work required to upgrade the MySQL version and modify the .htaccess file to the new version of WordPress to play nice on 1&1 Hosting’s servers. And all of the upgrade required manual installation instead of the nice and easy automatic upgrade found on some hosts like BlueHost.com. And, unfortunately all this hassle resulted in the site being down for short time. Suffice it to say that the experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth for 1&1 Hosting and I won’t be recommending them to anyone.