On the New Blog Design

After deciding to redesign my blog’s layout, I decided against it. I ran a Hot Wax Weekend instead over Memorial Day.

The thing was, I’d already started coding the new website design I’d selected, taking the CoolBlue stylesheet from StyleShout. I had the “main” files done — header.php, index.php, sidebar.php, and footer.php. Yes, there are a couple more you need to create a full-fledged WordPress theme, but they’re minor. (Comments.php, for instance, is a file that you really don’t change.)

An hour this morning, while listening to Car Talk on NPR, I finished off the main coding. I did borrow some code from ThemeLab’s port of CoolBlue, in particular the way the Social Media icons are coded, but other than that, the underlying code comes from Brian Gardner’s Core Blog Theme (because Gardner’s code is very easy to work with).

I’d say I’m about eighty-percent done.

The main problem with changing a WordPress theme, especially when you’re using one you’ve customized a lot, is that customization. The immediate issue for me this morning was adding some CSS code to handle image placement, such as alignment and borders and padding. But that wasn’t major. No, the major stuff was the custom page templates I’d created, to generate things like archives and tag clouds. It wasn’t tedious to create new custom template files (and I still have a few more to do), but if someone has a lot of custom templates — especially complicated templates — that can pose a genuine reason not to change one’s layout.

Sometime this weekend I’ll tackle the promotional area of my website, which displayed publications and blurbs. I have the CSS coding for it down and tested, so that it will format properly. Now I just have to write the PHP routine to pull the proper information from the database. And I have to figure out how to fix the CSS so that the last.fm widget will format correctly, but that’s not a major issue for me.

Otherwise, the design is in good enough shape that I’m not embarassed if people take a look. 😉

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