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It has been cold in the San Francisco Bay Area the last week or so… I know, I know, I can hear you out there “Cry me a river, Dave, it’s what you deserve for all those `Another beautiful day in Paradise’ tweets.”
Fine. We’re spoiled here in The City by the Bay. And we like it!
We’re spoiled in more ways than the weather here in San Fran. For example, I’m sitting here in the Automattic lounge on San Francisco’s Embarcadero listening to developer Michael Enslow present the work his company Mister Machine did for Social Media Week.I don’t know Michael personally, but he’s someone I pay attention to because 1. he works with WordPress and 2. he actively develops with HTML5, an important technology you will be using very soon.
You may not know when you’re using HTML5, and that’s ok. Just expect better websites, that’s the take home.
Here’s what’s interesting about the talk:
- The Social Media Week site was built from scratch using a stripped down, in-house WordPress theme template.
- The theme leveraged HTML5Boilerplate and Modernizr to bring cutting edge capability to the website.
- The advantage of using custom post type is being able to get better display of the content on the browser page.
What’s best about all this is hanging out, in person, at the San Francisco WordPress Meetup with about 75 other rabid WordPress aficionados.
Lydia Sugarman, a good friend of mine from the San Francisco entreprenuerial startup circles is here. Ralph Carlson was on his way down from the hills, but his car got cantankerous around Davis (60 miles up the road). No worries, Ralph will be down for a future Meetup. New friends Chantal and Yoli, both talented website designers, are also in the audience.
Woops, someone asked for a show of hands… about 30% of the audience has been working with custom post types and taxonomies. An invisible groundswell.
Stir in custom taxonomies
- Custom taxonomies are to categories as custom post types are to regular posts. This allows more dynamic feeds, as a new custom post can be associated with custom taxonomy.
- Where you would normally see a “Category” metabox on the post editor, you can have a custom taxonomy box.
- Using Brad Williams Custom Post Type UI Plugin for WordPress was a key piece of the implementation puzzle.
This is powerful stuff!
The key to custom taxonomy is defining the elements of the taxonomy. That is, you have to get your taxa in order, taxa being those taxon comprising your taxonomy.
Zach showed how getting this right allowed much more sensible navigation through the Skoll Foundation website. People associated with various issues and causes can be found and listed automatically.
Post formats make life easy for theme developers
Next up: Beau Lebens on, a feature introduced in WordPress 3.1. From the Codex link:
Post Formats is a theme feature introduced with Version 3.1. A Post Format is a piece of meta information that can be used by a theme to customize its presentation of a post. The Post Formats feature provides a standardized list of formats that are available to all themes that support the feature.
Having standard post formats in WordPress Core really helps theme developers.
This is not to be confused with Custom Post Types, even though it is confusing. A custom post type is a reference to the content contained in a post, and nothing to do with how such content may be displayed. WordPress developer Mark Jaquith has an excellent article on Post Formats vs. Custom Post Types. Definitely worth reading if the difference is important to you.
Mixed media socialization
You’ve undoubtedly heard of mixed media art, maybe even seen it in real life. Certainly, if you’ve ever been to Burning Man, that’s about as mixed as media gets.
A while back, in a comment elsewhere, I described social media as getting the “social,” and not worrying overmuch about the medium. While I’m definitely not the most relentlessly social person, since I’ve started reaching out in person to people I know from online, I’ve noticed a nice carryover effect: the offline and online work together.
If you can find a WordPress or marketing or writing or some other group or meetup close by, attend!
The upshot: if you’re not out there getting some face time with your online colleagues, consider reducing some of your online time and increasing your offline time.
What’s your experience? Are you getting out there and pounding some pavement? Is it helping? Hurting? Comment below!