WordPress Theme Review: DailyBlogTips 1.3

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What better way to start reviewing themes than to take on one of the giants?

Daily Blog Tips is a website I’ve been subscribing too for some time now, and there is a lot of great blogging advice and general info to be found on there. Do check it out.

This morning we reviewed DailyBlogTips 1.3. Here is a quick look at the results:

  • Validation: 4/5
  • Look and Feel: 4/5
  • Theme Completeness: 4/5
  • Editability: 5/5
  • Total: 17/20

Daily Blog Tips 1.3

Validation: 4/5

Be careful on this one. The Doctype declaration in the header is set to Strict. For the average blogger this may not matter, but if you are concerned with validating your pages it is worth a look. Our test site caused a couple validation errors on Strict because strike is not an element which is understood. Another place where align was used caused a problem.

Basically, if you use WordPress’s formatting tool bar when writing posts and pages, you’ll have problems. Replace the Doctype with a Transitional Doctype and you should be fine.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/ TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

Note: Don’t edit the code unless you are comfortable changing it. Make a back up copy of the original just in case.

Even with the Doctype it seems that some of the elements don’t close up the way they should. An li, a ul, and two div‘s don’t close up. It’s worth looking into, but nothing that should break your pages.

Look & Feel 4/5

The theme feels very professional and does put the emphasis on content. I especially like the way the sidebar on the right is displayed. A plus is that it looks the same in FF, IE7 and IE6 (Win) with only a minor slip on the footer in IE7. The footer changes size but it really isn’t enough to cause a problem.

Be sure not to publish too many pages if you use this theme. The menu background looks like it should be dynamic; it’s not. After three or four pages it pushes beyond the background and the words become unreadable. What’s worse is the search bar (a healthy 27+ characters!) gets thrown down a line, also becoming hard to read. Again, as long as you have a small number of pages you should be fine.

Note: If you have a lot of pages and are looking to easily control the number of pages that display in your menu, look into Murphey’s Page Link Manager. I’ve used it on multiple blogs; it’s awesome.

As much as I’ve been saying about the menu, it is nice that the page you’re on is highlighted in the menu bar. This isn’t a very common CSS effect to see in WordPress Themes, so it’s nice to see it out in the open. Good work.

Theme Completeness 4/5

Very few complaints on this one. Every test scenario I ran came out fine: solid search results pages, archive and category listings, and of course single post and pages.

It’s a little annoying that there isn’t an option to edit posts (when logged in) straight from the site. It seems to have been removed from the post pages. It is available on pages though, which makes me wonder…

I would also look into the strange diamond bullets in the title of the archive pages. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing that they are there but it looks a little strange in my browser (FF).

Editability 5/5

The style sheet is very well broken down. Each section of code is labeled with a commented header (which I highly suggest). A search for:

/* to be styled */

will skip ahead to each element which doesn’t have styling. This is worth finding (and very nice of the author to do) because any un-styled element could lead to unpredictable results in browsers. Take a look at those.

DailyBlogTips 1.3 also gets extra points for the following code:

margin: 5px 0 0 1px !important;
margin: 4px 0 0 1px; /* Fuck IE */

Closing Thoughts (17/20)

It’s very humbling to review a giant like Daily Blog Tips, especially as a first theme review. I hope Daniel will see kindly on what we’re doing here!

And DailyBlogTips 1.3 is well worth the time to work out its kinks. There isn’t anything that a well experienced WordPress-er wouldn’t be able to handle, but anyone just looking for a theme that will take care of itself might want to keep looking.