My first foray into tweaking themes (and releasing them!)

Well, technically, the theme in use here was my true first foray, but this work was one that I wanted to do. As I mentioned yesterday, the theme in use here was not going to be the theme that I was going to use on the site.

I had found a theme that, when I saw it on the WordPress themes site, I thought it was amazing, so I went ahead and downloaded it, and installed it. That’s where the problems started. One thing that I hadn’t noted was that in the upper right corner there was the words “F— THIS”, along with what seemed to be a biography of some random person. These were things that I could sort out, however, there was one thing that I wasn’t prepared for – the original CSS file that was included consisted of a single line of code.

If you have any experience with CSS, you know that the easiest way to have a CSS file is to have one property per line – it makes your life a whole lot easier when you need to change one simple thing. After getting the CSS sorted out (with the assistance of Notepad++, which sets the tabs correctly in the file when you edit it), I then went ahead with changing the header image. I took out the F— THIS, and did a softening to the rest of the text, and made the image itself appreciably smaller.

Another problem with the original design was that there were some strange font and color combinations – including the use of one of the fonts that I feel is not a good one for web design – Impact, along with colors that blend into the background of the header image. Really, poor taste when you want a site that will be readable others, and yourself. Also, something that was bugging me was the use of a background image – I changed that to a solid color background.

Something else I did was change the layout of the site, by switching the site from a three-column, content-in-the-centre layout (like it is here), to a three-column, content in the left panel layout – part of the reason that I did this is so that the main contents of the page will load before the sidebars. I was going to switch the layout back, but I have to admit that I really liked how the site came out in this format.

I did face a few challenges at first – however, there was a secret weapon in my cache; a new tool called Firebug which allows me to change elements in a page on the fly – all I have to do is change a number here and there, and suddenly the page looks completely different.

I got to a point earlier this week that I was just about ready to say it was done, but then I realized that it wasn’t done – I hadn’t adjusted any of the other pages that had the sidebars on it to make the look consistent across the site. I went ahead and did that, got the spacing issues (which are present in the original template) sorted, and even made the comments section look spiffy.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a way of allowing you to take the full theme for a test drive, but I can give you a few shots of what it looks like. I’ve gone and taken all the widgets out of there, and it is showing the default sidebars – which contain links to your del.icio.us profile’s latest bookmarks, and some sample text. The last little touch I did was to use one of Snoskred’s excellent RSS icons and put that in place of the icon that was there. Here is what the front page looks like –

Theme 1

This is the comments section; the first color is for normal comments, the second background color (in the second comment) is for comments by the site admin –

THeme Comments

Lastly, this is what the top of a post page looks like; note the links to the next and previous posts on the blog at the top of the post –

Theme single

At this point, I’m comfortable with releasing it to y’all for testing out, taking it for a spin, etc. If you’re interested in trying it out, you would have clicked here.

I’ve been requested by the original author to take the download down.

Updated 13/1/08 10.00PM

3 thoughts on “My first foray into tweaking themes (and releasing them!)

  1. I’m confused, if the theme was released via GPL, then why can’t you re-distribute it as long as the original source code is all intact. 🙂 I like the new theme by the way.
    C
    😉

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