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:-)