New Year, New Theme

Today, I relaunched my blog design. As regular readers of this blog will note, I probably spend more time writing about reprogramming my blog than actually writing it. I’m hoping to change that in 2012 but allow me for a minute to discuss the story behind the latest incarnation of

The impetus began this past summer when Twitter announced its new CSS framework called Twitter bootstrap. As I read more about the theme and downloaded the v1.0 source code, the simple, clean design tugged at me as if begging me to use it in a project. I had looked for years for a simple theme that was mainly white for the text part but had a fixed top navigation bar that could pull together my different interests (photography, writing, web development) but in a compartmentalized way so that the output of each activity could be cleanly displayed in a format that highlighted its unique characteristics. Bootstrap provides such a lattice upon which build such websites. As always, Wordpress is the brains behind this project because, like the dependable friend that it is, I can connect it to my front end HTML and CSS almost immediately and know that the key files will be in the right place and easily customizable.

I vowed for this project to use as few Wordpress plugins as possible, relying more on code snippets and design patterns to customize my website so I truly understood what was “under the hood.” As I hope to share in coming posts in the code category, I did this in order to improve my PHP skills and to gain a better understanding of Wordpress theming. Having now completed this site and several others this year I am excited to declare that I intend to “hand roll” my own themes from here on out, i.e. using only HTML templates and adding in the Wordpress code myself. If you are at the point of having configured a few existing off the shelf Wordpress sites yourself and are looking to really grow as a Wordpress developer, I highly recommend the “roll your own” approach.

Overall the process took some four months, with a two month long break in the middle and several pauses in the middle while I thought about the design and how I wanted everything to fit together. I decided to launch it today to kick start the New Year knowing full well that both content and design need some continued tweaking.

Look for the aforementioned coding posts in the coming weeks and please feel free to comment below. I look forward to your thoughts and questions.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

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