About Versions and Fixes

Posted by – November 17, 2008

We have a very-roughly monthly release schedule, and as our infrequently-honored date of the 20th approaches, the fix I have is a good one, but the only one: Anonymous contributed to the sibling sp theme a new background header image in PNG form at just 10% of the original’s size.

If there are other corners we could tidy, let us know with a comment here – that includes providing specific examples for the reported issue with some AJAX sidebar widgets and Simplish v2.1.2, as well as the question about the importance of threaded comment support -vs- the simplicity of loading no JavaScript.

Sunday Sighting – Inte en jävla blogg

Posted by – November 16, 2008

Very nifty rework of the simple Simplish base into the theme on Inte en jävla blogg. I don’t read Swedish, but I know cupcakes make me happy, too!

From what I can make out from systrans and Briannatrans, the author had a good day at work. Good for her, and nice work on that theme, too.

Not about JavaScript

Posted by – November 15, 2008

In a context completely unrelated to “threaded” discussion comments on blog posts, Rob Pike once wrote:

Threads are like salt. I like salt, you like salt, we all like salt. But we eat more pasta than salt.

Implementing (what will eventually be) WordPress 2.7′s new threaded comments is not difficult, and doing so yields a moderately useful new organization element: threading, or individual replies, similar to the presentation of discussion forums, many newsreaders, the Gmail message list, or the Twitter @. This post by Ottodestruct has plenty of info to get you started against the latest subversion tip to get threaded comments working in your theme.

Many themes are built with, even around, JavaScript. If Simplish already loaded even one script, we’d certainly add the cool new threads. But Simplish is supposed to be simple, and it is supposed to be a feature that the theme loads no JavaScript in a default configuration.

I will probably link to a quick alpha Simplish with cut-and-paste test code for a threaded comments template shortly, but I’m interested in opinions right now.

Simplish Sibling

Posted by – October 25, 2008

I like working with the Habari publishing software, and even moved my personal site to a Habari base recently. In that process, I created a sorta-port of Simplish — more of a sibling version, really — for Habari blogs. It’s called sp, and takes its moniker from the function prefix used in Simplish: sp_. You can check out a demo of sp, or download the theme for either the release, or the svn, versions of Habari, but I haven’t put together a slick theme site like this one yet.

Sp has the usual suspects from Simplish, like microformats (hAtom posts and hCards for their authors), clean and terse styling that loosely imitates the design of Jeffrey Hardy’s Scribbish “theme for stuff”, wrapped in valid markup output to the browser. It’s just implemented in the leaner, more perspicuous idioms of the Habari RawPHPEngine.

Simplish version 2.1.2

Posted by – October 20, 2008

This release contains fixes for some minor bugs, and switches to relative (em) font sizing.

  • Replace deprecated get_settings() call with bloginfo().
  • Improve and simplify hCards for authors, commenters, and the theme footer link, removing mis-used n class (thanks Martin McEvoy @
  • Further define and improve Windows fall-back fonts in CSS (thanks Demetris @
  • Define fonts with relative (em) rather than absolute (px) sizes, allowing resizing in IE6 (thanks
  • Specify body element background-color (thanks
  • Use a more humane representation of the date in day archive page h1 element (no leading zero).

Download Simplish version 2.1.2 here, or see it soon in the WordPress themes directory.

Simplish version 2.1.1

Posted by – September 22, 2008

We focused on cleaner, more orderly CSS and some code factoring in this release. Visual changes are minor, but post metadata display is tighter, while line heights have been widened ever-so-slightly for easier readability in long text passages.

  • Fix spacing below Tag Cloud sidebar widget above certain elements (thanks
  • Rename hCard generator functions more rationally.
  • Uncompress line heights.
  • Remove explicit permalink from entry meta display; entry title now serves uniformly.
  • Remove the Meta label from entry meta section; unnecessary.
  • Add per-comment permalink on comment date.
  • Style more basic elements: table and dl styles improved/added (adopted bits of Blueprint CSS).
  • Removed remaining uses of visual alignright/alignleft convenience classes in favor of more-semantic class names in the template markup.
  • Add entry meta display to image attachment template.
  • Improve fall-back fonts in CSS (thanks
  • Split entry title/byline and meta into include files that produce the main hAtom microformatting.

Download Simplish version 2.1.1 here, or see it soon in the WordPress themes directory.

Erlang Info @ spawn_link

Posted by – September 16, 2008

Now that Mitchell Hashimoto has started up his outstanding Erlang notes and links blog spawn_link, I’ve already learned more about Erlang and how she is wrote than I ever knew – and we’ve been running ejabberd for remote developer chat for almost a year.

Of course I found spawn_link because it’s running Simplish – but I was subscribed to the feed before I left. Mitchell’s post about grouping program parts together into single-management-point units with Erlang’s application module was enlightening, and like a lot I learn about Erlang, describes runtime features that certainly evoke, if not replace, those of the operating system.

Anyway, this isn’t a post about Erlang, but about a cool site running the theme, so I’ll just say: Vive le CSP!

Simplish Chromed

Posted by – September 3, 2008

In Chrome like a Harley

Like everyone else, I wanted to check out Google’s latest. So today I grabbed the Chrome beta on a Vista virtual machine (still trying to get that taste out of my mouth) and flipped quickly through the pages of Simplish. Even on the beastly Vista, the multi-process-style Chrome has a light snappy feel. All things being relative in big, GUI apps, I’m not sure if it’s Chrome that’s fast, or just that my recent browser, Firefox, is so very slow.

Everything in the theme looked normal in Chrome’s WebKit to my (fairly distracted) eye, and that brings our tested browsers list to:

FreeBSD and Linux

Firefox 2, 3 (on various lunix); Konqueror… (on Kubuntu 8.0.4, which is KDE 3.5.x I think.)


Firefox 2, 3; Camino 1.6.x; Safari 3.1.x (all on Mac OS X v. 10.4.11)

Plan 9

Simplish degrades rather nicely in the basic Abaco native browser, and in the peripatetically cross-platform Inferno‘s Charon. I have posted simple test posts from Abaco, as well (though that’s nothing to do with the theme). ;-)


Internet Explorer 6 (Windows 2000), 7 (XP & Vista); Firefox 2, 3 (Vista); Safari 3 (Vista)

Simplish version 2.1

Posted by – September 1, 2008

What began as a couple patches for a minor 2.0.1 bump grew into more extensive 2.1 improvements:

  • Trackback URI and Comments: combine display into a single element.
  • Don’t display Category in post meta box for Uncategorized posts.
  • Fix empty li element by displaying nothing on posts without tags. (Thanks Tim Hamilton.)
  • Display dates on posts and comments now honor date format settings in wp-admin -> Settings -> General. (Thanks demetris from
  • Remove header_shadow.gif. Alignment changes by a few pixels; the blog title underline is now a CSS border, not an image.
  • Fix bug in sp_vallery() gallery shortcode override to handle links and HTML in gallery image captions.
  • Fix bug in sp_vallery() that created extra empty gallery div. (See this issue in upstream Sandbox code.)
  • Standardize and simplify use of text symbols:
    • [ ] (logged-in user UI elements)
    • | (element separation)
    • - (title element separation)
    • « » (chronological traversal)
  • Adopt rel=home in header and footer links to blog’s home page.
  • Replace all remaining comments_popup_link() calls with comments_link()/comments_number().
  • Don’t show post counts in default sidebar’s Archives and Categories lists.
  • A little more prep for gettext internationalization.
  • CSS cleanups and simplifications for some double-definitions. (Thanks
  • PHP code cleanups.
  • (Continued) Re-verification of posts and page templates for hAtom/hCard and XHMTL/CSS validity.

Download 2.1 right here, or see it soon in the WordPress themes directory.

Exceedingly Clean (like Paul's Grandpa)

Posted by – August 20, 2008

Simplish made an appearance on’s 5-theme shortlist for WordPress. I almost missed the trackback because I was moving the demo blog to make way for this space.

In the end, op111′s demetris chose to apply his own styling to Scott Wallick‘s excellent Sandbox theme. I came close to doing the same thing when I went looking for a snazzy ‘default’-kinda theme for’s use – and for my own blog at the Labs. I decided to adopt and update Kenny/Jeffrey‘s ScribbishWP, but since I started changing and departing from both ScribbishWP (in code) and Scribbish itself (in style), the themes like Sandbox and blog.txt have inspired choices for Simplish. We even copy their code: the two basic hCard producer functions used in Simplish 2.0 are derived from blog.txt source (closely enough that Scott’s copyright has joined the NOTICE.)

op111′s list has some references to the many uses folks make of the Sandbox plus some chameleon CSS – Sandbox comes out of the box looking like 1995, but can be made into anything you can tweak into and copy out of Firebug. My favorite is still Sandbox co-creator Andy Skelton’s re-implementation of WordPress’s default/kubrick theme atop Sandbox.