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1 May 16, 2015 16:23    

A few days ago, I commented on Twitter about trying to get HTML5 into my b2evo installation without hacking the core - it's running 5.2.2 currently -

I must admit, I wasn't anticipating getting a challenge back - - I suppose I asked for that.

Perhaps a little background though first. My blog, such as it is, was first installed as v2.4.5 back in September 2005 as best as I'm able to make out. Since then, it's been occasionally upgraded, but never with any concern for keeping bang up to date, as new versions have been released. The only consistent thing about the blog has been me sticking with the same Vastitude skin with a changed header image. It served the purpose, but has always had a few issues that I've never quite bottomed out. It's worth stating at this point that I'm in no way a developer/designer, though I've always taken an interest, just not to the point where I've really learned things ground up.

At the start of this year though, I finally found a couple of Treehouse publications I found myself able to stick through; one on HTML5, another on CSS3. With that I finally got myself around to wanting to re-build my skin into something more modern and less brown than the old one. It's been an interesting exercise, though on the whole successful. The only thing that has been holding me back from actually putting it out there, was seeing some of the HTML that was being generated, not by the skin, but by the widgets and plugins I was using. To tackle those would have meant getting well outside the skin, and my comfort zone, to get at the source of the problem. To give you an idea, everything seemed to be generating its own H1 tag - I had 17 of them on a page at one point, so not exactly 'web standards'. Hence my Tweet.

I've never run a beta version before, never mind an alpha, but a recent idea to fire up a Hyper-V VM, and to drop the Ubuntu 14:10 server LTS onto it gave me an opportunity to play with the 6.4.0-alpha, and then 6.4.1-alpha. What a surprise that was...

I've not tried using a framework previously, so Bootstrap comes new to me and I'm feeling my way a little. That said, things do look good. By default, b2evo now uses HTML5 tags such as header, article, section, footer, nav and so on. As a default install with only the sample content, there's only a single H1 per page in evidence. Things are fully responsive, with @media queries kicking in below a 640px viewport width. This all looks good so far, though I quickly recognised that my efforts at creating a new skin are now largely redundant, as I need to start again in Bootstrap to get the kind of presentation style I'm looking for.

So it looks pretty good so far. There are only a couple of things that could be looked at from my perspective:

  1. Not every meta tag can be accessed from within the back office - for example, I can't add a X-UA-Compatible meta tag to ensure that pages display at the 'edge' option within IE. It may be that this isn't essential, but from within the Settings | Advanced options, that particular meta tag isn't allowable without modifying the HTML tags b2evo will accept.
  2. Within a new post, the WYSIWYG editor still allows the author to add in H1 tags without limit - whilst I don't know the detail, my understanding is that Google takes a dim view of this when its algorithm gets to work
  3. Out of curiosity. I thought I'd try it from my old XP Netbook with IE8 on it - it wasn't pretty, not surprisingly. It does make me wonder about backward compatibility options for this version of b2evo. For me it's not a concern, but some existing b2evo users may not be able to migrate because of it.

Overall, though, I can't wait for the stable release to get itself out there.

2 16 May 2015 21:22

Hi Chris,

Thank you for the feedback!

Here are some answers for you:

  1. You can add any tag you want to the header, be it <meta> or otherwise. Look at the bottom of the advanced settings:
  2. loo for the textarea labelled "Custom Meta tags"

  3. Mind you, it's actually valid semantic HTML5 markup to have nothing but h1 tags on a page ... as long as each is in its own sectionning element, like <article> or <section>. Every post is enclosed into <article> now and has a <section> for the text. So theoretically, all is well..

  4. Now Google may not be all that HTML5 edgy... so you might still want to be careful.

    We also plan to make a plugin that will shift down all Hx headers so that none will be higher level than it should. We're still trying to decide if the highest acceptable Hx level should be set once for all (by the blogger) or if it should vary depending on what page the post is displayed on... (post list vs single post page for example)

  5. Bootstrap doesn't care about IE8, so we decided not to care either.

  6. Please note though that it is entirely possible to make non-bootstrap skins on b2evolution 6.x and still use the HTML5 semantic markup. (b2evo 5 skins should also run without problems and can be retrofitted with HTML5)

    We have decided to make all the new skins we produce run on Bootstrap because it will allow us to release more skins and faster than before. However it is in no way an obligation to use Bootstrap for your own skins (just a recommendation ;). Hint at additional v6 skins under development:

We're going beta in a couple of days and ambition to go stable in June.

3 17 May 2015 17:13

Hi Francois,

Thanks for coming back to me.

I did actually try putting in the <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge"> tag into the section of the Back Office you mentioned, but I got the following message back Tag <meta> may not have attribute http-equiv="...". I know I can put a copy of the header PHP file into the skin folder and modify that directly, but was trying to avoid that if I can.

I must admit, I'd not looked specifically how Google recommend the use of H1 tags, but the received wisdom as I've been learning my way into this seems to be avoid having more than one. I'm comfortable enough though to try and keep things sensible when creating new pages or blog posts though. I'll be interested to see how you decide to take this forward.

For the most part I agree about not supporting IE8. Very often there is talk about "disrupting" things with web development, yet so much effort is put into backward compatibility, thereby disrupting nothing; certainly not those organisations who will not invest in upgrading their browser stock. In many ways, it seems to me that the onus is on web creators to take the bold decision to abandon those who will not keep up and somehow drag them kicking and screaming into the current decade. Admittedly, I can afford not to care, my blog is what I want it to be and I don't have a customer base to pander to.

All is good then. I want things to move forward. I want to learn my way into Bootstrap and convert my presentation ideas into that.

4 18 May 2015 19:01

OK, I just uploaded the files for 6.4.2-beta and re-ran the install as an upgrade, and got this...

Warning: mkdir(): Permission denied in /var/www/html/b2evolution/inc/files/model/_file.funcs.php on line 965

Any suggestions?

5 18 May 2015 19:41

b2evolution is asking PHP which is in turn asking Linux to create a directory (mkdir) but is not allowed because of the file permissions of your server.

Classic linux file permission issue:

If you enable $debug=1 b2evolution/PHP will probably tell you exactly which directory it's trying to create.

As always a screenshot would have been more useful as it would show more context than an isolated error message.

6 18 May 2015 20:58

Thanks again Francois,

What puzzled me was that I went from the 6.4.0-alpha to the 6.4.1-alpha in exactly the same way with no issues.

I'll turn debug on as suggested, then do a little reading.

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