WordPress Tweaks

If the footer used on this site doesn’t give you an indication, I am really not that much of a WordPress fan. I am using it for Pipfrosch Press because:

  1. Many of my former issues with WordPress have been resolved, though some remain.
  2. The majority of my effort is going into ePub stuff, building a site from scratch would take away from that.
  3. If something happens to me and someone else needs to take over this project, well, plenty of people already know how to maintain a WordPress site but custom code would require someone take the time to learn the custom code.

I chose a theme that did not have too much eye candy and already had some accessibility features built in. The theme I chose is Simone. However, there were some issues with Simone I had to fix. That is what I spent today doing.

First of all, Simone uses Google Fonts. Many WordPress themes do. Google Fonts is a source of third party trackers, every time a page loads that uses Google Fonts a request is made to Google for the CSS file that defines the fonts, and cookies are set and sent with that request.

Secondly, Simone specified a serif font for the body content. Serif fonts are harder for everyone to read on digital screens but particularly so for those with dyslexia.

So I forked Simone to make my own theme that still uses WebFonts but they are served from the theme directory rather than from Google. And I switched out the PT Serif font for Intel Clear Sans. I also updated Font Awesome which already being served as a WebFont from within Simone, though I did stick with the 4.x series rather than updating to Font Awesome 5.

The Simone Theme has some social media code in it for Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. I removed the code for Google Plus. I left the code for Twitter and Facebook, I’ll never use it myself but someone else may want it.

I updated the Superfish and Enquire JavaScript libraries, Simone hasn’t been updated in awhile and there were some bug fixes in those libraries. I do not know if the fixed bugs impacted Simone, but they may have.

Finally, WordPress itself adds a bunch of crap like emoji support for older browsers, pingback stuff, etc. that can result in information leaks that result in tracking. Those are not issues with Simone itself but disabling that WordPress crap is easiest done within the theme functions.php file.

I think I have all the privacy leak concerns fixed.

There are still some tweaks I need to do but at least for the present, the privacy issues I believe are resolved.

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