Hybrid theme release: Version 0.4

Hybrid Theme Version 0.4

It feels like it has been a long time since the 0.3.3 release of Hybrid, but it was only just over a month ago. The amount of coding put into this release makes it seem like it’s been even longer.

I’m presenting to you a spiffy new version today though with a few extra bells and whistles that I’m hoping you’ll enjoy.

But first, I’d like to thank all of you that have been bug testing this release and giving your feedback in the forums. It has helped turn Hybrid into more of a community project.

I broke some of your stuff

I know that the promise of working with parent/child themes is that updates won’t break your blog, but there are a few things that you should note.

You need to remove your widgets and make backup copies of your text widgets into Notepad or some other text editor. This version has quite a few changes that’ll make widgets work better, but you’ll have to reset them all for them to show up properly.

Few new design features:
If you’re using Leviathan or Old School, you’ll want to note some of CSS changes posted in the support forums. These deal with adding CSS for the new widget sections if you choose to use them.

New features

Version 0.4 packs quite a punch with its new features, so this will be the short list.

  • Redesign of the theme settings page.
  • New page templates
    • Profile
    • Sitemap
  • Overhaul of the widget system
    • Primary
    • Secondary
    • Subsidiary
    • Utility widgets
  • Widgets
    • Authors widget added.
    • Some new settings for other widgets.
  • Add custom trackback and pingback avatars in child theme’s images folder.
  • Better use of microformats.
  • Better organization of <head> elements.
  • Ability to add custom favicon.ico file in child theme’s images folder.
  • More dynamic feeds system that depends on page view.

Like I said, that’s the short list. Quite a few other new features have been added that really help from a developer’s standpoint.

Bug fixes and other changes

I have found several bugs over the course of the last month or so and have done my best to squash them. Most of them were minimal or simply typos. There were a few other general changes as well.

If you want, you can take a look at the complete version 0.4 changelog. I won’t bore you with all the details here.


Before upgrading, remove your widget sections and make copies of all your text widgets. You’ll have to add them again after the upgrade. You can also use the Widgets Reset plugin to remove all of your widgets.

Then, simply delete your old Hybrid theme folder and upload the new one.

Get the theme

Both Old School and Leviathan have been updated as well. If you want to use the new widget features, you’ll either need to grab new copy of these two themes or follow the instructions posted in the support forums.

Remember to keep the love and adoration in the comments and the support questions in the support forums.

Next up: A magazine-/news-style child theme for Hybrid.


  1. kalcha

    Hi Justin Tadlock,

    I am planning to start a few sites with a couple of them donning your themes. I have always been a huge fan of your extremely impressive work.

    For one of my sites, Hybrid is absolutely perfect with Old School as the child theme. Thanks for those wonderful themes.

    And for another, I am waiting with bated breath for the Magazine/News style theme. It would make my day as I am planning a substantially heavy content site.

    Once again, kudos to your efforts.

  2. thinkjayant

    Thanks to get this version out on time. I had two projects due next week. will incoprate the new version on them.

    Have the problem with static frontpage and leviathan been solved yet?


  3. Thanks for the update and the dedicated work Justin! I’ve been customizing hybrid for my photoblog and its looking very good so far. One thing I noticed regarding widgets is that there was no widget to display a list of recent posts. I tend to show only a few posts on the main page due to having a lot of photos, are there plans to create such a widget for Hybrid?

    thanks again!

  4. suchtreasures

    Eric, I have asked that question before, too. You use the Archives widget and select `postbypost` as the type.

  5. Thanks suchtreasures!

  6. Hello and, first of all, THANK YOU. Having lots of fun building a small child theme for Hybrid right now.

    Foolishly I “upgraded” to 0.4 tonight and ran into the issue that the header displays differently on the home/index page to any other page. Been going through this with Firebug back and forth and can’t find the reason.

    Well, I’ll give it a good nights sleep.

  7. japani

    Hello Justin,
    Thanks for the new version. I’ve sent you translations a couple of days ago, and haven’t got any reply.

    Thanks again!

  8. Hybrid 4 is working fine, no probs to report.

    Still, I personally think that this “parent” “child” concept, not matter how logical, has a long way to go before the general WP public can bite.

    Example: on another site, I simply wanted a new look for 2009. A particular theme from a well-known group was just what I liked, looks wise. I downloaded it, clicked it, and boom. A new look, no work, 3 minutes, and it works! It really works, no forums, no hacks, no code, nothing else but a working site.

    I love Hybrid as I think it / the idea is state of the art, and Justin, the work and care you put into your themes and on your forums is amazing! But still, this is not easy for folk like me. I am very comfortable with html, CSS but have no idea about php nor do I have the time anymore to learn about WordPress “functions”, “hooks” nor even some of the new features of WordPress 2.7.

    Positive suggestions:

    1) Get some non (not-so) tech documentation. While WP explains concepts like Hooks and Functions and SEO and so forth, I think you can build even more trust by explaining these concepts on your site (or your personal blog – wish there was some easy linkage between the two). And if you want the “world” to understand, it has to be written for the world audience in my opinion.

    2) I personally think that after the initial “Hybrid” revolution, there will need to come a very easy-to-implement-hybrid-theme which Joe the plummer can simply download and click, just as I did with my above Example. Why? time, effort, learning curves and just plain life. I personally think people would gladly rush to you Justin … and stay the long term … if it were all just a fraction easier to implement and use Hybrid /child themes (I’m using Leviathan).

    I am just now a month or so into using Hybrid, had several other major tasks before me (typical of the new year time) and found I have put off some projects in order to learn even the basics of what you have here. I am SUPER amazed at your attitude in the forums and your hard-hard-hard work and efforts. I can’t remember the last time I saw so much effort from an individual. But still, I know in my heart I should not have spent so much time and effort to get a theme running, but I stick with Hybrid because I believe you are on the right track.

    So no critizism from me intended, please take these comments as hopefully constructive for you in the future.

    God Bless, Ron

  9. kalcha — A news-style Hybrid child theme is on its way. Very soon.

    thinkjayant — Cool. I’d love to see your projects. The static front page issue with Hybrid has been resolved.

    Eric — I’d love to see your photoblog. There’s a photoblog child theme coming up soon.

    Boris Schneider-Johne — Stop by the support forums. We’ll see if we can solve your header issues.

    japani — Thanks for the translation. I’ve sent you an email

  10. japani


    I’ve thought exactly the same as you do, until I’ve started to play around with hooks and functions, and realized how powerful they can be. It’s surely takes time and effort to learn this, but you can get up and running very quickly.

    Anyway, this is completely not mandatory. I think that Justin put up a great theme that can work straight out of the box, and offers very powerful features. If that’s enough for you, then you are lucky. I’m sure that within time, more child themes will be offered by others, and than you will be able to enjoy the robustness of Hybrid with some freedom to chose the looks of the website.

  11. xodigoguy — The general public is already “biting.” Thousands of registered users here at Theme Hybrid is enough to say so.

    I certainly do appreciate any suggestions and take them all seriously. I’m glad to have you as part of this community as well. So, don’t take my following comments the wrong way. These are just general thoughts that I’d tell anyone.

    You want super-simple and easy. That’s fine. Hybrid might not be the theme for you.

    If you want point-and-click easy, Hybrid is definitely not the theme for you.

    I’m not sure why you think you need to know PHP to use my themes though. The only reason you should ever touch PHP is if you’re changing an advanced option. It doesn’t matter what theme you’re using. If you’re not using WP hooks to do it, then you’re doing it wrong. That’s just how it is supposed to work.

    Hybrid is a base theme. It is not meant to be easy for Average Joe to just point and click. It is meant to be a development tool for both me and others to build from.

    I’ve even opened a thread in the Ideas forum asking for suggestions on what tutorials everyone would like to see. There’s been one reply. Getting the most out of your user experience with the Hybrid theme starts at places like the Ideas forum. Asking for things like non-technical tutorials doesn’t help anyone. I don’t understand what that is. I need specifics to be able to help people.

    Now that I’ve said all that, I do have plans for other types of themes in the future that are meant to be easy to work with — point and click.

    Again, I do appreciate your suggestions and comments.

  12. japani — You said it much better than I did and in fewer words.

    Part of the things I do is help with the hooks. They are very powerful tools that’ll allow you to quickly change your site around. Plus, the Hybrid Hooks plugin make this easy for non-technical users.

    As you said though, it “is completely not mandatory.” The themes can be used as is.

    There will be more child themes coming, so changing looks can be very simple. On that note, the Hybrid news theme should be out this week.

  13. xodigoguy

    Justin / Japani, thanks for your comments back. I found the “Ideas Forum” and have replied initially some of my thoughts about documentation.

    Re: Functions / Hooks: I am relatively unfamiliar with Hooks especially, and Functions I heard of but no, I never bothered to check it (I thought it was something built into WP themes that I shouldn’t touch.)

    I’ll carve out some time in the next few weeks BECAUSE I agree, the concepts Hybrid present seem awesome. (I don’t recall having seen “Hooks” before I found you / Hybrid some weeks ago.)

    Justin / world: just so you don’t mis-understand me. I am fascinated by what Hybrid does! Some of these ideas are really remarkable, and they work!

    My ref. re: PHP is about little things I learned to add to my WP sites over the last months. I simply Ctrl C’d code (from codex) and pasted it into things like pages.php / sidebar.php and so on. I can’t do that with a sophisticated sys. like Hybrid. So I am “stuck” to learn Functions and Hooks (hopefully not more).

    Lastly (Justin): I decided to put my original comment here because on the forums, I couldn’t spot a relevant place (I just today found both “general” and “Ideas”, perhaps those were the places, but hey, who has time to surf :-).

    Still, I am not sure where I could even begin to outline some ideas for documentation with you (Justin) since you are so busy. I think my ideas would help, but also the description or descriptive language needed might annoy some support forum experts, or? (I’ll try the Ideas Forum for now.)

    THANKS AGAIN FOR what you do JUSTIN! I love Hybrid, but still have a lot to learn, in my opinion. (Reason, ’cause I am sticking with you, I know you are on the right track!) THANKS JAPANI for clarity. Good post.


  14. xodigoguy — I understand you completely. The thing I’m always trying to get across to people is that everything they know about themes is probably wrong.

    I simply Ctrl C’d code (from codex) and pasted it into things like pages.php / sidebar.php and so on. I can’t do that with a sophisticated sys. like Hybrid.

    This is a great example of what I mean.

    End users shouldn’t be doing this with any theme. This has nothing to do with Hybrid at all. It is not an ideal way of working with themes. For example, what would you do when the theme was updated? You’d have to go back in and add that code. That’s okay if you’ve made one change, but that’s usually not the case. You wouldn’t have that problem following theme best practices.

    Hybrid is not hard to use. In actuality, it makes it easier to accomplish things the correct way.

    I’m glad you’re using Hybrid. As always, I’ll be happy to help out when you need to figure out how to do something.

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