More tinkering in WordPress

Condensing my WordPress blogs (this one and our travel blog) into a single database and moving the associated files solved my immediate problem. I was able then to ‘downgrade’ my hosting service, though the reduced cost has been applied to an extended subscription rather than a refund. I’ll continue to argue that, though with little real hope of a satisfactory resolution. It does give me extra time to consider alternative hosting solutions.

In the process of tidying up I needed to review the files I had in the hosting space. They included some older sites/blogs that I have now incorporated into our travel blog. It is possible that, in the longer term, I might consolidate all of that material within this blog but that would require more consideration and might never happen.

What I did manage was to incorporate a small collection of older sites/blogs into the travel blog. They included material that had originated from email messages Majella sent during our 2001-02 residence in the USA and blogs we had used to record trips with grandchildren in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Adding those sites to the travel blog spawned a series of categories and sub-categories that generated a long list in the sidebar. That list was only going to grow if we continue to travel as we hope to so another solution was needed. That led me into the realm of WordPress widgets and how their visibility can be controlled. I finished with a series of menus that appear at the top level or within specific categories as required. The result is a reasonably convenient navigation structure that can be expanded as necessary.

Some time ago I had created a series of pages in that blog to enable access to Flickr albums for various travel episodes. I took a simple approach to that by pasting links to the Flickr albums that then presented a single large image linked to the album. In this blog I had been using the Flickr Justified Gallery plugin so I installed that to present a collage of images as a more interesting indication of what might be available in the albums.

Although I am reasonably happy with the aesthetics of the Publishable Mag theme that I installed on the travel blog a couple of months ago when I relocated it, I thought it could be improved if the summary page included the dates and authors of posts (Majella does post on it sometimes) and possibly tags. I also wanted the individual posts to have links to next and previous posts in a sequence.

I managed to achieve those goals with some dipping into PHP and the options offered in WordPress. The first step was to create a child theme to enable modification without clashing with updates. The basic configuration for that was simple, though one of the CSS adjustments I had made had to be retained in custom CSS to override the standard because of the way it is implemented.

In its standard form the theme displays the post date on a single post but not for posts on a page with a list of posts. I was able to grab the code to display the date and use it to modify a copy of the function that generates a summary post in the child copy of function.php. Once that was working it was simple enough to find the code for writing a post author and add that to the code I had added. Similarly, I was able to copy the code that displays tags in a page with a single post and paste that in the same function. Tightening up the format by shortening the post excerpt to be displayed was achieved by adding in a standard filter to control the word length of the excerpt.

Adding previous post and next post links to the single posts was simple once I discovered that WordPress offers standard functions for doing that (previous_post_link() and next_post_link()). To push them to left and right edges I needed to add divs with float left and right styles.

I have tinkered with PHP previously, more than 10 years ago, and this really did not require much more than some reading and copy/paste but it has given me some sense that I may be able to make adjustments to achieve the styles that I want rather than simply live with what I can find.