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Montezuma Newbie Tips


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  #1  
Old Jan 25, 2013, 12:53 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
Please note:

This is a solution thread, not a problem thread. If you have issues related to the posts in this thread, please post them in the applicable thread
(or create a new one if an open one doesn't already exist), rather than in this one.

This tread is a place where forum members can post things that are fundamental about mz. In future posts and threads, rather than having to keep repeating basics, we can just refer with links to this thread or its specific posts.

To link to a thread using bb code, surround the link text in your post with [thread] tags. Here's an example linking to the Showing Off thread:
Code:
[thread=18583]Showing Off[/thread] thread
To link to a post using bb code, surround the link text in your post with [post] tags. Here's an example linking to my Showing Off post:
Code:
[post=91119]my Showing Off[/post] post
Getting the post number to link to is not so obvious. Here's how to get it:
  1. Click the "quote" button at the bottom right of the post. The post number will be in two places on the next page.
    1. At the end of the url, and
    2. At the end of the [quote] tag in top line of the textarea.
  2. Copy the post number from either place and paste it into your new post. (For most things, copying and pasting is usually more accurate than typing.)
  3. Navigate away from your reply page.

Last edited by jerryc; Jan 25, 2013 at 08:39 PM.
  #2  
Old Jan 25, 2013, 12:58 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
Virtual vs. Physical Templates

You'll see these two terms a lot on this forum. Virtual templates are accessed via:
Dashboard> Appearance > Montazume Options > Main Templates, or
Dashboard> Appearance > Montazume Options > Sub Templates, or
Physical templates are accessed via FTP, cpanel, or some other way that changes the actual files.

Unless you really know what you're doing, use the virtual interface to make and edit templates.
  #3  
Old Jan 25, 2013, 01:20 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
CSS Grids

The CSS grid system is one of the things that makes Montezuma so great and so flexible. The documentation is clearly laid out in:
Dashboard > Appearance > Montezuma Options > CSS Settings
The 2 key things are:
  1. Surround your column divs in each row with row div's, such as:

    HTML Code:
    <div class="row">
      <div class="col3">...column on the left, 3 "units" wide...</div>
      <div class="col6">...column in the middle, 6 "units" wide...</div>
      <div class="col3">...column on the right, 3 "units" wide...</div>
    </div>
  2. Your col divs in each row have to add up to 12 units wide.

Experiment with a test template and a test page. Make a new template called something like test. Give your test divs each a different background color, such as:

HTML Code:
<div class="row" style="background:yellow;">
  <div class="col3" style="background:red;">...column on the left, 3 "units" wide...</div>
  <div class="col6" style="background:blue;">...column in the middle, 6 "units" wide...</div>
  <div class="col3" style="background:green;">...column on the right, 3 "units" wide...</div>
</div>
Remember, the background will cover the padding, but not the margins.

Here's an even more detailed post by Juggledad that shows how to put a sidebar in the left side.

Last edited by jerryc; Feb 3, 2013 at 07:49 PM. Reason: Add link to Juggledad's post
  #4  
Old Jan 25, 2013, 01:43 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
How Do I Change This? How Did You Do That?

Quite often, people will ask "how to I change ___ on my site?" Other times, see something posted, such as a link in the "showing off" thread, and ask, "how did you do that?" One of the best ways to learn how to do things with wp and mz is to install a firebug plugin into your browser, right click the area of the page you want to know more about or change, and inspect the element.

In firebug, the html will be on the left, and the css will be on the right. What you won't see is the php that made the html, but most of the time you either won't need it, or it will be obvious from the default templates.

Last edited by jerryc; Mar 3, 2013 at 10:07 PM.
  #5  
Old Jan 25, 2013, 05:07 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
Plugin Lazyest Stylesheet Plugin

Lazyest Stylesheet Plugin

Not everybody will agree with me on this, but I find the Lazyest Stylesheet Plugin to be the easiest way to add custom CSS to Montezuma. I have even requested that MZ add such a feature to its next release.

Here's how it works:
  1. Install and open the plugin,

  2. Enter your custom CSS into it and save,

  3. Load your page,

  4. It always loads as the last stylesheet,

  5. If there's a conflict with it and something else, because it's last, your custom CSS wins the cascade order.
What I especially like about it is:
  • No need to ever touch the theme CSS files,

  • All the custom CSS is in one place, easy to find, easy to validate.
It also has an optional mobile stylesheet, if you want custom styles on mobile devices.

Update: Juggledad also came up with a solution that also puts all the custom css in one place. Add it to the end of the last theme CSS file, clearfix.css.

Last edited by jerryc; Apr 15, 2013 at 07:18 AM.
  #6  
Old Jan 25, 2013, 05:50 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
Code Validation

The problem with many coding mistakes is that, while the browser will display the page, it looks awful, and you don't know why. Many coding problems can be easily found by simple code validation.

Here's an example. you went into your code to change your layout and, while you were at it, changed an <h3> to an <h2>, but forgot to change the closing heading tag from </h3> to </h2>. When you try your page, your layout looks weird. You spend hours trying to figure out what you did wrong with your layout, when there was nothing wrong with the layout at all. It was the previous heading tag mismatch error that threw everything else off. And, who hasn't left out or put in an extra closing </div> tag somewhere.

HTML Validator

A properly coded MZ page should get no HTML errors. If you get errors, it's probably because you added something incorrectly, or you have plugins causing errors. Disable your plugins if you're not sure.

CSS Validator

If your custom code is right, you should get zero CSS errors; MZ is CSS standards compliant. If you use the Lazyest Stylesheet, it's easy to copy and paste your custom code into the validator because all your custom CSS is in one place.

PHP

Validating PHP is a more complicated. With some errors, your server will throw an error and the page will not display. With other errors, PHP will generate different HTML than you intended, which you might be able to spot with view-source.

Layout

Not all layout mistakes will show on a validator. For example, if your MZ column units in a row don't add up to 12, it won't show on a validator. Your page may just look strange. Here's how you can check your layout.

Last edited by jerryc; Feb 26, 2013 at 09:10 PM.
  #7  
Old Jan 25, 2013, 07:21 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
Layout Sidebars Anywhere

Sidebars Anywhere

With Montezuma, think outside of the 'side' when you hear the term sidebar. They can go in any template or subtemplate, such as in your header, footer, or even in the content area of a template. This gives you lots of layout options.

Once you declare a sidebar using code such as:

HTML Code:
<?php dynamic_sidebar("your-new-sidebar-name"); ?>
and save your template or subtemplate, the widget of named "your-new-sidebar-name" will automatically in your widgets interface at:

Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets

Here's an example of a sidebars by Juggledad that shows how to put a sidebar in the left side.

Last edited by jerryc; Mar 30, 2013 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Added link to Juggledad's post
  #8  
Old Feb 26, 2013, 04:37 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
Keeping All Custom CSS Together

In addition to my favorite way of keeping all custom CSS together, Juggledad has come up with another way to accomplish this, and his idea requires no additional plugins.

Go to: Dashboard > Appearance > MZ Options > CSS Files > clearfix.css

Put all your custom CSS at the end of that file. There is no need to edit any other CSS file. All other things being equal, any conflicts between conflicting declarations will be resolved in favor of the later declaration, and clearfix.css is loaded after all the other css files.
  #9  
Old Mar 3, 2013, 10:06 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
I Don't Know Any ____! [HTML, CSS, PHP]

Occasionally, people post onto this forum wanting to customize Montezuma, knowing little or no HTML, CSS, or PHP. Montezuma is, by far, the most customizable theme there is for Wordpress. However, it still requires some basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and sometimes PHP. At the very least, you have to know how to format the code, so you can copy, paste, and edit it to make the changes you want to make. With that you can do amazing things with Montezuma. With other themes, you would have to know far more to do far less customization.

There are many great basic tutorials on these three languages. HTML is the basic one. CSS is how HTML is styled. PHP is how HTML is generated programically.
  #10  
Old Mar 5, 2013, 12:22 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
Disable Those Plugins First

There have been so many posts on this forum where it turned out that the problem wasn't MZ related at all, but caused by a plugin. Sometimes, the moderator even asks the poster early on to disable the plugins and check, then, after many more posts back and forth looking elsewhere, the poster recognized it was a plugin problem, not a MZ problem.

When I first posted about code validation, I stated you could expect to see lots of validation errors. That's because I had plugins making them and I thought all those errors were normal.

Then, when I removed all the plugins and checked, WP and MZ made zero validation errors. When things don't validate, it can throw off a lot of other things, particularly with a theme like MZ that relies so much on CSS.
  #11  
Old Mar 21, 2013, 11:01 PM
jerryc
 
367 posts · Oct 2012
Florida
Check for Patches

Montezuma is still in its first release, and several bugs have been discovered. Fortunately, patches have been developed for many of them.

The patches are easy to find. They are at the top of this forum in stickies. Before you post about a new problem, check to see if there's already a patch.

If there's not a patch, search the forum. There may be one or more posts with the solution you need that don't even require a patch.

Patches are numbered to match with version numbers. For example, patches 113.xx are for version 1.1.3.

Last edited by jerryc; May 13, 2013 at 08:53 PM.
  #12  
Old Nov 18, 2013, 06:29 PM
CrouchingBruin's Avatar
CrouchingBruin
 
197 posts · Aug 2010
Santa Monica, CA
Hi, Jerry:

I started using Lazyest Stylesheet and I discovered one "feature" that is quite annoying. The plugin maintains two different style sheets, one for mobile devices and the other for non-mobile devices (i.e., Standard). To access one or the other, you click the links to the right of Lazyest Stylesheet's option page. The problem is that if you enter CSS into the "Standard" style sheet, it won't get loaded into mobile devices, so you end up having to copy the code from the Standard sheet into the mobile sheet if you have rules that should be active on both platforms. Very bad design, IMO, they should have just created one style sheet and left it up to the coder to use media queries for mobile-specific CSS.

I switched over to Custom CSS Manager and haven't had any problems, so far.
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