WordPress Customization

After my work is done on XBox One game Ryse, I can finally invest some time in my blog again. Yay! For starters I have cleaned up the website code, as initially (due to time constraints) I had made all my changes directly to the wordpress source. Not a good idea, as these changes have to be painfully reapplied every time the software is updated.

Child Themes

A very convenient way to customize a wordpress site is the use of of child themes. The concept is simple: You create a new theme that inherits the settings of an existing theme and overwrite whatever you need to. To do so, simply create a folder for your theme in the wp-content/themes directory and put a file called style.css inside. Here’s the beginning of my style.css:

 Theme Name:     Twenty Eleven Customized
 Author:         Theodor Mader
 Author URI:     http://theomader.com
 Template:       twentyeleven
 Version:        1.0.0

@import url("../twentyeleven/style.css");

/* =Theme customization starts here
------------------------------------------------------------ – */

Note that the Theme Name and the Template entries are required. You can now overwrite the original theme’s styles by simply adding your code after the import statement.

Syntax Highlighter

I had also made quite some changes to the Syntax Highlighter Evolved plugin to better fit my blog’s style and contents. Fortunately the plugin is nicely customizable and with only a bunch of lines of code you can load a custom style sheet and custom syntax definitions.

In order to get a custom style sheet into syntax highlighter, you simply need to add a filter for syntaxhighlighter_themes and add the name of your style sheet the array of style sheets that gets passed in. Don’t forget to register your stylesheet with WordPress as well, for example via wp_register_style. Syntax definitions (or ‘brushes’ as they are called in Syntax Highlighter) can be added in a similar way via the syntaxhighlighter_brushes filter. Since these are java scripts they also need to be registered with WordPress via wp_register_script. For the sake of simplicity, I added the php code to functions.php of my child theme and do the script/style registration via the init action. Here’s the relevant code from my functions.php:

////////////// syntax highlighter customizations /////////////////

add_action( 'init', 'sh_register_customizations' );
add_filter( 'syntaxhighlighter_themes', 'sh_add_custom_style' );
add_filter( 'syntaxhighlighter_brushes', 'sh_add_custom_brushes' );
// Register with wordpress
function sh_register_customizations()
  $sh_customizations_uri = get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/syntaxhighlighter/';
  // customized sh style
  wp_register_style('syntaxhighlighter-theme-default_custom', $sh_customizations_uri . 'shCoreDefaultCustom.css', array('syntaxhighlighter-core'), '0.1');

  // custom sh brushes
  wp_register_script( 'syntaxhighlighter-brush-cg', $sh_customizations_uri . 'shBrushCg.js', array('syntaxhighlighter-core'), '0.1' );
  wp_register_script( 'syntaxhighlighter-brush-cppcustom', $sh_customizations_uri . 'shBrushCppCustom.js', array('syntaxhighlighter-core'), '0.1' );
  wp_register_script( 'syntaxhighlighter-brush-csharpcustom', $sh_customizations_uri . 'shBrushCSharpCustom.js', array('syntaxhighlighter-core'), '0.1' );

function sh_add_custom_style($themes)
  $themes['default_custom'] = 'Default Custom';
  return $themes;

function sh_add_custom_brushes( $brushes )
  $brushes['cg'] = 'cg';
  $brushes['cppcustom'] = 'cppcustom';
  $brushes['csharpcustom'] = 'csharpcustom';
  return $brushes;


Oh, and here’s a neat trick I picked up on another website: You can expand the syntaxhighlighter code boxes by adding for example width: 150%; (on hover) and a transition like transition: width 0.2s ease 0s; to the .syntaxhighlighter style.

.syntaxhighlighter {
    transition: width 0.2s ease 0s;

.syntaxhighlighter:hover {
    width: 150% !important;

Note that this scales up the boxes by a fixed 150% instead of the exact required size but unfortunately I haven’t found a way do to the proper scaling without some form of scripting. You can toggle overflow: visible; on hover but so far I couldn’t figure out how to make this a smooth transition via css alone.