Category: Code

Always check your diffs

One habit that I’ve gotten into that has saved me from looking like an idiot nearly as often is to always look at a diff before I commit. I don’t do this as much in Mercurial, but with SVN when you do automatic deployments to testing servers, a stray alert in your javascript or var_dump in your php can screw up other people’s work. I wrote a small bash script to make it easier for me to check my diffs. Feel free to make it your own. If you have any suggestions for improving it, I’m always looking for ways to improve my dev process. I call it difff for:


difff() {
svn diff > ~/diff.diff
vim ~/diff.diff

EDIT: Make sure to check out the comments below to see Jon Cave’s take on this.

Adding a twitter box to the Profile page in WordPress

I haven’t used AIM in years and I haven’t used Yahoo Messager in even longer.  What I do use is twitter.  Therefore, having a box in the WordPress admin for twitter name is better and with some code I wrote for the , super easy.

add_filter(‘user_contactmethods’, ‘jorbin_user_contactmethods’);

* Removes AIM, YAHOO, and Jabber boxes from profile page and adds Twitter in it’s place
function jorbin_user_contactmethods($user_contactmethods){
$new_user_contactmethods[‘twitter’] = __(‘Twitter’);

return $new_user_contactmethods;

Filtering user_contactmethods is one of the easiest things you can do. All you need to do is return an array where the key is the code based name you want and the value is the public facing name. Easy. As. Pie.

Remove all default header images in a Twenty Ten Child Theme

Despite the beauty of (and cool stories behind) the default images in twenty ten, If you’re building a twenty ten child theme, there is a chance that you won’t want them to appear as options on the custom header screen. This simple snippit of code in your child theme’s functions.php file will deregister the default images. If you use this, I strongly encourage you to add your own in replacement. Check out my 2010 child theme tutorial to learn more about extending twenty ten.


function jorbin_remove_twenty_ten_headers(){
unregister_default_headers( array(
‘path’ ,

add_action( ‘after_setup_theme’, ‘jorbin_remove_twenty_ten_headers’, 11 );


That’s all. Happy Coding!

How to remove a nav menu location in WordPress 3.0.0

This function is in WordPress 3.0.1. You can now just call unregister_nav_menu and don’t need to put it in your child theme

One of the great additions to WordPress 3.0 is navigation menus.  One of the aspects that it contains is the ability for a theme to register a nav menu location and for the user to assign any menu they want to that location.  GREAT!  Except that a missing piece of functionality is the ability for Child Themes to remove a location that it might no longer want.  I’ve created a ticket and submitted a patch, but if you need that functionality now, just add the code below to you child theme’s functions.php file:
if (! function_exists(‘unregister_nav_menu’) ):
function unregister_nav_menu( $location ) {
global $_wp_registered_nav_menus;

if (is_array($_wp_registered_nav_menus) && array_key_exists( $location, $_wp_registered_nav_menus ) ){
unset( $_wp_registered_nav_menus[$location] );
return true;

return false;


Then all you need to do is call:
//Remove Twenty Ten Default Menu Location
At some point after the nav menu is registered. I like to use the init hook.

PHPXref for WordPress, BuddyPress, bbPress and Thematic: Local and Updated

I often am working on a variety of WordPress, BuddyPress, and BBPress projects and enjoy working from a lot of not internet connected locations such as trains, buses, parks and the occasional rooftop. As such it’s very handy for me to a local version of PHPXref documents for the current trunk of these products. I’ve written a handy bash script to handle this for me.


# define locations

# check our internet connection
wget -q –tries=10 –timeout=5 -O /tmp/wordpress.svn &> /dev/null
if [ ! -s /tmp/wordpress.svn ];then

# Remove old version
rm -r $PHPXREFLOCATION/output/*

# SVN up each piece
cd $PHPXREFLOCATION/source/thematic
svn up
cd $PHPXREFLOCATION/source/wordpress
svn up
cd $PHPXREFLOCATION/source/bbpress
svn up
cd $PHPXREFLOCATION/source/buddypress
svn up

# Build our new phpxref

#remove the tmp file so it’s not there for next time
rm /tmp/wordpress.svn


I have a cron set up to run this at a few intervals that are least likely to bother me (currently 5am and 4pm). I hope this script helps you out. If you have a similar or better one, please let me know.

Dirty Ten, a Twenty Ten Child Theme using Output Buffers

After making Thirty Ten, my first Twenty Ten Child Theme, Devin Price asked for an example of a child theme that used output buffers.I’m not a big fan of using output buffers in my themes, but it’s a worthwhile trick to have in your bag. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. It makes code harder to read.
  2. It makes it so html isn’t being sent immediately to the browser, which often means your loading time increases

That being said, you shouldn’t be afraid to use them. Just make sure you are documenting your code (which you should be doing anyway), and that you are using some sort of caching so you don’t have to regenerate the page on every load (also something you should be doing anyway).

I’m going to do a quick example and show you how to make a twenty-ten child theme that adds a widget area above the image and below the Site title and Description. To do this we are going to start our buffer at wp-head and then use the filters used for the header image as an action to end it and add our widget.

[php]<br><br>add_action(‘wp_head’, ‘head_buffer’);
* Start our buffer and Use filters as actions and add them to end our buffer depending on the header image
function head_buffer(){
if ( is_singular() && has_post_thumbnail( $post-&gt;ID ) && $width > HEADER_IMAGE_WIDTH ) :
add_filter(‘post_thumbnail_html’, ‘clear_buffer_post_thumbnail’);
else :
add_filter(‘theme_mod_header_image’, ‘clear_buffer_header_image’);

* Our filter is really an action
function clear_buffer_header_image($html){
return $html;

* The Buffer ender. Clear it, add to it, echo it.
* Replace the blank space after our site description div with our header widget. This is called by both
* of our action psuedo filters
function clear_buffer(){
$buffer = ob_get_clean();
$header = preg_replace(‘#&lt;div id="site-description"&gt;.*&lt;/div&gt;#’,"$0".new_header_widget() ,$buffer);
echo $header;

function clear_buffer_post_thumbnail($html){
return $html;

Our next step is to register our widget and add a function that will add the content of our widget.

* This adds the content of our widget. Could we use a new sidebar-*.php file? yes, but it’s easier to keep all of this in one file

function new_header_widget(){
<div id="headerwidget" class="widget-area">
<ul class="xoxo">
<?php if ( ! dynamic_sidebar( ‘header-widget-area’ ) ) : // begin Header widget area ?>
<li id="search" class="widget-container widget_search">
<?php get_search_form(); ?&>
<li id="archives" class="widget-container">
<h3 class="widget-title"&><?php _e( ‘The Maker’, ‘dirtyten’ ); ></h3>
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=’’&gt;Wordpress Developer Aaron Jorbin&lt;/a&gt; creates themes and plugins for both the masses and the individual&lt;/li&gt;<br> &lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=’’&gt;Thirty Ten&lt;/a&gt; is a Twenty Ten Child theme designed to teach you how to make child themes&lt;/li&gt;<br> &lt;/ul&gt;<br> &lt;/li&gt;<br><br> &lt;li id="meta" class="widget-container"&gt;<br> &lt;h3 class="widget-title"&gt;&lt;?php _e( ‘Meta’, ‘twentyten’ ); ?&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;<br> &lt;ul&gt;<br> &lt;?php wp_register(); ?&gt;<br> &lt;li&gt;&lt;?php wp_loginout(); ?&gt;&lt;/li&gt;<br> &lt;?php wp_meta(); ?&gt;<br> &lt;/ul&gt;<br> &lt;/li&gt;<br>&lt;?php endif; // end Header widget area ?&gt;<br> &lt;/ul&gt;<br> &lt;/div&gt;&lt;!– #headerwidget .widget-area –&gt;<br>&lt;?<br> $widget_area = ob_get_clean();<br> return $widget_area;<br>}<br><br>add_action( ‘init’, ‘dirtyten_widgets_init’ );<br><br>/**<br>* Register our widget<br>*<br>*/<br>function dirtyten_widgets_init() {<br> // Area 1<br> register_sidebar( array (<br> ‘name’ =&gt; ‘Header Widget Area’,<br> ‘id’ =&gt; ‘header-widget-area’,<br> ‘description’ =&gt; __( ‘The widget area in the Header. Optimized to use three widgets’ , ‘dirtyten’ ),<br> ‘before_widget’ =&gt; ‘&lt;li id="%1$s" class="widget-container %2$s"&gt;’,<br> ‘after_widget’ =&gt; "&lt;/li&gt;",<br> ‘before_title’ =&gt; ‘&lt;h3 class="widget-title"&gt;’,<br> ‘after_title’ =&gt; ‘&lt;/h3&gt;’,<br> ) );<br><br>}<br><br>[/php]

And that’s about it. It’s 111 lines after comments and white space. I’d strongly encourage you to add your own widgets, unless you want to be advertising for me ;).

The only other part is our css to style the widgets. This is also simple:

[css]<br>@import url('../twentyten/style.css');<br><br>#headerwidget{<br>clear:both;<br>width: 100%;<br>}<br><br>#headerwidget ul li{<br>float: left;<br>width: 280px;<br>margin-right: 30px;<br><br>}<br>[/css]

You can check out Dirty Ten, or Download it and use it.  You can also clone it from the mercurial repository.

Introducing Thirty Ten, my guide to creating a Twenty Ten Child Theme

WordPress 3.0 is introducing a new theme that is light years ahead of Kubrick (also known as the old WordPress default), that looks so good you won’t even mind running it on a live site. In addition to being a beautiful theme in it’s own right, it’s also easy to build upon and create your own child themes for. I’ll show you just how easy it is to make some substantial changes. We are going to move the two column Twenty Ten to a three column theme I’m going to call Thirty Ten.

I’m going to lay out a couple of ground rules for myself when building this theme:

  1. I’m not allowed to override any of the template files with my own version. I want this to be as easy to maintain as possible. This means that I have to use footer.php, header.php and all of the other files.
  2. No output buffers This means I can’t use an output buffer and then regular expressions to get around rule number one.
  3. I want the reader of this article to be able to take and borrow any piece of this theme and use it to modify their own theme Every part of this theme and tutorial is licensed under the GNU public license, just like WordPress

The first step is to create a theme folder and put a blank style.css and functions.php in it. This is where the bulk of the changes are going to come in. into our style.css document we are going to insert our header that looks like:

Theme Name: Thirty Ten
Theme URI:
Description: A child theme of the 2010 default theme for WordPress.
Author: Aaron Jorbin based on work by the WordPress team
Author url:
Version: 1.0
Tags: black, blue, white, three-columns, fixed-width, custom-header, theme-options, threaded-comments, sticky-post, translation-ready, microformats, rtl-language-support, editor-style
Template: twentyten
@import url(‘../twentyten/style.css’);

My next step is to follow the sage advice: “good artists borrow, great artists steal” and will use the 3c-fixed.css layout style from thematic. I also need to add a fix to make it work with the current Twenty Ten style in all browsers.

@import url(‘3c-fixed.css’);
#access{overflow: visible;}
#main{clear: both;}

So in four lines of css, I’ve switched Twenty Ten from a two column theme to a three column theme. SWEET!

That’s how flexible twenty-ten is. I want to do more then that though, because that alone is boring. Let’s now move our navigation menu to be above our image. This step we are going to be almost as easy.

#header #access{
top: -240px;
position: relative;
#site-title {
margin:0 0 44px;

All we are doing this time is making the site-title have a bit more of a bottom margin to bump down the image, and then filling that space with our menu. I also want to make a few cosmetic changes to the default link colors and also change the formatting in the footer a bit (which will make a lot more sense after you’ve read the rest of this tutorial) To do this I added the following css:

/* Change our default link colors */
/* Modify the footer to allow for a bigger description and nicer looking links */
width: 535px;

#site-generator a{
background: none;
padding: 0 7px;

#jorbin-link a:link, #jorbin-link a:visited, #jorbin-link a:hover,#jorbin-link a:active {

#generator-link a{
background:transparent url(../twentyten/images/wordpress.png) no-repeat scroll left center;

Speaking of the header image, as much as I like the default ones, I want to include some of my own. That’s incredibly easy and leads us to our first additions to the functions.php file.

For this component, Aaron Hockley of Hockley Photography was nice enough to let me use a few of his photos that are available for you to download and use with Thirty Ten. To register some additional headers I’m using the following function:

add_action( ‘after_setup_theme’, ‘thirtyten_setup’ );
function thirtyten_setup(){

/* Add additional default headers All Photos are by Aaron Hockley of Hockley Photography */
$thirty_ten_dir = get_bloginfo(‘stylesheet_directory’);
register_default_headers( array (
‘lights’ => array (
‘url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/lights.jpg",
‘thumbnail_url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/lights-thumbnail.jpg",
‘description’ => __( ‘Lights by Aaron Hockley’, ‘thirtyten’ )
‘train’ => array (
‘url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/train.jpg",
‘thumbnail_url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/train-thumbnail.jpg",
‘description’ => __( ‘Train by Aaron Hockley’, ‘thirtyten’ )
‘bridge’ => array (
‘url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/bridge.jpg",
‘thumbnail_url’ => "$thirty_ten_dir/images/bridge-thumbnail.jpg",
‘description’ => __( ‘Bridge by Aaron Hockley’, ‘thirtyten’ )


This will add three choices for default headers to your site. It keeps all of the original default headers that come with Twenty Ten. If I wanted to get rid of any, I could use unregister_default_headers and just pass the name of the one I wanted to get ride of. Another option would be to create my own version of twentyten_setup. If you do that, make sure you include all the parts of that function you want to keep.

Another change that I want to make is the read more link. Twenty Ten uses the function twentyten_excerpt_more to make the link say ” …Continue reading → “. I’m going to make my own version that says ” …finish reading ” followed by the blog title. I do this by first adding the following function:

function thirtyten_excerpt_more($more){
return ‘&nbsp;… <a href="’. get_permalink() . ‘">’ . __(‘finish reading ‘.get_the_title() .”, ‘twentyten’) . ‘</a>’;

Next I just have to deregister twentyten_excerpt_more and register my own. By adding the following lines to the function thirtyten_setup that I created earlier, I make sure that we remove twentyten_excerpt_more after it’s been created:

remove_filter( ‘excerpt_more’, ‘twentyten_excerpt_more’ );
add_filter (‘excerpt_more’, ‘thirtyten_excerpt_more’ );

The Next change I want to make is to some of the strings. I want to have a slightly unique footer and I also want to change the meta text on single pages. As I learned in mangling strings for fun and profit/by WordPress lead Developer Peter Westwood, using the WordPress internationalization functions allows me to change almost any string in WordPress (or in this case, Twenty Ten). I use the following code for that purpose:

class Thirty_Ten_Text_Wrangler {
function site_generator($translation, $text, $domain) {
$translations = &get_translations_for_domain( $domain );
if ( $text == ‘Proudly powered by <span id="generator-link">%s</span>.’ ) {
return $translations->translate( ‘Proudly powered by<span id="jorbin-link"><a href="">Aaron Jorbin\’s Idea</a></span>, <apan id="hockley-link"><a href="">Aaron Hockley / Hockley Photography</a>, and <span id="generator-link"> </span>’ );
return $translation;
function single_meta($translation, $text, $domain) {
$translations = &get_translations_for_domain( $domain );
// With Tags
if ( $text == ‘This entry was posted in %1$s and tagged %2$s. Bookmark the <a title="Permalink to %4$s" rel="bookmark" href="%3$s">permalink</a>. Follow any comments here with the <a title="Comments RSS to %4$s" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="%5$s">RSS feed for this post</a>.’ ) {
return $translations->translate( ‘This entry was posted in %1$s and tagged %2$s. It can always be found at <a title="Permalink to %4$s" rel="bookmark" href="%3$s">it\’s permalink</a>. Follow any comments left here with the <a title="Comments RSS to %4$s" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="%5$s">RSS feed for this post</a>.’ );
elseif( $text == ‘This entry was posted in %1$s. Bookmark the <a title="Permalink to %4$s" rel="bookmark" href="%3$s">permalink</a>. Follow any comments here with the <a title="Comments RSS to %4$s" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="%5$s">RSS feed for this post</a>.’ ) {
return $translations->translate( ‘This entry was posted in %1$s. It can always be found at <a title="Permalink to %4$s" rel="bookmark" href="%3$s">it\’s permalink</a>. Follow any comments left here with the <a title="Comments RSS to %4$s" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="%5$s">RSS feed for this post</a>.’ );

return $translation;

add_filter(‘gettext’, array(‘Thirty_Ten_Text_Wrangler’, ‘site_generator’), 10, 4);
add_filter(‘gettext’, array(‘Thirty_Ten_Text_Wrangler’, ‘single_meta’), 10, 4);

The final change is that I want to change how my authors page looks, or at least how posts show up on them. Twenty-ten makes it easy for child themes to have their own loop on a specific page type. All it takes is creating a loop-templatename.php  file and inserting your loop there.  So I made loop-author.php file and my custom loop lives there.

If you want to download this theme and use it for your own, you can Download thirtyten here. Also, take a look at to see this Twenty Ten Child Theme in action. And I’ve added all the code to a mercurial Google code site for you to easily make changes to. And finally make sure to comment below if you use it or do something cool with it so I can check it out.

UPDATE: I’ve added the ability to pick which style of three column theme you want.  Check out to see the options.  And Follow the Thirty Ten subsite for more changes