Announcing Largo 0.5.5

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We're excited to announce the latest release of Largo, our WordPress framework for news websites.

This is a big release that we've been working on for the past nine months or so and it includes a lot of great new features we think you'll love as well as a bunch of smaller improvements and bug fixes. You can see the complete list in the official release notes.

Here are a few highlights:

Redesigned photo galleries

The photo galleries in Largo were inherited from Project Argo and were looking pretty dated. We completely redesigned the galleries to make the design more minimal to focus more on your photos while also ensuring a better mobile experience for your readers. We also added support for full-screen viewing (a very common request we've heard from a number of sites). Here's what the galleries looked like Before:

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and After:

gallery-1

We also added support for a grid view of photos to better support the "columns" attribute you see in the settings when you create a gallery in WordPress (thanks to Rivard Report's photo editor Scott Ball for this suggestion). So now when you set that option:

gallery-1a

You're able to display your photos in a grid view (with the ability to click to view them as a full-screen slideshow):

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Improved byline functionality and support for multiple authors

Previous iterations of Largo included some byline enhancements to support multiple authors (using the popular Co-Authors Plus plugin) and showing a "time since" dateline instead of an absolute date. In this version we've added a number of additional improvements, including the ability to display author avatar images directly in the byline:

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We also included better support for the optional job title field available in Largo user profiles. Some sites use this for job titles and some have been using it to identify partner organizations:

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Additionally, for posts that have been updated after they were originally published, we now show the date and time the post was last updated at the top of the body of your story. There are also a number of general improvements to Co-Authors Plus compatibility and support for guest authors.

Better social network integration

As you may have noticed in the byline example above, we've also added better support for additional social networks.

For non-developers, there are some additional social networks in the Appearance > Theme Options section of the dashboard (most notably, support for Instagram and Pinterest). Once you add the links to the relevant social networks you'll see the icons/links appear in the header/footer and also in any Largo Follow widgets you may have added to your site. On a related note we've also updated the Largo Follow, Facebook and Twitter widgets to support the latest and greatest from each of the social networks.

For developers there are some additional hooks and filters that allow you to easily add additional social networks to the sharing tools on article pages and also the theme options and related widgets. If you're not a developer but you'd like to add this support for your site, we're happy to help with that as part of our paid consulting services. Just get in touch with us and we can discuss how best to accomplish what you're trying to do.

Better admin user-experience for featured media

In a previous release we added some powerful new functionality that extended the default WordPress featured image functionality to support photo galleries, videos and other embedded media. Unfortunately, adding a new button for this above the Post window proved confusing to people, as did the option to override the automatic display of featured media at the top of the post.

We've moved this functionality back to the default location in WordPress (in the right column of the Post Edit screen) and also made it much easier to find the checkbox to override the default display of featured media on a per-post basis (useful if you want to just show the thumbnail image on the homepage but include the photo elsewhere in your story instead of at the very top).

featured-media

We've also added support for featured media to the legacy two-column post template. We still recommend using the single-column template in almost every instance. To make this transition possible, we have released a number of recent plugins (mostly notable the Super Cool Ad Inserter) that should make it easy to insert advertising, donation messages and signup widgets without needing a sidebar or right rail on article pages. Your mobile users, particularly, will thank you for making this change. If you're not quite ready to make that leap, however, we're now pleased to at least give you the same featured media support that we incorporated into our new default article template in the last Largo release.

...and much more.

THANK YOU!

To everyone who contributed to this release, including community contributions from yayannabellejmusalntwbMsPseudolus and rclations (before he joined our team).

There are also some new features in this release that were originally built for a few of our recent clients which have now been open sourced so that all can benefit. So, a huge thanks to Rivard Report, Religion News Service, Mississippi Today and others who, in one way or another, contributed to some of this work.

Get The Latest

For INN member sites that we host, we'll be rolling out this update over the next couple of weeks. We're also making some infrastructure changes at the same time to improve reliability of your sites so we'll be reaching out individually over the coming weeks to coordinate scheduling for the updates.

For sites that we don't host, the update is available now to download from Github (zip file). We do strongly recommend that you apply updates to Largo as your time and resources allow. Keeping the Largo parent theme up to date will ensure you have, at times, critical bug fixes, the latest features and will also help us to provide better support when you come to us with questions. As with all major updates, we recommend testing the update on a staging site before updating your live site. If you require assistance with making the update, we're happy to help either through our weekly office hours or our paid consulting services. Get in touch if you need a hand.

What's Next?

This is the last planned release for the current Largo codebase. Over the next few months we'll be starting a process to take the work we've done over the first four years of the project and re-architect the core Largo framework to make it more modular, flexible and easier to use.

These planned improvements will make it easier for you to pick and choose the components you want to use for your site instead of having to sort through a bunch of options and configuration settings. We will also release a number of components as standalone WordPress plugins so you can take advantage of the work we've done without necessarily having to use the entire Largo theme in its present form.

Finally, we also plan to have a number of new WordPress themes built using this framework that will have incorporate much of the newer design work you may have seen on some of our more recent projects.

In short, we hope to keep the best of what has made Largo such a popular platform for newsrooms but make it easier for you to use and easier for us to maintain and improve.

You'll be hearing a lot more about that process soon and we're excited to share the work as it progresses!