Written: March 18, 2017

Learning About WordPress Themes

There are dozens of ways to create your own web site, however WordPress has some 100,000,000 users around the world, making it the number one Content Management System (CMS) where you use a web browser to edit your site. So, how do you go about learning how to use WordPress? Great question. There’s a Portland Meetup group that offers free training on how to use WordPress and their next meeting is on April 3rd. Here’s what you’ll learn at this free Meetup:

Topic: Child Theme Basics & Twenty Seventeen Theme Demo

Time: Monday, April 3, 2017 from 6PM to 8PM

Location: U.S. Bancorp Tower, Conference Rooms, 111 SW 5th Avenue


Have you ever upgraded your theme and had your customizations wiped out? In this presentation, we’ll talk about what a child theme is, why you should use one, how to set one up, and possible alternatives. We’ll use the Twenty Seventeen theme (the default theme that comes with a fresh WordPress install) as an example. We’ll also go through a quick demo of its features. The agenda:

6:00 – 6:15: Introductions. What you do, are you looking to hire, are you looking for work?
6:15 – 6:45: Speaker and topic.
6:45 – 7:00: Questions and answers on the topic.
7:00 – 8:00: Get help with WordPress. Bring your laptop for this part. There’s a wide range of experience levels, and we’re all here to help each other.
8:00: Soft Close. You may hang out a bit longer to talk or finish up a project, but the official Meetup will end.

To find us: The room is on the ground floor. To the right of the elevators, go through the glass doors where it says Conference Center. Then go down the hall to the room labeled Training Room.


Visit the Meetup site to see all of their WordPress events.

Portland WordPress Meetup

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A New Parts Catalog Web Site

Trever Dougan and his partner are starting up a brand-new parts catalog company called ICDT and asked me to help them get it up and running this month. For the Content Management System I selected WordPress, because it is the #1 CMS now with some 70,000,000 users. Trever wanted his clients to see all of the electronic parts he offers, but not actually order them, instead they can request a quote. I choose a catalog plugin and then added the quoting feature. Here’s a photo gallery to give an idea of how a prospective buyer can find their part and request a quote:

After a training session Trever is able to add new parts to the catalog, upload photos, add PDF specifications, along with updating any page or writing news articles. The theme for this website is responsive, so it works and looks good on the desktop, tablet and mobile devices.

I wish the team at ICDT all the best in their startup company.

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3 responses to “A New Parts Catalog Web Site”

  1. Nice article! Day by day I am personally learning a little more about NodeJS. It is definately the only real language to educate yourself on long term. I have finished the BackSpace.Academy Amazon web services (aws) Certified Developers path. They have opened a different Realm of apps for myself. Now I need to find the time for getting coding!

  2. Mike Dowden says:

    what catalog plugin did you use?

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Avoid This WordPress Theme

Last night I attended the monthly Portland WordPress Meetup group and learned about membership sites, thanks to our guest speaker Bob Dunn. After the meeting ended I stayed around to meet new people and answer questions. An author approached me with a question about making her WordPress home page appear correctly, because something funny was happening. We used her laptop and logged into WordPress, then saw that it was using a Theme called StormMusic from SMThemes.

SM Themes

Based on my experience I knew exactly where to look in WordPress to control the Home page content, so I said, “Let’s click on: Settings> Reading“. This is what I expected to see in the WordPress dashboard:

Settings> Reading


This dialog is where I can define that my Home page is a static page, and that my blog posts should go on a page called Blog. Nice and easy. If you instead wanted a Blog style of web site, then you would click the radio button choice for Your latest posts, instead of A static page.

To my horror, all of these choices were missing. How could that be? What would make this standard WordPress dialog not appear?

It turns out that the culprit is the theme author, SMThemes. In their theme they decided to remove standard WordPress features, and instead do something totally different. I would call this very poor design, because they took a standard WordPress feature and removed it altogether, making a WordPress user like myself wonder if I’d lost my mind. When a company makes a decision like this, then I will recommend that you stay away from this theme in particular and probably all themes they have to offer in general. What use is a standard platform like WordPress if theme authors come along and remove standard features?

You have been warned.

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