More About Themes

I appreciate the feedback from everyone! I’m going to be switching around a lot over the next few days. Comments won’t make much sense as they refer to things that don’t exist. At the very bottom of the page, it usually says what software and theme is being used, try and reference that so I know what you’re talking about.

So here’s the story: The problem is that I can program enough PHP to hack up existing themes, but not truly design my own in a way that is stable. The last theme started as something called “Pool”. I had heavily modified it over the years. It had reached the point where I couldn’t get it do what I wanted. I decided it was time for a change.

I went to get a new theme installed and none worked. Everything crashed. This was because I was on an old version of WordPress. The lack of a new version also kept me from putting in some new plugins I wanted. And made general maintenance harder, I was not taking advantage of better user interface and tips that the new versions have. That was the impetus for the upgrade.

Now I have stable software again. The old theme doesn’t work anymore. That’s fine by me. Picking a new one is harder. The reason is that I am trying to get one that I like “out-of-the-box”, that won’t take a lot of editing. There were a couple that looked nice except for the font family they used. I can fix that fairly easily, but that’s the first step down the bad road I was on.

What I want:

  • Simplicity
  • Clean
  • Lists that look correct
  • A really good integrated search engine
  • Custom background images
  • Blogroll
  • Links to archived months, preferably with some idea about how much content is there

What I don’t want:

  • Avatars
  • Categories
  • Tags
  • All the meta stuff

What I haven’t decided on:

  • RSS. Does anybody use RSS? (OK, I guess Mike does.)
  • About this blog

Matt: I like your new blog theme. When do we get more content?

6 thoughts on “More About Themes”

  1. Yeah, yeah, I’m not quite as prolific as the Mutt, but hey, I’m workin’ on it! 2 posts in 8 days isn’t bad for me! 😛

    A couple of notes:
    1. Can’t you get a plugin (i.e. widget/gadget) search engine? I have to look for that myself.
    2. I have a decent blogroll via a gadget that Blogger.com offers as a standard gadget — I’d be surprised if WordPress doesn’t have a similar gadget for that, independent of the theme, as mine is. All the stuff on the right sidebar of my blog is gadgets, most of them built-in ones.
    3. I believe that all of the meta-type stuff can actually be removed from the template code (e.g. categories, tags, etc.), though I’m not exactly sure how. Whenever I’ve wanted to add/remove something, I just google someone else who’s done it already…yeah okay, I cheat.
    4. I don’t use RSS…just visit the site directly. I like seeing your words on your own site, and I don’t really read that many blogs to have to worry about having them condensed into one package.
    5. I have no idea what you mean when you say you “haven’t decided on” “About this blog”. Are you thinking of changing the content format? I like it the way it is: a nice mix of politics, economics, poker, and silly NSFW videos — it’s what we all should be talking about!

  2. Oh, forgot to mention, it’s the “Aeros Theme” (TheBuckmaker.com) that I like. And in my mind, when I pick a theme, I’m mostly looking for the basic look and feel of the theme, number of columns (I prefer 2, since I don’t have any use for adsense garbage), width of the tables, and general color scheme. The rest, I’ll just edit myself, like tweaking the background/foreground/link colors or replacing the header picture, like I did on mine. The reason I like yours is that it has an airy feel to it. I’d try out a few more before you go and think about gadgets yet, though, and then just suck it up and pick one that you can manipulate and call your own. 😀

  3. 1. This theme has a built-in search engine. The last one was funky. If you did one search, and then did another, it would only search in the subset of your last search results. And it didn’t tell you that. And it was superimposed over the image header in a way that required manual alignment – just a royal pain.
    2. I’m sure it’s out there. It will just take me a little time to track it down.
    3. Yes it can. I know how, I’ve done it before. But again, if possible, I’m trying to use out-of-the-box.
    5. Many blogs have an “About this Blog” tab on top where I put a description of who I am and what Muttroxia is about. Right now there is only one tab for “Home”, which is kind of pointless and stupid, but I’m not sure I want to add more tabs. I may just take it off.

    Have no fear, the content mix will remain as eclectic as ever.

    I think we have similar taste in themes. I am very into readability, I want a nice big, clear font.

    And now, on with the content!

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