I stumbled across the Graphene Theme today, and at first glance, I thought it looked good, had great readability with nice styling and a good use of white space, but didn’t really think it was all that awesome. I checked out the demo, and something caught my eye. I noticed the dual menus, the slider, the three text boxes just above the footer, and then I saw it. Yes, IT! In the demo, under more page layouts, there’s an entry titled “Test With Secret Password“. I tried a few passwords, like “test”, “password”, etc, then “**********”, and sure enough, the post opened up and showed the complete text. That is so cool. If you figure out the password, let us know in the comments!
Imagine – you want to share some download links with a few people, but don’t want the entire world to see them. Use that gimmick, e-mail the password to your friends, and that’s it.
I have no clue how secure it is. I wouldn’t use it at the NSA, for example, but I’m sure it’s fine for things that aren’t too incriminating.
After checking out the demo, looking at the shortcodes and native plug-in support (WP-PageNavi, WP-CommentNavi, and Wp-Mail), I went back and read more about the features of this theme. I saw something really interesting – Action Hooks. After checking that out, I was blown away. Let’s look at this is more detail.
What are action hooks? Well, without getting too goofy here, WordPress works in many mysterious ways. One of those mysteries is called “hooks”, and hooks provide a way to add functionality to WordPress. An action hook means “do this when this action is initiated”. Programmers use these hooks in theme development, plug-in development, and so on. What’s really cool is, I’ve never seen it exposed to the blog owner before. This is pretty revolutionary.
So what are they good for? People always want to customize their themes. Say you find a cool theme, install it, and it looks pretty good. Then you think “hey – what if there was another text block with some default text over every post?”. you could easily modify the theme’s template files to add that box, and the text, and toss in a little CSS styling. That works great. However, there’s a little problem. As soon as you upgrade the theme, any customizations you made to the theme’s templates are gone. Wiped out, deleted, sayonara, hasta la vista, baby! Hooks are the answer. When you add your custom HTML to the “graphene_before_post_content” Action Hook field, and your theme loads, whatever you put in that field is rendered and shown just above the post content, on every post in your blog. Sweet. Say you wanted to add an advertising banner just above the post content? This is a great way to do it.The author has built in so many access points to the Action Hooks it’s simply mind boggling. You can completely customize this theme and make it your own.
I have a number of blogs out there, and I’m always looking for new themes. I like having a lot of options available – I don’t like it when my sites all look the same.
Whatever you put there, the real point is that you don’t lose anything when your theme updates. Everything is stored in the WordPress database, so it doesn’t go away. You do want to test your changes, of course. If your styles are wrong, or you don’t close an HTML tag, it could destroy the layout of everything after that point. So, plug in your code, save it, reload you page and check it out. It it’s not working, modify and test again, or delete it from the field and go have a beer. There’s always tomorrow.
There are far too many Action Hooks to list here, so I’ll let you read about it on your own time. There are also way too many features to list, but I’ll pass on a few of the ones I think most people would like to know about:
- Built in JQuery Slider – grabs it’s data from several sources
- Several built-in layouts
- Styling shortcodes built into the post editing toolbar
- Ability to customize almost every color, border, etc, in the admin
- Custom header images, also rotating header images
- Custom backgrounds
- Three custom menu positions (!)
- Built in Adsense placement
- and a ton more. I mean, a lot more.
One more thing – the theme Author has also developed the Graphene Mobile theme that works on I-pads, Android phones and tablets, and any Smartphone. This one in’t free, it’s $19.00, which is a super cheap way to get your blog on mobile phones. The most awesome thing about it is that you don’t even need to use it with the Graphene theme itself! It will work with any theme! Now, that’s a big stretch to me. I use a few very complex themes with bizarre short codes and tricky options. I’m not certain it will really render everything correctly on a mobile phone. I’ll need to buy the thing and test it out. I’m sure the theme works as described, but I think some themes will not work with it. Does that make sense? It does come with a 7 day money back guarentee, which seems a little short to me. Should be 30 days. But whatever – it’s not my decision to make :
If you want an easy to use theme with premium features,you really need to try this one. I want to point out, you never need to use all the advanced stuff, but you are certainly encouraged to play around and try them out. This theme works perfectly “out of the box”, though you will want to walk through the basic configuration options and set it up a little. That part is easy – really.
The Graphene WordPress Theme is versatile enough to use on 5 different blogs and have 5 different looks. No, make that 50. Get it today.