WordPress and Twitter fans, rejoice! Now available: “Prologue”:http://wordpress.com/blog/2008/01/28/introducing-prologue/, a Twitterlike theme for WordPress that’s ideal for groups of 3-15 to post short updates to each other. Downside: if you don’t have access to SVN, you have to download each theme file separately, since the boys at Automattic neglected to bundle them in a tidy .zip file. (Source: “Matt”:http://ma.tt/2008/01/twitter-theme/)
With thanks to Rob for pointing me in the right direction, Shamus Writes is now sporting a modified, Web 2.0-ish look. I contacted Ant Eksiler, who is giving away free custom WordPress themes to folks who meet a certain set of criteria, and he took my Bluesands theme and tweaked it to give it a slightly cleaner, more glossy look. So, my thanks go to Ant for his hard work (and for sorting through my stylesheet) and putting the finishing touches on my theme. I’ve also added credits for him in both the theme’s footer and stylesheet.
So, what do you think?
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.
My “tumblelog”:http://tumble.shamuswrites.com is officially up and in working condition. I’m using the “T1”:http://www.livetardy.com/t1/ theme, which is built on the wonderful “Sandbox”:http://plaintxt.org/themes/sandbox/, much to my great joy. I did modify the theme somewhat, though, removing the default T1 image in the header and restoring the bloginfo(‘name’) and bloginfo(‘description’) fields to their proper places. I also brought the theme up to 2.3 compatibility with tags and added my webring navigation links to the navbar.
What I like about T1 is the custom styling for each category, giving each type of entry its own special look. I intend to take full advantage of this as this tumblelog will give me a good place to share any all neat videos, photos, links, etc. that I run across in the course of the typical day. Comments are open and welcome – just mouseover any entry for the comment link to appear on the right-hand side. Also feel free to subscribe to my feed, particularly if randomness is your cuppajoe.
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.
I’ve recently discovered the wonderfully marked-up “Sandbox”:http://plaintxt.org/themes/sandbox theme for WordPress and, in so doing, discovered the inspiration to build another theme for myself. But I also discovered rather quickly that there were a few minor problems with things not spreading out to the furthest edges of the browser. So I sought help and found that I needed to reset the margins for the html and body tags. I was also directed to this fabulous CSS entry called “Reset Reloaded”:http://meyerweb.com/eric/thoughts/2007/05/01/reset-reloaded/, which provides global resets for just about everything in a basic web page. I applied these and discovered the beauty of a WordPress theme with absolutely no formatting whatsoever. It’s a wonderful thing.
From there I’ve begun restructuring every element to my satisfaction, building what I need and want. And with Sandbox, this is made all the easier because everything has an id or a class (or multiple classes). All I have to do is look at the page source and see what tags are generated by the built-in code and then build the stylesheet accordingly. I’m working on a single-column, minimalistic theme with very few (if any) frills or flourishes. At this point, I’m thinking that most of the traditional sidebar content will also be shifted to a custom-built page template, but that one I’m going to have to work on a bit and see what comes of it. It’s a work in progress, and I’ll likely finish it up sometime later this week, due to the fact that there will be a brief pause in all coding work while I read the final installment of Harry Potter tomorrow.
If you’re a web coder, do check out Eric Meyer’s “Reset Reloaded.” I think you’ll like what you see and how much it cleans things up for you from the outset.
One of the advantages of being flat on one’s back is I’ve had time to do a little WordPress theme design the last couple of days. I volunteered to host and build a new website for my parents’ church – the one they had before was, quite frankly, a ghastly design and layout and difficult to update and maintain. So, I moved their site to a WordPress installation on my server, and then set about modifying the “Sandbox”:http://www.plaintxt.org/themes/sandbox/ theme to my liking. I started out with something very “plain and basic”:http://www.sndbx.org/live-preview/ – no frills, just the basic elements in place – and ended up with something “a bit nicer looking”:http://ebcclarksonny.org.
I don’t know if I’ll release this theme publicly or not. I’d have to clean up a couple of the files a bit, since I added some custom coding to make a couple of the plugins work correctly. But it might be worth it.