One of the best things about WordPress is the cascade of available themes. Finding an excellent theme can be fantastic. One of the downsides: when support lapses or standards change and your site is left high and dry.
WordPress is arguably one of the most popular content management systems. It is easy to use for content creators and developers alike to create a website customized specifically for select audiences. There are many free and paid customizable themes available for these websites. Several years ago, a lot of website owners purchased the BlogDrops theme. The bad news: support for the theme has lapsed. The code relied on an old versions of PHP (versions 5.6 and earlier). Almost every website hosting provider has discontinued support for the defunct versions of PHP.
About the Blogdrops Theme
What is the reason the Blogsdrop theme became so popular?
Blogdrops: a highly responsive magazine theme, developed and released in 2013. Used for personal blogs, food blogs, magazines, and news websites as well– by many considered to be a beautiful journal and magazine template by being fully adaptable, so it looked great on all devices. With Pinterest being all the rage, “masonry” styling caught on as a way to break from the grid and table layouts that can sometimes fail to give content the space it needs. BlogDrops included the masonry homepage and infinite scrolling. The theme included features like a full-width template, author, blog, and archive templates. Back then, Theme Forest sold it: https://themeforest.net/item/blogdrops-infinite-blogging-theme/3937660
The Blogdrops theme featured:
- Advanced theme admin panel,
- Responsive layout,
- *Infinite scrolling – loading posts,
- Mansory homepage,
- Alternative homepage – blog,
- Custom colors for each homepage post,
- jQuery homepage sliders – part of mansory layout,
- Unlimited color schemes – using colorpickers,
- Font selector/custom typography – 55 fonts available (web-safe fonts and Google webfonts),
- Homepage alternatives
- 7 Posts formats: standard, video, audio, gallery, image, link, quote,
- Custom archive post,
- Video ready – custom metaboxes,
- Logo and favicon upload,
- Social networks section,
- Dropdown menu,
- Author template,
- Translation ready,
- WordPress 3.5 + ready,
- Smooth tabless design.
Countless color schemes:
– you can set your own color using colorpickers for:
- background – body, slider, and alternative container section,
- text color – main body, slider section,
- link (+ hover) color – main body, footer section,
- texture overlay – main body,
- borders – main body
- element color
- Full Width template,
- Error 404,
- Blog template,
- Archive template,
- Author template,
Widgets & Shortcodes:
- Advanced shordcode generator,
- 12 custom widgets:
- 2 types of Featured posts (custom widget),
- 300px Ads (custom widget),
- 4×125px Ads (custom widget),
- Latest comments (custom widget),
- Flicker Photos (custom widget),
- Latest Tweets (custom widget),
- About Us Info (custom widget),
- Search form (custom widget),
- and more..
It allowed the user to upload 7 types of post formats. These include standard, image, video, gallery, audio posts, quotes, and links to other websites. The layout of this WordPress theme was highly customizable. From the margins to the borders, color, widgets, menus, and all kinds of other editable options. These features made this theme very web-friendly and very user-friendly.
There were a lot of features offered by WordPress for this elegant magazine theme. Some of those features are listed below.
- Responsive Design – a very user-friendly interface that handled the jump to mobile well.
- Styling Options – There were a multitude of options available for customization.
- Twitter Feed – It also allowed the user to quote any tweet by an account and place them on your pages using its widgets area.
- Built-in short-codes – It contained a set of predefined codes that can be used to edit the layout of the theme.
- Post Formats – It supports multiple post formats, thus being considered one of the better WordPress themes available at that time.
- Translation ready – It offered translation services from the get-go.
- Color options – Color layouts in whatever shade of whatever family of color the owner wants.
- Templates – It came with an error 404 and redirect template as well as blog and post templates.
- Ad spaces – It came ready-made with 4x125px ad spaces available.
Despite being a great theme in 2013, it now requires a lot of fixes.
Why Can I Not Buy The Updated BlogDrops Theme?
In short, its code relied on the functionality of PHP version 5.6. BlogDrops is built for WordPress. WordPress runs many websites– more than 35% of the Internet is run by WordPress. WordPress needs programming languages to work. The most important: PHP.
In December 2018, at WordCamp US, a change to support for the PHP version on WordPress CMS was announced. WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg suggested for 5.6 to be the minimum version until the middle of 2019, and for it to be bumped up again to the 7.0 version of PHP in the second half of the year. Here we are in 2020 and all of those WordPress installs out there running old code are broken.
Many of the applications running PHP were using a version below PHP version 5.6. At the end of 2018, PHP 5.6 hit the end of its life. Service providers (aka web hosts) updated their servers to use more recent versions of PHP. Applications that needed PHP 5.6 failed. One of those applications: the theme called BlogDrops.
What changed when PHP 7.x came in?
Nerds may be the only people who care, but this is a list of changes to PHP for versions newer than PHP 5.6. Applications that use these functions and references hit the incompatibilities in the code when run under PHP 7.0:
The BlogDrops theme relied on the use of the version of the programming language PHP, version 5.6. PHP 5.6 has long since lapsed and almost all ISPs ended support for 5.6 in 2019.
All WordPress themes require the use of PHP, however, PHP releases newer versions when security threats arise. When PHP 5.6 became a security concern, PHP 5.6 hit its end of life, meaning it would not be supported after 2019.
Despite PHP 5.6’s level of adoption, the newer versions of PHP with their key coding differences caught on. The performance of PHP 7.x beat older versions of PHP hands down. Here’s the sticky part: that old PHP code was heavily leaned on by developers. The replacement in code and concepts isn’t easy to accomplish. This leaves old functions (those supported by PHP 5.6) that are no longer available in PHP 7+. When PHP encounters old code, it fails. When it fails, your WordPress blog stops working.
Replacing the Blogsdrop theme
An outdated theme is a liability. If a theme loses the support of its publisher, updates won’t be coming. In the case of the BlogDrops theme, there was no route to updating the theme and making it work on more recent installs of WordPress and more up-to-date servers.
The easiest approach: replace it with the Divi Extra theme and use the Masonry layout to replicate the layout of items in the same way the Blogdrops themes did. We can quickly identify and fix WordPress issues. Our excellent code detectives can uncover whether the problem lies in the set-up, plugins, themes or the server itself..
What Is A Masonry Layout?
Masonry is not like the usual grid layouts. If you’re familiar with Pinterest, you’re familiar with the masonry approach to styling. It reduces extra spaces and makes use of them for optimizing the interface of the website. Masonry layouts are optimal for blog posts and galleries.
When we were tasked with making repairs to the Sheila Karrow site (https://www.sheilakarrow.com/). Shawn DeWolfe Consulting is licensed to use Divi for our clients. Our people have 20+ years of PHP coding experience. We can convert and update website content from themes like Blogdrops to work with Divi (a theming platform from Elegant Themes). While we could go line-by-line and make all of the repairs to the BlogDrops theme to make it PHP 7.x compliant, converting the site over to Divi gave the site longevity, a feature rich theme and one with lots of support down the road. Content management systems split content and display. In the Sheila Karrow site, all of the good content remained and we could adapt to show off that content through the Divi theme. By going for the Divi Theme, our sites look great in their mobile and tablet variants.
Our process for a site updated from Blogdrops:
- First, we grab a copy of your website.
- We try to make it work with the new version of PHP (PHP 7.4)
- Then, assess if the breaks in your site are easy to fix. If these happen in custom code, we can fix them. If they happened in commercial plugins and themes, we work with the client to upgrade those.
- What we cannot fix, we replace. We can put in current era substitutes.
- When the fixes, replacements and new elements are ready to go, we can replace your old site with a new version of the site. The site gets back its functionality but retains its content, graphics, page set-up, etc..