As I said when I announced the conversion, I wanted to write a Wordpress theme to match the look of the old site, so it would appear to be a seamless part of jimthompson.org. Instead of waiting until I had time to design a WordPress theme, though, I went ahead with the conversion. It’s a shame, because I think that default WordPress theme is just butt-ugly, but with some projects it’s better to go ahead with what you’ve got rather than waiting for every little thing to get finished, because if you wait, then everything will never get done, and you just never move ahead. It’s not a matter of procrastination, it’s a matter of never having enough time to pay attention to all the details you want to pay attention to. Sometimes it’s better to proceed half-baked; at least that way I occasionally make progress.
This week I found myself with time to think about that new theme. I decided that, rather than writing a theme to match the old site look, I would come up with a whole new look. I started work on it last Friday night, spending a lot of time trying to come up with a decent header graphic. Then I moved on to writing the CSS, the part that really defines how each page looks. That took most of yesterday. Finally, late last night, I began the tricky work of integrating my CSS into the default WordPress theme. That was more difficult than it should have been, because Wordpress doesn’t label everything with class or id tags; so I found myself traipsing around inside the WordPress code adding tags here and there where I needed them.
This morning I tweaked and twiddled, and it looks like it’s finally ready to go live. Not that it’s perfect, but if I waited until it was perfect… well, I’ve covered that already, haven’t I? I’ll keep tweaking it here and there, especially where I find real problems, but nothing major should change.
Last night I discovered an interesting coincidence. There’s a group of web site designers (real pros, not hacks like me) who all close their sites for the last week of April while they do a big redesign. Then, on May 1st, they release their redesigned sites. They call this event the May 1st Reboot. Most of these designers use Flash (which I hate, but that’s another story for another day), however, there’s a subset who are proponents of CSS as a tool of web site design. This second group refers to May 1st as the CSS Reboot.
I’m not a participant in the CSS Reboot, but it’s nice to be able to unveil my new look on the same day as all these other folks. Go take a look at the new designs on the CSS Reboot page; they’re nice to look at. And for a look at the amazing things you can do with CSS without having to touch your HTML, take a look at the CSS Zen Garden. Just amazing.