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My profile is set to show the WP toolbar when viewing the site, but on a page using the front-page.php template the toolbar space is reserved but its contents are not visible. What could be the reason for this?

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I had not included wp_footer(). It seems the code for the toolbar is included with this call, and wp_head().

Modifying the Toolbar

Reasons Why Your Toolbar May Not be Showing

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That is correct, the admin bar is created by hooking into wp_footer();. A good rule of thumb is to ALWAYS have wp_head(); and wp_footer(); in your themes. They are extremely important hooks to have as they are used for everything from plugins to including JavaScript files properly. –  cmegown May 25 '12 at 16:33
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