Updates to Learn from

I did a lot of updating last month. I decided after several years on Weaver and Weaver II that I would go with a different look. Thea says that it looks like a Facebook page now. I think that I’m influenced by all the web pages out there that are going to a flatter design.In all, I probably activated and tinkered around with twenty or so themes before I decided that I liked one well enough to continue with it.

And the winner of the New Theme Contest is Brickyard. My jQuery Tagline Rotator, and WP Random Header still work. It includes custom menus. And it’s a responsive theme, so it looks good on mobile devices. I’ve shortened the Latest Posts page. I had been presenting ten posts in two columns. Now, it’s just going to be the last five. I’ve added a footer with Display Posts ShortcodeIt displays a full, scrollable list of all my posts. I think that it’s easier to read and not as busy. Your feedback and critiques are welcome.

While I was trying out themes, I noticed that my thumbnails and feature image in a lot of the themes were chopped off. And when I went back to Weaver for the night, they remained maimed. It turned out that one of the themes that I had activated trimmed them all to fit its design. I had to install Regenerate Thumbnails in order to get them all back to the right size.

One of the reasons for choosing Brickyard is that it is just plain simpler than Weaver.  There aren’t pages and pages of options to plow through. Keeping some of the functions that I liked in Weaver was a challenge. Weaver did a lot of things for you; like whether a sidebar should appear on a page, the placement of page elements, and the look of fonts and text decoratioins. I downloaded Custom Sidebars to enable me to keep my RSS Reader page the way that I liked. A lot of the rest of the placement and look I had to resort to editing my custom stylesheet. And to do that, I had to learn a lot more about the use of id and class selectors. (Isn’t that just the way: simplicity here means complexity there.) I spent a lot of time going between Chrome’s right-click “Inspect Element” function and the WordPress’s ‘Edit CSS’, examining parent/child relationships and figuring out how to overwrite values. I moved around some of the placement of PHP routines using ‘Theme Editor’ to get them where I wanted. That’s how my navigation, called ‘nav-below’, got to the top of my page. In fact, I did so much customizing of things that I didn’t want a Theme Update to throw any of it off again. So, I created a new theme using the Theme Editor based on the Brickyard theme as a Custom Brickyard Theme.

While I was doing all the customizing and tinkering, I noticed the the ‘Email to Blog’ function in WP4 has been deprecated. Jetpack has included a replacement. But my hosting includes email hosting so why should I use someone elses?  Besides, I want to be in control of everything. I will handle my own email-to-blog function by adding Postie.  With it, I can add a post by email or text. I can even include a picture as an attachment in my email. Unfortunately, texting an image doesn’t work. I’m experimenting with it right now so all my e-posting is being marked as ‘private’.

Along with a more modern theme and updated functions, I was hoping to include some updated presence. Windows 8.1 Live Tiles are supposed to work with the plugin Custom Windows Pinned Tiles. I have it active and configured but I have yet to find a computer that is able to make it work. The author of the plugin says that it’s working on his pc. I’ve tried it on six others and it’s not worked on any of them. The Live Tile implementation in Windows 8.1 is, by all accounts, finicky. I’m sure it will be better in Windows 10. I can wait. It’s coming soon.

While I was adding and modifying I also invested some time in going old-school. I have a whole repository of images in one folder thanks to WP Photo Album PlusAnd it lets me look at galleries and slideshows with just a few clicks. But one of the things that I’d considered was viewing all of them as just a continuous random ‘picture frame’. You can see the results of my tinkering here  I’ve hit F11 to go fullscreen a few times and just let it go. It’s pretty close to what I want. But I’ll be tinkering with it for a while. I added a Picture Frame link in my menu. But it’s just not the same.

1 Comment

  1. Wil C. Fry

    For me, this theme works better, though I don’t think it looks like a Facebook page (that’s a compliment). It looks clean and simple, easy to read and find links to this or that.

    I too have been frustrated by various WordPress updates that deprecate features I liked, or added new complexity that I didn’t need. And themes that *look* right but have too many unnecessary features/options, or themes that are perfect to use but won’t look the way you want. Ugh.

    If I knew how to make a WordPress theme, I would make my own. But then I’d be frustrated when WordPress updated and my theme wasn’t compatible anymore. Sigh.

    Reply

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