If..Else Log

Redesigns and experimentations

Barely a month since the last redesign and what do you know, I’ve changed things again. This time round however, you will probably have noticed that the changes are much more substantial than the last redesign. After being inspired by Root and the work he’s been doing on Aphrodite as well as the ever impressive resource that is Doug Bowman, I too decided to embark on a theme design which pushed WP a bit further than my previous theme.

One of the differentiating features is the layout or rather how it changes. A not so well known fact about WP 1.5 is that it is home.php, and not index.php that is loaded first by the theme manager. The way I’ve utilised this is to make WP display a 3 column layout for the front page. Internally however, WP will instead use a 2 column layout that has a wider content area for easier reading.

If you’re viewing this post on the front page, you can see what I’ve used the three columns for. The main column is naturally used for displaying the content. However, as may have noticed, I’ve set it up to display only the latest post. Earlier posts are instead collated in a list at the bottom. No options needed to be set in the WP admin panel; This is entirely theme driven. I’d intended to use this system for a photo blog but it’s just as useful here.

The far right column is used for the usual sidebar entries; Internal links, blog roll and a little summary. However, the middle column is more interesting. The description says that this is used for ‘interesting links in bite size portions’ and that’s pretty much what it is. Similar to Photomatt’s asides and Kottke’s remainders, I use this to gather up the latest tidbits that are interesting but for which, I haven’t written a major entry on. Behind the scenese, these are handled in a similar way to how Matt does it. The entries have all been designated as belonging to a category called shorts. Posts in this category are excluded from retrieval in The_loop. The only proviso is that due to the way WP has been written, items that are assigned to this category must only belong to this category. This is an oversight in the SQL driving The_Loop and I’ll probably write and submit a fix for this issue when I have a bit of time.

And finally, the colour scheme and design. As always, it’s the fine tuning process that takes the bulk of the effort. I’ve decided to move away from the previous colour scheme and went for a monochramatic look. Hopefully it looks fine on everyone else’s machine and everyone finds that the individual elements complement each other.

I’m not yet finished and will continue to tinker around with the design but I’m happy with how enjoyable the experience has been. I’m indebted to Matt and the rest of the WP team for writing what is a phenomenal publishing system. I hope that what I’ve done here will help to inspire others to experiment with their designs.

Update: I’ve also reenabled the live comment preview. Feel free to test it out:-)

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15 Responses to “Redesigns and experimentations”

  1. Gravatar centripetalforces dot com

    If.. Else

    Stylish adj. – having elegance or taste or refinement in manners or dress.. refer here for an example….

  2. Gravatar Redesign of If Else – Fully Independent

    [...] of the site design including colour schemes and images Head over there and let me know what you think. Posted by [...]

  3. Gravatar Zenith

    Wow, this looks veeeery nice. :)

  4. Gravatar Phu

    Thanks Zenith! BTW, I’m looking forward to seeing what you turn out now that you’re Creative Director for the Aphrodite project… no pressure of course:-)

  5. Gravatar Root

    This looks lovely. You have implemented it really fast and in a very polished way ? Me still hacking :)

  6. Gravatar khaled

    Love the colour scheme to be honest. I tend to stick to lighter colours but this scheme really works fantastically well. Have you tried using BauB’s miniblog plugin, it’s really amazing little plugin and the guy is a work horse to make it the best thing out there. Constantly updating it and tweaking and adding to it.

  7. Gravatar Phu

    Wow. BauB’s miniblog plugin is fantastic! I had a quick test of it on my sandbox and it looks like it does everything that I wanted it to. I only wish I knew about it before I started:-)

  8. Gravatar This Is Not A Love Story

    This is fantastic! A perfect mix of form and functionality. I truly hope you release this as a theme, I think this is your best work yet. Wow!

  9. Gravatar Isaac Rowntree

    Hi,
    I like your site – quite frankly it’s awesome. :)

    However, I think that the fonts for the two sidebars’ links are too small. I’m having to squint to read them at 1280×1024, which is kind of annoying…

    Good Work!

  10. Gravatar Phu

    You’re probably right Isaac. I’m still developing it on a 17″ 1024×768 monitor (long story but until next week, won’t be able to test it on my main system which uses a 1280×1024 LCD).

    The whole thing’s still under development and subject to change so no panic yet:-)

  11. Gravatar Mathias Bynens

    This truly is a very nice site. Not only the design, I mean. Never seen it before though, I wish I could compare to the previous design. Good job!

    Oh, and the comment preview works like a charm.

  12. Gravatar Jennifer

    Your site looks beautiful!

  13. Gravatar Matthias Heil

    I love this theme and can’t wait to get my hands on it. LoveStory is right, the font size is a little bit too small for 1280, but a one or two pixels’ increase will solve that. Is it possible to change the color of my cursor from gray to, say, white when it is over the text area for comments? It’s pretty hard to see…

  14. Gravatar Einar

    In my opinion your system works a lot better than the miniblog. I don’t know much programming, but as a user I think it is a lot better that the entries are just normal entries that you can comment on and that appear in the archive and so forth, at least when the entries are like yours (and my intended). It would have been ideal to have the opportunity to assign the entries to more than one category, but I guess it would be easier to exclude more than one category from the_loop, if one should prefer to categorize those entries.

    It would have been great to see the code that enables this in a post.

    I almost forgot: the design of your site is awesome!