Check out my new website theme!

Thumbnail screenshot of my new webpageCreated from scratch and all sparkling original web2.0 stuff. Yep. Been working on it slowly for a while now. Of course if your reading this post somewhere else than, you won’t notice a difference. That’s why I’ve included lots of images in this post. (Now if your feed reader removes images well get a better feed reader!)

My previous theme (which I’ve made avaliable here) was a bit limited and, to be honest, I was beginning to find it more ugly each day. However it was an exercise in data-hiding and trying to control visitor flow. (I don’t think I succeed, did I?)

This time round I wanted something snappy and something easier to read without it being cluttered.

So here are some screenshots, side by side with the previous theme so you can compare if it’s an improvement or not. You can click on the image to see it full size.

New Theme Old Theme
new index old index
new category new category old category
new comments old comments
new gallery old gallery
new individual old individual

I found the WordPress theme structure a bit awkward actually to do some of the things I wanted to do, but I managed to do something at least!

For a start, I wanted to tidy up the presentation of comments. I wanted to seperate the trackbacks (and pingbacks) out of the comment list and place them in the sidebar. This meant I was dealing with comments in the single template instead of the comments template. But I got it to work, even though WordPress doesn’t like that way too much. You can see it in action on this post which currently has 25 unique trackbacks. Also with the comments, I made comments from the original post author stand out. Makes it easier to see when the author is responding to comments.

Another little feature I wanted was the ability to add stuff to the sidebar on a per post basis. For example having a download link for a piece of software or even adding a paypal button to specific posts. This was rather simple to do, using WordPress’ “custom fields” on posts. (Again this post has an example of the feature). Now why isn’t there custom fields for categories?

Following on from that I use the “sidebox” idea to move user functions that clutter up posts to the sidebar and used explanatory text rather than “next” and “previous” which I never click when I happen on other blogs.

And of course, I needed rounded corners. I managed to build in Nifty Corners Cube to dynamically generate those lovely rounded corners. The problem with it was when I tried to have “tabs” with rounded corners in IE, FireFox and Opera. Pain in the butt. In the end, dropped trying to have rounded tabs. But at least now I can include Nifty Corners Cube into any theme!

So eh, what do people think? Good, bad, meh?

If anyone wants to know how I did some of these things in WordPress (or anything else on my site), drop me a line and I’ll write-up how I did it :)

Now that I’ve got it up and running, I need to actually add some new features to justify it! So expect to see tags, thread comments and potentially email subscriptions soon. And then there is the upgrade to WordPress 2.1. I’m dreading that.

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