WordPress is display software which enables setting up and functioning of a personal website blog. Initially designed for computers, the software is now finding application in hand held, mobile devices like Smartphones, Blackberries and Tablets. These devices are now relevant for website publishing as they are popular, not simply used as phones and frequently used in commercial and social networking mediums. They are limited, however, having different operating systems with varying memory capacities. They also have limited hardware size and cache. There is also the question of smaller screen size and different hardware. WordPress software, therefore, designed and meant for computers, needs to be modified, configured and adapted for these devices. They may not work properly if simply downloaded.
One of the important features of WordPress is the “theme” which determines how the website will look. This is offered in the form of several ready-made templates called “themes”, any of which the user can select. These, however, having been designed for use in computers, need to be adapted for use in mobile devices. This paper deals with the methods available to enable the themes to be properly displayed when used in iPads.
A “theme” of any web page is “how it looks”. What is the background colour, picture, perspective, size? What are the types of information displayed; how is it displayed; what are the fonts used; etc.? Are there any videos in the page? Are there any advertisements? All these are defined by the theme of the page. It not only displays information in an easily navigable form, but sets the culture or psyche of the blog. Recognizing the importance of this, WordPress developed several themes which users can browse through and pick the one which is appropriate for their blog.
Designing the theme requires experience, a lot of trial and error, knowledge of human perception and behaviour and creative instinct, apart from programming skills. Themes of various types, under several categories, are packed and offered as choices in WordPress. Choosing a theme is obviously, simpler than designing one. It still demands that the blogger knows what he wants and what the traffic to his blog will be like. If a lot of comments are expected, the comments section should have sufficient space and scrolling facilities; if the blog explains intricate mechanisms, a video should have prominence, and so on.
As the interest in hand held devises continued to rise, software was made compatible; it was compressed to suit. WordPress themes also needed to be modified as all would not suit iPad applications. This necessity was recognised and several approaches were adopted to meet the transition. Some of the approaches are described in the following paragraphs.
Installing WordPress from iPad and using iPad themes
In order to download files and transfer them to other programs, two browsers, viz. “iCab” and “Goodreader” have been developed for use in iPads. “iCab” uses tabbed browsing to download and transfer files to other programmes (e.g. FTP or Dropbox) whereas “Goodreader” is used for reading and editing files and to upload files to one’s server. These are used to download and install WordPress on ones iPad. The method is as follows:
Initially create a MSQL database; open “iCab” and navigate to WordPress.org. Download the software in iCab and choose” open in external applications”. Choose “Goodreader”; the file will be automatically transferred to “Goodreader”. Unzip file, locate WordPress – config-sample.php, select it and choose TXT viewer. As per the menu, add a database name, a username and a password. Add any unique keys if necessary. Select”Manage Files”, select WordPress-config-sample.php; select “rename” and enter a name. Now add the FTP server details, (usual details of FTP) and tap on “server to connect”. Navigate to the folder where you want WordPress to reside in and click “upload”. It takes about 10 min to upload, after which one can visit the WordPress page and fill in necessary details. The WordPress application will now be ready for use on the iPad.
It may be noted that WordPress for iPhone OS 2.4 is iPad compatible and the interface makes use of the larger screen area and larger keyboard. It allows one to monitor comments, i.e. approve, delete or respond to them, and to geotag photographs. ”Onswipe”, an application which allows swiping, rotation etc. by touch, is specially designed for iPads, needs to be used to enable iPad themes to work on WordPress. To do this, in the main menu of “Onswipe” one must choose, “Dashboard”, “Appearance”, and “Theme Management” in that order, and then navigate to “Current Themes Options”. Here, choose hyperlink ”iPad”; click on it and then select “Onswipe theme settings”. Locate “Display a special theme for iPad” and uncheck the checkbox next to it. This changes the screen appearance to the default appearance of WordPress. To renew to a different theme, on must check on the check box again, repeat the process i.e. tap on “Dashboard”; “Appearance”; iPad; “Set Theme”; choose skin colour and upload the desired image. On now pressing enter, the theme is set. On tapping “view post” one can see the full content including sharing tools like Twitter, Facebook etc.
WordPressTouchPro is a WordPress plug in offered by “Brave new Code” which is used to set up a mobile theme. This software is meant for use with touch screens including iPads. It is customised for iPad, has several features, and can be set up quickly. If using W3 Total Cache, it should be configured so that mobile user agents are excluded and they do not interfere with caching of mobile themes. WPTouchPro must then be enabled and settings clicked.
Menu and Icon configuration
The menu and icons can now be configured. By default, the side bar menu will tab all sites. This can be changed if desired in the main menu. Add links to home site and RSS in the space provided; provide the site administrator’s e-mail id; manually create three custom menu items in the WordPressTouchPro theme.
Configuring WordProTouchPro for iPad
To configure WordPressTouchPro for iPads, a theme must be selected from the browser and entered as the “Active Theme”. Next,” iPad support” must be enabled, “style and appearance” set; tags added or removed as necessary, and excerpts added. Provision to do these can be seen on the page. This sets up the theme for working with WordPress.
WordPressTouchPro is not a free plug in and is sold for $39/-. It is extremely useful for configuring iPad in different ways and for customising theme displays. It can also be used for selecting and using WordPress themes.
There is another option in “jail breaking” an iPad so that it can receive downloads, otherwise prevented by Apple. In this manner, a few exotic themes can be downloaded and installed. However, other software like “Springboard” and “Winterboard” are required. Jailbroken devices can not only save and run themes but enable screen locks and tweaks, and run other third party applications. Some of the good iPad themes that are available for free download are the black UPS iPad theme, blue iPad V2 theme, softly themes and iFlat4 HD themes.
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