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WordPress Tip: index.php

A required template file in WordPress themes is index.php.

The idea is that this is the theme’s last line of defense, the template file that’ll be used if no other ile its. In other words, if the theme doesn’t have a category.php file, and WordPress wants to render a category archive, then the system will look for others.

First it’ll check for archive.php, the fallback for archives, then it’ll go back to index.php, the final fallback. Treat index.php that way, and make sure it returns something.


WordPress Tip: Sidebar.php

The sidebar.php file usually  consists of only minimal markup needed for outputting the widgets in the side-column widget area, which was registered in functions.php. You can do that with dynamic_sidebar(), and by passing the ID of the widget area wanted, which is side-column, again as registered in functions.php.

This means that the sidebar.php is pretty straightforward to say the least.

You can also have conditional sidebars (i.e. this site), that change content based upon what page/post is being requested.


Offline Blogging Tools

External blogging tools are specialized pieces of software that allow you to work with your blog from the desktop of your computer.  The main difference between them and working with WordPress directly is that they make it possible to create content (posts) offline, and then export it directly to your WordPress site.

This has some great benefits, and the biggest of which is that you can write posts whenever inspiration hits you, not only when you have an Internet connection at your disposal (particularly handy for creating content while traveling).

Another benefit is that your posts are stored as normal files, which you can copy wherever you want, send to  someone via e-mail, or back up on Dropbox or other similar solutions.

The best tool available considered by most is Windows Live Writer, works on Windows only, so Mac users will have to make due with other tools such as MarsEdit or Qumana.

For iOS, refer to the official WordPress app or an alternative app named Blogsy. They can be both used to write posts locally, on your iOS device, and then have them exported to your blog once you go online.

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