Over the weekend, I spent some time with Photoshop, Filezilla, and a couple of my favorite text editors to put together a complete visual redesign on “Reclaimer”:http://reclaimercomic.com. I’ve picked up a few new Photoshop tricks in the last few weeks, and I upgraded to the latest ComicPress theme release for Reclaimer, so I figured it was time to finally tailor a custom look for the site and really make the comic its own entity. It was extremely helpful that Tyler Martin, the creator of the ComicPress theme, was generous enough to bundle five different variations on the theme, one of which is a graphic novel version – perfect for Reclaimer. Since he’d already done all the hard work of coding the layout, it was a relatively simple matter to simply fit some background graphics to the theme to make it Reclaimer-specific. I’m extremely happy with the final result, and I’ve already received a lot of positive comments about it. The Reclaimer site also sports a new forum (at the request of a handful of my readers) that runs on bbPress, which is by far my favorite forum software since it’s so lightweight. Feel free to check out the redesigned site, catch up on the comic, and join in on discussion on the forum.
I finally finished up my “bb-Bluesands theme”:http://shamuswrites.com/downloads/bb-bluesands-bbpress-theme/ for bbPress that complements my “Bluesands theme”:http://shamuswrites.com/downloads/bluesands-wordpress-theme/ for WordPress. I’ve been working at this in fits and starts for the last several weeks and just put the finishing touches on it today. If you want to see what it looks like live, step over the “forum”:http://forum.shamuswrites.com and check it out.
I’ve got to say that my site’s stats from yesterday alone make my numbers from the rest of the month look paltry by comparison – nearly 1000 hits yesterday, mostly directed at my BlueSands WordPress theme. The next closest day this month is around 140 hits. Quite the margin of difference. Of course, it helps that I also made sure to add BlueSands to the “Weblog Tools Collection”:http://weblogtoolscollection.com write-up for yesterday, which always sees a lot of traffic.
It’s also a little more than twice the number of hits my site received when I released the Navigation theme for bbPress, which isn’t all that surprising, considering that WordPress is still, at this moment, more popular than bbPress.
BlueSands for WordPress is finally ready for release. It’s a 3-column, widget-ready theme with a fluid width main content area and is built on the famous “Sandbox”:http://plaintxt.org/themes/sandbox theme. As a result, BlueSands has much of the powerful markup that Sandbox has become known for, including special classes for preformatted text, code, and definition lists.
BlueSands also provides support for the Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin. Once WordPress 2.3 with the UTW tag importer is released, I’ll update this theme to replace the UTW sections with the native WordPress tagging system.
BlueSands represents about 20-25 hours worth of work, about two-thirds of that simply troubleshooting a couple of unfamiliar Sandbox elements. I’m very pleased with the final result, which receives a fair bit of inspiration from the “Navigation”:http://www.gpsgazette.com/navigation-wp-theme/ theme, which I’ve always loved. BlueSands uses the colors from the WordPress dashboard to create a clean, crisp look with a minimal design.
Since I also use and love “bbPress”:http://bbpress.org, I’ll be making a version of BlueSands for bbPress soon, as well. Once it’s ready, it will be available for download from the BlueSands page, along with the WordPress version, both individually and bundled together.
You can check out the “full demo”:http://demos.shamuswrites.com/bluesands or download the theme from its “home page”:http://shamuswrites.com/downloads/bluesands-wordpress-theme/. Bug reports, problems, or questions about BlueSands should be directed to my “support forum”:http://forum.shamuswrites.com/forum/support.
BlueSands is released under a “GNU General Public License”:http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html.
I’ve been working pretty steadily over the last several days to complete the theme that now adorns this blog. At this point, I’d say it’s about 90% complete. The 10% that remains involves a whole lot of tweaking and validating code before it’s ready for public release. I’m pretty excited about it. This is only my second WordPress theme, and it’s a far cry better than my first, if I do say so myself. I’ve been wanting to build a custom theme for awhile now, but I hadn’t really had the time until I started having all this back trouble – and even then it’s only been since two weeks after my surgery that I’ve even felt up spending this much time working on the code. As soon as I finish tweaking everything, I slap this sucker down on its own download page and post a formal release announcement.
I’m also planning to redo my bbPress theme to match, thus giving the two primary parts of my site a more cohesive look and feel. I suspect that one will also be a fair bit of work, though it will probably be much less work than creating my first bbPress theme, since I build this WordPress theme using the same colors with the end goal of creating the bbPress theme. Once I’m done with that, I’ll update the download page so that folks can have their option to download the WordPress theme, the bbPress theme, or both themes bundled together.
Also, with WordPress 2.3 coming out at some point later this year, I’ll update this theme to accommodate for tags being native and Ultimate Tag Warrior going the way of the dodo. That, however, should be a very easy tweak.
I’m getting my inner geek on – again. I spent the majority of my day today trying to figure out how to crosspost from WordPress to MySpace. I’d found a “hack that looked like it had potential”:http://noumenon.roderickrussell.com/wordpress-to-myspace-auto-crossposting that I messed with for quite a while, but so far I’ve had no success in getting it to run, despite having following the directions to the letter and checked everything over fifthlicate (and then some). I’m still waiting for a reply back on my comment to see if the hack’s author has any idea what’s blocking my attempts.
Ultimately, I gave up on that and started trying to find a way to put a light-weight Twitter badge on to my MySpace profile. I don’t like any of the badges that Twitter produces, so I looked around for other options. But of course, MySpace being the notoriously unfriendly environment that it is, there are no good solutions that are both functional and attractive on the page. So, I’ve given up on that option for the time being, as well.
In the meantime, I plan to learn a little more about the ins-and-outs of PHP coding tomorrow. I’ve got the MyDashboard plugin installed on this blog, but it doesn’t display quite as much information in the dashboard from some of my other behind-the-scenes plugins as I’m used to. So, my intent is to learn out to create a few gadgets that will tap into these plugins and put this information closer to my fingertips. If all goes well, I may even plan to create gadgets for a few other things that I’ve always wanted on the dashboard and never been able to find plugins for.
On that note, I’ve got a few of the plugin pages from the WordPress codex up in my browser. I really would like to get more involved with the development end of WordPress, but it is my sketchy knowledge of PHP that limits how much I can do. Since I have at least a two or three more weeks of down-time while I heal up from surgery, I hope to make some use of that time to learn a little more about how to write plugins for WordPress. I’ve come up with ideas in the past for things I’d love my WordPress installation to be able to do, things that, thus far, no one else has created plugins for. So, I hope to learn and add a few things to the WordPress community myself.
I’ve got other things to work on, as well. I still have plans to create a customized WordPress theme. I’d started work on a minimal theme last week, but that’s been on hiatus due to surgery last week. But now that I’m beginning to feel better and gain some more mobility again, I hope to get back to this project, as well, and try to finish it up. The skeleton I’d managed to build last week will probably undergo an overhaul, though, as I’ve changed my mind about some things in my mind about where I want to go with it. Heck, if I get _really_ ambitious, I might even tailor a new bbPress theme to go with it.
With “bbPress 0.8.2 hot off the press”:http://bbpress.org/blog/2007/06/082-hot-off-the-bbpress/ and, with it, the addition of the ability to create child boards, “I’ve released version 1.3”:http://shamuswrites.com/2007/02/13/navigation-for-bbpress/ of the Navigation Theme for bbPress to accommodate for nested child boards. I’ve wanted to have the ability to create child boards for quite some time now, so this is a very nice addition that I will enjoy very much.
Wow! Upgrading bbPress is even more painless than upgrading WordPress!
I’ve finally “released”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2007/02/13/navigation-for-bbpress/ a “final” copy of the “Navigation Theme”:http://www.gpsgazette.com/navigation-wp-theme/ for bbPress that “I’ve been working on”:http://open-dialogue.com/bbpress, with a couple of after-the-fact tweaks (suggestions from a “friend”:http://fadingdust.wordpress.com) that’ll likely appear in any later release I do.
When I initially set out to port the Navigation Theme from WordPress to bbPress, I really hadn’t thought to undertake a major coding project. It’s been several years since I’ve really done any kind of web design work, and 90% of _that_ was for my own personal website as I was learning and working with HTML(Hypertext Markup Language). CSS(Cascading Style Sheets) language has changed a lot over the years, and I’ve gotten woefully behind on what it can do now. All I wanted was a functional template that looked at least _something_ like what I use here in WordPress. What I ended up with was a week-long project hacking and crash-coursing CSS(Cascading Style Sheets) in between other real-life projects in order to quiet the perfectionist raging inside me.
And I’ve really learned quite a bit. Stylesheets can do quite a lot more now than when I was first exposed to them. I’ve been highly impressed. I can also say that I think I’ve become quite comfortable with most of the new commands and with forcing things to appear in the way that _I_ want them to. (It’s amazing how much time you sometimes have to spend poring over code just to figure that adding one short line to an element will solve a couple of major problems all at once. It’s disgusting, really.)
The only problem with stylesheets is, you’ve got it, Internet Explorer. I actually worked really hard on this project to make sure that the theme would be as compatible across browsers as possible. Unfortunately, IE6 makes this extremely difficult because it doesn’t always acknowledge all the CSS(Cascading Style Sheets) commands. Or it executes code in really funny ways, making something that looks great in both Firefox and IE7 look like utter garbage when you load it in IE6. So, I had to funny creative workarounds in the stylesheet that would allow the theme to be functional in IE6 while still not breaking things in Firefox and IE7. A major headache, to be sure, but ultimately it turned out to be worthwhile. What I ended up with was a clean, attractive template that perfectly complements the one I use on WordPress.
So, if ever I find a good reason to use these two tools (WordPress and bbPress) in apposition to each other, I’ll already be set up and ready to go. I had fun messing with the design, but it’s time again to move on to some other things that have been waiting (im)patiently for me.
I like all things “WordPress”:http://wordpress.org. So, when I heard about “bbPress”:http://bbpress.org – discussion forum software done by the WordPress folks – I figured I’d try it out. And I do like this most recent version. I also like the “Navigation”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2007/02/09/bbpress/ theme that I used for a while, enough so that I wanted to port it for use with bbPress, which I’ve done.
You can preview the theme live at “Forum Shamus”:http://forum.shamuswrites.com.
You can download here:
Simply upload the navigation folder to your my-templates folder and select it from the Presentation menu in the admin panel of your bbPress installation. Then, sit back, and enjoy!
Please post and bug reports or feature requests for this theme “here”:http://forum.shamuswrites.com/topic/navigation-for-bbpress?replies=1.
If you like this theme, please consider making a donation to my tip jar:
* added code for nested child boards
* combines the list of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Your TagsÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“OthersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ TagsÃ¢â‚¬Â
* bug fix
* corrected small stylesheet error
* validated for xhtml compliance
* stylesheet cleaned up
* option included in stylesheet to add right sidebar
* bug fixes for IE6 formatting
* Hot Tags moved to a sidebar
* forums table now spans entire width
* original release