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Web Communication Spine Parent Theme

“Skip to” links for screen readers added to the Spine Parent Theme

The 109th release of the WSUWP Spine Parent Theme, version 0.27.1, was deployed earlier today. It finally adds helper links for screen readers that make skipping straight to the main content or the primary navigation much more pleasant.

Hit “Tab” on your keyboard once when a page first loads to see a Skip to main content link. Hit “Tab” a second time to see Skip to navigation. Hitting “Enter” on either of these will focus your keyboard on that area of the page, making it easier to navigate through other portions from there. Note that if you’re logged in, you’ll get a Skip to toolbar link first to help with WordPress navigation.

The concept of bypassing blocks of content is described as part of WCAG 2.0 2.4.1.

If you notice any issues related to this implementation, please let us know via a new issue on the Spine Parent Theme repository. And drop in on open labs every Friday morning to discuss!

Spine Parent Theme 0.26.2 Released

Version 0.26.2 of the Spine Parent Theme has been released and deployed to the WSUWP Platform. We released 0.26.1 last week with one change that is included in the enhancements list below. Enjoy!

Bug Fixes

  • Remove some over-bearing flexbox rules from slideshow content styles. This solved a content issue, but also created some bugs for those who had already styled their slideshow content.


  • Adjust the Twitter share text to only be the post/page title and not the full HTML title of the document. This makes sharing more comfortable and less likely to overrun the 140 character limit.
  • When naming a section through its configuration, show the title immediately in the builder interface rather than waiting until after the page is saved.
  • Process mobile section background images properly on page load when the window width is less than 792px. Mobile section background images can be added through the section configuration. These should ideally be much smaller in size to enabled speedier loading on mobile devices.
  • Section deletion confirmations! Now it’s less easy to accidentally delete a section from the page builder interface.

Spine Changes

  • Deprecate lightest, lighter, gray, and darkest color selections for the Spine. If you have already selected one of these colors, it will remain. If not, these will no longer be available. We would suggest switching to one of the supported color options—White, Dark, Darker, and Crimson.
  • Change the naming of “Default (white)” to “White” to put less stress on it being a default. It’s actually a really great option.

Spine Parent Theme 0.26.0 Released

Version 0.26.0 of the Spine Parent Theme has been released and deployed to the WSUWP Platform. This is actually the 22nd release since the announcement of 0.22.0. 😅

As mentioned then, we’re still working on the workflow for release posts. Often the changes are very small and incremental, though it’s best to get the info out there.

Here are all the notable changes since that last announcement.

  • New: Apply improved default styling for content on top of slideshow and banner sections added with the page builder.
  • New: Apply improved default styling for galleries. Specifically, these now respect the columns setting.
  • New: Remove an extra space when generating a page’s HTML title.
  • New: Consolidate a large amount of admin CSS and clean up the page builder interface styles.
  • Add a default print stylesheet. We hid the print action from the Spine on the platform a while ago, disabling the JavaScript previously used to print. This default print stylesheet makes the experience nicer for those who choose to print with their browser. (0.25.3)
  • Provide the option to assign background images to columns in the page builder interface. (0.25.2)
  • Use the site’s configured Twitter handle when sharing through the article’s header or footer area. Previously this was set to @wsupullman. (0.25.2)
  • Include a parts/share-tool.php template for use when overriding the share tool area on individual articles in child themes. (0.25.2)
  • The default secondary color when using the Bookmark styles is now Criimson. (0.25.1)
  • Merge the default WordPress “Site Identity” and Spine “Main Header” sections in the Customizer. This may be confusing for a bit as we figure out the best way to show this information. (0.25.0)
  • Set Open Sans as the default font family for new sites. (0.25.0)
  • Set the default Spine grid style to fluid for new sites. (0.25.0)
  • Set the default page template to Builder Template for new sites. (0.25.0)
  • Allow author pages to be disabled through Advanced in the Customizer. (0.24.2)
  • Remove the print icon from the Spine header and style remaining icons to fit. (0.24.0)
  • Provide social sharing icons on single post content, controllable via the Customizer. (0.24.0)
  • Clear floating elements above .article-footer. (0.24.0)
  • Deprecate the “light” and “vellum” color variants for the Spine in the Customizer. (0.23.4)
  • Fix an issue where the “Bleed left” option was set true by default. (0.23.3)
  • Add support for slide titles in the page builder. (0.23.2)
  • Allow for the positioning of featured images when used as backgrounds. (0.23.0)
  • Apply a default style to dd and dt elements in Events Calendar Pro. (0.22.6)
  • Allow for custom post types to support the page builder interface. (0.22.4)
  • Provide the X-UA-Compatible meta tag with a value of IE=EDGE in HTML to try and force new versions of IE out of compatibility mode.

Well then. Here’s to a shorter release list next time! 👋

Spine Parent Theme 0.22.0 Released

Version 0.22.0 of the Spine Parent Theme has been released and deployed to the WSUWP Platform. This is actually the 9th release since the last announcement of 0.20.1. We’re still working on our workflow for release posts and many of the changes are back-end or very minor. All are included here.

  • Provide a filter (spine_get_campus_home_url) to override the campus home URL in child themes. (0.20.2)
  • Refactor handling of Open Sans fonts so that only one request to Google for font files is made vs the previous configuration where multiple requests may have been possible. (0.20.3)
  • When using the Bookmark theme, do not show the gray WSU background on the home page. (0.20.3)
  • The class section-wrapper is now attached to any section wrapper by default in addition to the wrapper class specified in section configuration. This will help target all wrapped sections in a page. (0.20.4)
  • Add filters and actions so that child themes can alter how sections are built. (0.21.0)
  • Add support for custom section IDs in each section’s configuration. (0.21.0)
  • Link article thumbnails to their respective article. Previously there was no link. (0.21.1)
  • On some imported content, featured images may not be available. In these cases, we should not output the HTML markup for handling these images unless an actual source exists. (0.21.2, 0.21.3, 0.21.4)

New Features in 0.22.0

Columns in the page builder have always had their titles output as H2 elements. In 0.22.0, these titles can be configured through the column’s configuration to display as H2, H3, or H4 header levels. Column titles will continue to default to H2.

In the notes for 0.20.1, we announced that background images could be assigned to sections with the caveat that JavaScript would be required for them to actually work. As of 0.22.0, this JavaScript runs in the theme by default. If you provide a full image URL for “Background Image” when configuring a section, this will be converted to an inline CSS background image property after page load. In the future we’ll provide support for mobile detection and image handling as well. For now, the same image will appear on both.

Intentional Acts of Randomness

We’ve provided a number of utility classes in the Spine Parent Theme, among them, oxymoronic though it may be: intentional randomness. There are surely other applications for these random classes, but perhaps the most common use case is to provide imagery or styles across a whole site without having to target every page specifically. So, for example, one could design five header graphics that are then displayed randomly on twenty pages. Here’s how it works. » More …

Spine Parent Theme 0.20.1 Released

Version 0.20.1 of the Spine Parent Theme has been released and deployed to the WSUWP Platform. This is actually the 7th release since the last announcement of 0.19.0. Many of the changes were quickly made during the development of the new WSU home page and are minor. I’ll include those as well!

  • Fix a non-working featured image meta box. (0.19.1)
  • Fix a misspelled filter for BU Navigation controlling the “Overview” text in the Spine. (0.19.2)
  • Fix an issue in which duplicate HTML titles were displayed (0.19.3)
  • Add the ability to assign section labels to page builder sections to aid with organization of sections that do not have column titles. (0.19.4)
  • Fix the Twitter account used when sharing via Twitter. Previously, the configured account would not have appeared. (0.19.4)
  • Apply mobile unfloat to large images so that text wraps properly. (0.19.4)
  • Add awareness of an individual article’s image status with has-background-image, has-featured-image, and has-thumbnail-image classes at the article level. (0.19.4)
  • Adjust main header styling when bookmark style is in use. (0.19.4)
  • Allow for use of parts/footers.php inside main by child themes. (0.19.5)
  • Navigation menus other than site and offsite will retain all custom classes. Previously, we would strip everything except for those expected by the Spine. (0.20.0)
  • Site and path classes are now applied to body to help maintain common styles throughout multiple sites. Path is the root path of the site, not the current path being viewed in a site. (0.20.1)
  • All singular page views now have single applied as a class to body. All not singular views have not-single applied. (0.20.1)
  • Add proper current and dogeared classes when BU Navigation is active. (0.20.1)
  • Add a customizer option for future support of “open by default” search behavior in the Spine. (0.20.1)
  • Hide Open Sans details when off. Show when on. (0.20.1)
  • Update signature link to HTTPS for (0.20.1)

One other very interesting feature that was added in 0.20.0 is the ability to assign background images to sections. While it will be excellent in the future for various uses, it is currently in early stages and you’ll need custom Javascript to take advantage of this near term. As an example, we’re using this on the WSU Home page to handle the delayed loading of the fixed backgrounds as you scroll through the page. An option is also available to add a separate mobile background so that bandwidth can be limited. As this feature is expanded, we’ll talk more about the possibilities.

Spine Parent Theme 0.19.0 Released

Version 0.19.0 of the Spine Parent Theme has been released and deployed to the WSUWP Platform. This release makes major modifications to the page builder interface to resolve some of the issues we’ve seen since our December release of 0.17.0.

  • Revert builder interface to align with upstream Make 1.3.2
  • Consolidate single admin template into the columns admin template.
  • Improve the old interface a bit to match some nicer parts while retaining the TinyMCE behavior we expect.

Now that the interface has returned to something less buggy, we’ll be focusing on incremental improvements to some key portions. As always, stop by Open Lab in ITB 2025 on Friday morning from 9:30am to 11:30am to get the earliest previews of these elements as they are being developed.

Spine Parent Theme 0.18.2 Released

Version 0.18.2 of the Spine Parent Theme has been released and deployed to the WSUWP Platform. This release contains several items worth noting.

  • Provide support for BU Navigation as a navigation option. If this plugin is enabled on your site, default navigation will be replaced by that provided by the plugin. We’ll write up more on using this plugin shortly.
  • Add a.more-link and a span.more-default classes when a more link is added to an excerpt.
  • Depending on the source of an excerpt add one of summary-divided, summary-truncated, or summary-unabridged as a post class to the article container.
  • Merge upstream Make 1.4.8 with the custom builder.

We have been working with several issues related to the page builder interface recently. If you are using shortcodes or automatic embeds, it is likely you’ve noticed at least one issue. Within the next few days, we’ll be reverting to the interface that was used before the 0.17.0 release in December. Doing so will allow us to revisit some of our goals from the page builder and then move forward a bit slower. We’ll be keeping some of the look and feel of the interface, but most of the functionality will return.

If you’d like to see a preview of this, please come to ITB 2025 tomorrow morning from 9:30am-11:30am. I’ll be discussing some of the changes that will be deployed soon.

Spine Parent Theme 0.18.1 Released

It’s only been a day, but we’re back with a 0.18.1 release of the Spine Parent Theme. This is a very small release overall.

Editor styles have been updated from the upstream theme Make. We’ll be changing these over time to better match the Spine defaults. Right now this improves the image experience quite a bit.

The default share text used when sharing by Twitter or by email in the Spine is now dynamically populated with the title of the current page. The via text added to the Tweet will now look for the URL stored in your social options in the Customizer if it has been set. More options for changing these defaults will be added in the future.

Spine Parent Theme 0.18.0 Release

Version 0.18.0 of the Spine Parent Theme has been released and is now in place on the WSUWP Platform. It contains multiple improvements over 0.17.0. The list below covers some very minor releases for versions 0.17.2 through 0.17.4 as well.


  • Improve the single template for individual people in the University Center Objects plugin.
  • Improve the archive template for a list of people in the University Center Objects plugin.
  • Add missing padding to the footer section on the standard single layout.
  • Add default editor styles for larger images, making them easier to manage.
  • Fix a bug where social icons were not appearing in the Spine by default.
  • Fix a bug where section configuration was not available in page builder for single sections.
  • Merge upstream changes from Make 1.4.7


  • Add a later priority when enqueueing styles and scripts to cascade on top of plugin styles.
  • Enable Health Sciences Spokane campus signature.
  • Use a campus specific home URL in the Spine.


  • Fix issue with duplicate titles appearing in <title>
  • Add actual support for Thumbnail Image on archive views, fall back to Featured Image.


  • Address bug (#145) that caused the removal of <p> tags when updating existing content.

As always, please reach out if you have any issues or questions! Issues on GitHub for the Spine Parent Theme can be created by anyone. A general forum for community support will be coming soon.