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’ve found a new toy – the “Chess Tactics Server”:http://chess.emrald.net/index.php. It’s basically a free website where you go to solve thousands of chess problems. You’re presented with scenario where you have to choose the next best move (or set of moves) before the clock runs out and are rated based on whether or not you found the correct solution. The faster you solve it, the more points you get. Solvers start with a rating of 1500 (based on the popular “Glicko system”:http://math.bu.edu/people/mg/glicko/glicko.doc/glicko.html). Right now I’m hovering right around 1100, so I think I’ve hit my actual skill level at the moment. The goal is to improve my rating by doing more and more of these problems.
For chess enthusiasts rushing over there to check it, take notice that the site works best in Internet Explorer. Tell IE to _never_ check for newer versions of stored pages (Tools –> Internet Options –> Temporary Internet Files –> Settings –> Check for newer versions of stored pages –> Never), or else the clock will start counting down before the board even finishes loading.
It’s kind of fun, and you can solve as many or as few as you like and then go do something else for a while. So, if you like chess, go give it a look-see.
Well, no brilliant writing again today, sadly. Time seems to be getting away from me more and more these days. I did manage, however, to finally convert to the 3K2 theme, complete with all the widgety goodness that goes with it. It’s still slightly clunky in some aspects (IE really doesn’t seem to like style sheets the way Firefox does), but I definitely prefer the 3-column look to the 2-column I’ve been using. Lemme know if particular elements don’t work or simply destroy your eyesight. I’ll see what I can do to tweak things as necessary.
And hopefully tomorrow, I’ll have both time and energy to devote to something that is actually intellectually stimulating.
One of the things I have noticed over the past couple of days, as I work on tweaking various things here, is that I really don’t like working with the ’em’ tag for formatting font size and line height. For one thing Firefox and Internet Explorer handle it differently, and you end up with two very different looks. I’ve taken to changing ’em’ everywhere I see it in my style sheet to the ‘pt’ format. I think ‘pt’ is much easier to use, much more flexible, and much easier to control. I can create the same look across browsers, rather than the mess that results when I need to switch browsers. I know that ’em’ is supposed to be this revolutionary coding style for Web 2.0, but for me it creates more headaches than it cures. I’m still not entirely happy with the look of my site, but then again, I’m not quite done tweaking the code.
Something else I’m learning is that, when you are installing new plugins into your web site, make sure you read _all_ the documentation first. It’s usually good to know ahead of time what features the plugin touts, what they do, and what they are supposed to look like in all their various iterations. I could have saved myself a few minutes of work this morning if only I’d read the part about the Captcha! being deactivated for registered users (I couldn’t find it to it test it until I logged out). So, read that documentation first, then do the install. It generally makes everything go a lot more smoothly.
I am such a putz. I’m being real open and vulnerable here, but basically, as a person, I suck!!! The past few days I’ve been having major problems with my computer. Basically a stupid virus (or set of viruses) has been ransacking my Internet Explorer, to the point where I had to uninstall it and replace it with Netscape Communicator. And do you think I responded with grace and patience and a general spirit of good Christianity? Of course not! I lost my temper, threw a tantrum, swore and yelled and screamed and acted really quite childish! So, basically, I’m a jerk and a loser who can’t control his temper, who lets rage drive him to points of madness. I SUCK!