Graphene 1.8a (alpha) is now available

I’m glad to announce that an alpha version of Graphene 1.8 is now available for download. You can get the package from here:

Since this is an alpha release, it is meant for testing and translating purposes only. Please do not use this version on a critical production site. There may be undiscovered nasty bugs in the codes.

But if your site is not very critical, or if you can set up a test site whether online or locally, you are most welcome to join in the testing. The more testers we have, the less chances there are that some bugs will slip the net. If you do join in the testing, make sure you join the theme’s developers, testers, and translators Google Groups so that we can consolidate all reports in one place.

For translators

There are currently 112 new strings, and 52 obsolete ones. You can update your translation using POEdit and the /languages/graphene.pot file. If you’re new to the translation, detailed instructions is available here: Nearly half of the new strings are really just small updates of the deprecated ones, so those shouldn’t be too much work to translate. POEdit should have already automatically translated these strings and marked them as fuzzy.

For developers and testers

This is a major update, which means it contains a few major changes to the theme’s codes, major new features, and bugfixes. Some of the new features include the ability to extend the slider to the full width of the theme, and the colour of the navigation menus can also be customised via the theme’s options page, which by the way, is now saved via AJAX for speedy interaction.

Another rather important update is the compatibility improvements with WP e-Commerce, so if you could perform extensive tests with the e-commerce plugin installed, that would be greatly appreciated. E-commerce plugins are usually very complex plugins, and they tend to employ their own sub-theme to display the contents produced by the plugin, which often doesn’t work well with most themes except the two default themes that come with WordPress. With regard to e-commerce compatibility, I’ve adopted an on-going improvements approach, where the aim is to not provide flawless compatibility right out of one update, but continuous improvements over multiple updates.

Performance-wise, there has been some major improvements as well. The number of database queries has been reduced by as much as half for each page load (this mainly has to do with the navigation menus). As part of the performance improvements, the theme’s custom fields for each posts and pages are now stored as just a single database entry to reduce the number of queries. This release includes an update script that silently consolidates all previous custom field entries that the theme added to the database for each posts and pages.

To see a list of other changes and bugfixes, please see the latest changelog.txt in trunk:

Please also report all bugs and issues, as well as missing strings for translations via the mailing list so that everyone receives it.

Thanks, and happy testing!

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