An Introduction to the Shaped Pixels theme

Welcome to the new Shaped Pixels theme. In the very beginning of this website, our first theme released was called Shaped Pixels, but I will admit I did not make it as robust as it should have been…especially having the name Shaped Pixels applied to it. In a sense, it should have been our flagship theme.

However, with this new theme, we can almost called our flagship theme with the new design, new features, and everything else we’ve put into it….and plan to put into it.

I should mention that this theme will be used for the new 2017 Shaped Pixels website–soon to begin development this month of January, 2017.

The Shaped Pixels theme has a plethora of features, so many that most users won’t need them all, but were added to give you a lot more flexibility when creating your website. The tutorials that I’ve laid out for you will help you get started, whether you have an existing website or you are just beginning, they will take you through the steps based on the live demo site for Shaped Pixels.

The Importance of a Child Theme

This is often missed in documentation, but it’s also a very IMPORTANTpart of building your website with any of our themes. Before you get started, you need to give serious thought on whether you plan to make any theme custom changes to the files or code (other than just CSS) now or later in time. I would recommend you read more about child themes:

Child Theme Info

Then there’s my blog article: 

Why a Child Theme is Smart

Long story short, if you plan to use a child theme, you can install the premade one that came with your theme package download. Install it, activate it, and do all your theme option settings from there. Make sure your parent theme “Shaped Pixels” is installed first. The child theme file you would install is named as shapedpixels-child.zip

Recommended Plugins

Although not required, the following list of plugins will help give you a more enhanced theme like you see from the theme’s demo website. The only exception is that if you want to take advantage of the forum and the shopping style you see on the demo, you will need bbPress and WooCommerce.

  • Better Font Awesome – to add the ability to insert icons into your page or post content with an editor icon generator button
  • Breadcrumb NavXT – For creating breadcrumb navigation
  • Contact Form 7 – For creating forms like the “Contact” form on the demo site
  • Display Widgets – If you’re not using Jetpack, this plugin lets you publish widgets on select pages
  • WP Hide Title – Lets you hide page or post titles from the post editor screen
  • TinyMCE Advanced – A more robust editor with additional features and better editing of pages and posts
  • HTML Editor Syntax Highlighter – Displays HTML code in the editor’s text HTML view (Compliments the TinyMCE Advanced Editor)
  • Remove Widget Titles – Allows you to keep a title on your widget for the admin side, but hides it on the front-end. Perfect for banner images and sliders
  • Widget CSS Classes – Gives you the ability to add styling to widgets
  • Simple Custom CSS – Gives you the ability to override the theme CSS styles without losing your changes when a theme update comes along. Ideal if you don’t use Jetpack which has it’s own module for Custom CSS.
  • Image Widget – Makes adding an image to a sidebar easy
  • Regenerate Thumbnails – This lets you regenerate your website’s thumbnails if your theme (such as Receptive) needs new sizes from existing images in your media library
  • WP Google Maps – This gives you a google map for your contact page
  • SP Shortcodes – This is a special plugin that is included with this theme. You only need it if you plan to change themes so that you can maintain all your shortcodes in content pages and posts because the styles are built into it. Otherwise, if you keep using the theme, you won’t need it as all shortcode styling is part of the theme.

Most of the setup tutorials for this theme will go through most if not all the plugins listed above and to give you a brief introduction of each one and how I used them in the theme’s demo website. Again, the plugins above are recommended, but to achieve everything on the demo site, it’s best to take advantage of each one in your site.

How to Begin

I like to recommend that you start with the introduction to the theme as you are now reading it, but to start with the Basic Setup Tutorials which are common for most if not all of our themes. These are the most basic setup tutorials for creating menus, hiding widget titles, showing widgets on select pages, and more. Once you get through the basics, then you can head off to the Premium Setup Tutorials for this theme by going to the Support home page.

I  recommend that you take it slow when putting your site together with this theme and try not to rush development. Remember that a theme is only a foundation, so what you do with your website and its content is going to be up to you to become creative and to customize it to your specific needs.

Keep Back-Ups!

I know this is a hard habit to get into, but I STRONGLY recommend that you keep regular site back-ups for those unexpected events that causes headaches and frustration when something goes wrong. Always expect the unexpected!

Whether you use a back-up service or a plugin, make sure you keep regular back-ups whenever you update a plugin, a theme, and especially WordPress. Play it safe! Should something go wrong, you have a back-up to restore back to when things were 100%.

 

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