A New Look

Welcome dear reader!

You may have noticed that there is now a new look to the site. I appreciated the Twenty Ten Theme that came as the default wordpress install, but it really just wasn’t me. My personal preference is for a dark outside and a light inside. Therefore, I give you a theme is based on StudioPress by Daily Blog Tips.

But of course, I have modified it to really suit what feels best to me.

Screen real estate is very important to me, and I don’t like unnecessary white space where content could live.

Here are the updates that I have made (in no particular order):

  • Removed Monster RSS Image
    Right away, there was a monster “Grab our RSS” image. It isn’t that hard to find if you are interested in getting the RSS feed, but it really didn’t need to be an eye sore. I may add a smaller image somewhere above the fold in the near future, but for now, you can find the feed in the footer.
  • H1 & H2 headers inline
    Since both my title and subtitle aren’t very long, I decided to use the css display:inline-block, and give a slight margin between them. This minimizes all the horizontal white space between both lines.
  • Background Blue Top
    There was a blue line that was 30 pixels tall that only contained the search bar in the top-right corner. Also a waste of horizontal white space.
  • Search
    Just because the Background image was cropped, that didn’t mean that the layout would flow the way I wanted it to. Therefore, I made the search header position:absolute, and then positioned it in line with the Page tabs.
  • Excess Padding/Margins
    And finally comes the excess padding and margins in all areas (mostly at the top). I reduced many top paddings to zero, and in some cases, made the values negative. I believe that there is still sufficient space to separate the content, so as to not just bleed into the background or be pushed right next to it.
  • Hid default “Welcome” message
    There is a Theme Option to have some text spread out above both columns used for widgets. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything to say, and therefore it defaulted in having some predetermined (and hard coded – Yikes!) text to let me know how to update it in the backend. Since I wanted it hidden, I removed the necessary code in the sidebar.php file. At some point I may make this into a newsletter subscription area, but it’s not ready for that just yet.
  • Hard Coded Categories
    Right after the install, I began tweaking, updating my widgets. I added the Categories and Archive widgets to the left side, and the BlogRoll to the right. A quick page refresh and I see 2 categories sections in the left. Since it wasn’t anything specially placed (like the search widget), I decided to remove the hard coded category placement in the sidebar.php file. The widget section is handling that part just fine, thank you very much.

After finding the theme that I thought would be best, it only took me about an hour or so to make the tweaks. One thing that really helped out was the FireBug plugin for Firefox. I would tweak the number, and it modified it instantly. I would then update the theme, and then tweak the next section. Many others have positive reviews, and recommend all web developers to utilize it. Consider me another one of those users.

One thing that I did wish that this theme had are drop down menu for sub pages. This may be a tweak I add at another point in time. I believe that TwentyTen had it, so it may be a pretty simple copy/paste/tweak job. That will add in both my PHP and JQuery skills, eh?

Enjoy!

PS, I wanted to do some before/after screen shots, but my wireless card on my laptop was acting a fritz, so it is on hold until I get some more time.

RJ writes custom Windows and Web applications using the Microsoft .NET framework, and enjoys solving problems with code, often while listening to a techno soundcloud stream. He hopes to one day write an application that many businesses will use.

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