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Please Help Me Find/Tweak an Appropriate Theme (8 posts)

  1. bezmotivnik
    Member
    Posted 7 years ago #

    [Sigh!] OK, here goes -- I'm a total beginner with WordPress, so please, a little patience with me.

    I have WordPress 2.2.1 up and installed on a website in its default form. No problems. At his point, I need to change the page's theme and format to suit what it is that I wish to do, and get this up and out of the way so I can hereafter concentrate on content.

    What I want is a VERY simple, efficient site, and I would be grateful for any help in finding the most appropriate theme from which to do additional modifications. In many ways, what I want is similar in layout to Jorn Barger's original Robot Wisdom weblog:

    1: A header consisting of a page-centered graphic over centered, horizontally-arranged linked text words -- Home, About Us, Mail, etc.

    2: The index page content will be a series of one-line descriptions linked to my individual articles (or external sites), the list removed and archived monthly (the object here being to control the "toilet roll" effect of most blog layouts).

    3: The link will open what I believe is referred to as a child page containing that single article, with the same forced default header as on the index page.

    4: Link list will be left-justified to an inset margin (blank table?) on this index page.

    5: No comments...

    6: No sidebars...

    Eventually, I should like to have an RSS feed of the articles list, a site search and traffic analysis functions, but we can wait on that.

    I shall be extremely thankful for any pointers anyone can give me in building this simple, efficient site!

  2. Dgold
    Member
    Posted 7 years ago #

    1. AKA header with "a horizontal menu" (fairly common)

    2. I don't get what the "toilet roll" effect is, please explain. You can make your index page have a list of just the post titles, and clicking the title takes you to the full post. Or you could put the Title, and the "Excerpt" which is like the first 40 words of your post or so.

    For linking some of the post-titles to external sites, and some to your internal post, I wouldn't know how to do (this is not common). What you would probably want to do is make the Post, and put your Link for external sites in the Body of the Post. The title might be something like "Cool site I found" and the body contains the link.

    For just pure links, you can use the so-called Blogroll function of wordpress, it pretty much displays your links in the sidebar w/ whatever you want (URL, description of each link if you want).

    3. I don't think it is a "child page", I think you mean a "Single Post page." Child Page is something different. Keep in mind WP has Posts, and Pages, which are similar but different. Most themes have a "Single Post Page" template which has the same header as the index, so that's good for what you want.

    4. I don't know quite what you mean. Most themes have a left-justified Blogroll (aka Links list) in the sidebar. You can move it to an "inset" if you know the CSS to display it, there's just a simple "template tag" you can learn from the Codex to put your blogroll in whatever CSS div you wish.

    5. Disable all the Comment options in the Admin. Every theme has Comments built in -- but you can easily delete that section of the theme, if you don't mind getting your hands dirty. This is not a difficult hack for a first-timer, just learn some basics first like: Always make a back-up of the theme file before you edit it. If you've got that, you can experiment with deleting the parts of code that refer to "comments". You'll figure it out, or ask on here.

    6. Lots of themes have sidebars, some do not. Usually ones without a sidebar are called "1 column themes". Try searching on the themes site for 1 column themes. If you get a theme that has a sidebar it is possible to remove it, but some themes this would be easy, some themes difficult. With the Default built-in theme (aka Kubrick) it is very easy to remove the sidebar -- if you want to do that just search or ask how on here.

    7. The RSS feed of the Articles list is built in. You already have it now. You just want to pick a theme that displays the RSS link to your readers so they know about it. But it's there, even without a link, right now. You actually have a bunch of feeds already -- Articles feed, Comments feed, Author feeds, heck you can even get a feed for a certain month / day / year. Atom Feeds, RSS 1 and RSS 2 as well. This is part of the beauty of WP.

    Site search is built-in, you have it now, just put the Search template-tag in your theme template (the theme you choose probably already has this).

    It is commonly recommended to NOT use the default Kubrick theme if you wish to modify it, because some things are tricky to modify. But I have found it is fairly easy. I would just use the Default theme if I was you. It has most of what you want, and the hacks wouldn't be too tough if you don't mind learning, searching, reading the Codex, and asking.

    But other people would doubtless recommend that you go to the Themes site, and pick a 1-column theme that looks similar to what you want. Then spend the time to hack the index to only show what you want, and delete what you don't want.

    Hope this helps

  3. bezmotivnik
    Member
    Posted 7 years ago #

    > header with "a horizontal menu" (fairly common)

    Yes, that's it, that's what I want. Exactly. Right under the header graphic I'll make.

    > I don't get what the "toilet roll" effect is, please
    > explain.

    Scrolling for miles, like unrolling toilet paper, which is the curse of blog design, typically. Two screens are about as far as a typical user will scroll before quitting or at least becoming annoyed -- according to expensive research and my own unscientific observations. I want to keep this efficient for busy readers.

    > You can make your index page have a list of just the post
    > titles, and clicking the title takes you to the full
    > post.

    Yes, that sounds exactly like what I wish to do, a one-line description/title, with the post still coming up with the same header and layout as the index page, so it can be provided as a convenient, free-standing external link for e-mailing or hotlinking which will always appear in the context of my blog. That's my objective.

    > Usually ones without a sidebar are called "1 column
    > themes". Try searching on the themes site for 1 column
    > themes.

    Strangely, almost all of the ones I saw did have the sidebar, which made me think I didn't understand the "1 column themes" terminology properly. A couple I thought seemed promising had bad links or were not rigged for WP2+.

    I thought I'd better ask before proceeding.

    > Disable all the Comment options in the Admin. Every theme
    > has Comments built in -- but you can easily delete that
    > section of the theme, if you don't mind getting your
    > hands dirty.

    I'm assuming that if it doesn't visually disappear from the site when switched off, then comment functions are in a fairly clearly marked module in the code which can be excised or commented-out.

    [Personally, having comments active on a blog has always seemed analogous to inviting dogs to dump on your lawn.]

    > other people would doubtless recommend that you go to the
    > Themes site, and pick a 1-column theme that looks similar
    > to what you want. Then spend the time to hack the index
    > to only show what you want, and delete what you don't
    > want.

    So, just drag it up in a third-party WYSIWYG editor and start tweaking and whacking chunks off of it? [gulp!]

    > Hope this helps

    I think it will. I've been dreading this undertaking for at least a year, because I have always had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted in a blogsite but didn't want to have to code it from scratch as my frustration level is probably too low for that.

    Thanks for your help; I'm sure I'll have lots more questions!

  4. moshu
    Member
    Posted 7 years ago #

    just drag it up in a third-party WYSIWYG editor

    NEVER! - only plain old text editor. PHP files never work in wysiwyg gizmos...

  5. bezmotivnik
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    OK...I know relatively little about PHP, though I'm able to putter somewhat knowledgeably in HTML with some CSS.

    The closest thing I can find to what I want (with quite a few changes needed -- at least eventually) is Tony Street's Blase.

    At least the scripts are small to begin with.

    I think I can lose that side graphic by reducing the .PNG to a black line (maybe) and I've found a description of how to lose the text headers in the codex, but I don't see how to insert the graphic header banner yet.

  6. Dgold
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Not positive, but I have a feeling you might be looking at Tony Street's website theme, not the Blase theme he offers on his website. I think this because his site (his theme) has the horizontal menu and simple look, whereas Blase is actually a 3 column (sidebars on both sides) it appears to me. Maybe it has options, I didn't read about it that closely, I just wanted to ask.

    "I want to keep this efficient for busy readers."

    That's 2 things, yes you can make the theme sparse and have short excerpts showing for every post (use template tag: the_excerpt instead of: the_content). But also, it's just how efficient you are with your words. Write short sentences. Make short titles. It will take up less vertical pages.

    "with the post still coming up with the same header and layout as the index page"
    That is most themes. You're good on this.

    "Strangely, almost all of the ones I saw did have the sidebar, which made me think I didn't understand the "1 column themes" terminology properly."

    You understood properly, they didn't. Or they tried to get more views by mis-categorizing their themes. 1 column is supposed to mean 0 sidebars.

    "A couple I thought seemed promising had bad links or were not rigged for WP2+."
    Bad links - that sux.
    Not rigged for WP2, I'm not sure if this would be a problem or not, there have been a few changes in WP that required theme adjustments because old codes are no longer used (that frustrates me, but it's part of it). To be safe for a newcomer I would use one marked as safe for WP2.

    "I'm assuming that if it doesn't visually disappear from the site when switched off, then comment functions are in a fairly clearly marked module in the code which can be excised or commented-out."

    True, pretty much. If you can't figure out which code to delete, ask again. But first look in the code (make a back-up first) and see if you can figure out what to delete. It's the code that talks about the word "comment" so it isn't that hard to find.

    "[Personally, having comments active on a blog has always seemed analogous to inviting dogs to dump on your lawn.]"

    Whatever you want. Most people think a blog is not a blog (it isn't alive) without comments. On the other hand every website doesn't have to be like a typical blog. You know that WordPress makes it very easy to moderate comments, prevent spam, and even edit or delete comments you don't want?

    "So, just drag it up in a third-party WYSIWYG editor and start tweaking and whacking chunks off of it? [gulp!]"

    No. First make a back-up copy of your theme file(s) before each edit. Check how every edit works, in your live site, before proceeding. 1 change at a time, so you can revert to the back-up anytime it messes up.

    Once you have your back-up, just open the theme files in a text editor like Notepad or a fancy one like Notepad+++ or PSPad that highlights code in colors.

    Now, just hack at the text. Delete sections you don't want. Save it, reload the site, see if it worked or not.

    Rinse, and repeat.

  7. bezmotivnik
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    > I have a feeling you might be looking at Tony Street's
    > website theme, not the Blase theme he offers on his
    > website.

    His stuff is badly mislinked all over his site.

    The theme that shows in the thumbnail on the link I posted is what I have. I actually wanted something else on his site, but the download was mislinked to this theme. Very confusing! What I have has the "Blase" graphic in the left margin.

    > yes you can make the theme sparse and have short excerpts
    > showing for every post (use template tag: the_excerpt
    > instead of: the_content).

    Good! That's very helpful. I was thinking there would be a method of designating the post's "title" field in the WP editor as the "excerpt," but that doesn't appear to be a supported feature -- though it seems like a good idea.

    > it's just how efficient you are with your words. Write
    > short sentences. Make short titles. It will take up less
    > vertical pages.

    Descriptive and succinct titles are a must (vid. Barger), and I am good at that -- but in the articles themselves I want to be able to write at a higher level again. Having spent the WWW years writing for an increasingly subliterate and rebarbative reader, I found that instead of merely writing more clearly, it has resulted in a dumbing-down of my copy so severe that it has actually resulted in making me dumber and my abilities blunter. I was writing with the sole object of making my ideas so simple that they weren't liable to misconstruction even in the face of the hostile, delinquent stupidity that characterizes current net fora.

    > they tried to get more views by mis-categorizing their
    > themes. 1 column is supposed to mean 0 sidebars.

    You should check out that category -- the majority do not fit that description. Some even boast "two-column."

    > Most people think a blog is not a blog (it isn't alive)
    > without comments.

    I don't want to get too sidetracked here, but I was in Internet discussion fora nearly every day between 1984 and 2006 -- when I quit because I could no longer stand trying to deal with the noise from kids and gristleheads. Most of the serious people I knew from the old days quit years ago. Gresham's Law is real. The only reason I am putting up a weblog is to make some higher-order data available on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Believe me, I never want to see an unsolicited comment again, even if it's just to delete it.

    OK, so what I wish to do relative to that is eliminate the "Comments Off" and "Filed Under:" lines from the articles list as they serve no purpose and take up vertical screen space. I haven't found anythingin the Codex yet about that.

    Thanks for any pointers!

  8. Dgold
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    "I was thinking there would be a method of designating the post's "title" field in the WP editor as the "excerpt," but that doesn't appear to be a supported feature"

    Title and Excerpt and The_Content are different. You can display any combination you want on your index. Normally the Single Post Page would have Title and the_content (the complete body).

    For your Index it sounds like maybe you want ONLY the Title and nothing from the body (this would be the shortest possible vertical space). You'll make the title clickable to go to the Single Post Page.

    "You should check out that category -- the majority do not fit that description. Some even boast "two-column.""

    I believe you, but again, they're just filed incorrectly. There are a number of true 1-column themes, and I believe you can find them there, albeit mixed with mislabled 2 column themes.

    "OK, so what I wish to do relative to that is eliminate the "Comments Off" and "Filed Under:" lines from the articles list"

    As discussed above, first you turned OFF comments in the Admin (resulting in "Comments Off" displaying where the comments module is). Now you will go into your theme templates and delete the comments module. I said module cuz you used that word but what I mean is the block of code with some CSS div and some WP template-tags for comments.

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