Support » Themes and Templates » How to change the layout for a novice like me…

  • Hello,
    I posted in the installation forum last night for help on installing WordPress. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to install a blog at all, but I managed to figure it out with some help. πŸ™‚
    Anyway, now I’m concerned about the actual layout of WP. I’ve seen people make incredible layouts that incorporate their WP blog into the rest of their site, so I’m hoping to do the same. I do have some knowledge of CSS since I do use it on my personal site. I’ve also been introduced to PHP and managed to convert my site to PHP thanks to a tutorial a friend of mine typed out to help. However, I guess the PHP/coding that WP uses is very advanced, at least for me. I was looking through some of the files, like index.php, and I’m afraid if I delete certain lines, it’ll “break” the whole program and it won’t work anymore. lol.
    So I’m just wondering…what files are we allowed to edit? And is there a way that I could add a bit of code on the index.php page that includes the .inc files I made for my other PHP pages (like, My .inc files contain the basic layout structure for my site…
    Also, is there a way I can get rid of the calendar and the other functions on the side-bar that the index.php page has? I was going to try working on the wp.php file as it’s just the plain version of my blog, but I noticed that when I clicked on the “comments” link to view the comments, it took me back to the index.php layout.
    If it helps, here’s the main page to my website where I want to incorporate my blog:
    The way I’d want it set up is to have the top graphic and the menu bar on the side be the same, and just have the blog function in the main content area, where “JANUARY 25, 2004” and all the other content below that resides.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Calendar.
    Edit your Template from within your login page, and delete the reference to the calendar function. You can then also edit the wp-layout.css and remove the formatting declarations there too.
    Take anything out of the main template in the menu div you don’t want, it’ll all still work fine.
    As for editing files, what you need to bear in mind is that if you upgrade to a later version of WP, a file you have modified may be overwritten. You can either create a ‘my-hacks.php’ for your mods, or keep a backup of all your modified files, then remodify when you choose to upgrade.
    Either way, make sure you keep a backup of all the files you alter, then, if you do break it, you can always change it back.

    Thank you so much for the reply, podz! πŸ™‚ For keeping a backup of all the files I alter…do you think it’s good enough that I have all the original files from the WP zip download extracted onto my hard drive in my website folder? That’s how I was able to upload everything in the first place, and I didn’t edit any of the files beforehand.

    That;s how my backup is too.
    I have a folder marked ‘original’ and a folder marked ‘modded’.

    Ok, good. πŸ™‚ I still get confused whenever instructions say to backup your files…anyway, if I need any more help I’ll be replying in here. Thanks again for the help, podz. I’ll be messing with the files now…
    Oh wait, I just noticed this line on my login page where it has the text editor to edit the index.php file…
    “You can also edit the comments template or the popup comments template, or edit any other file (provided it’s writable by the server, e.g. CHMOD 766).”
    Now, does that mean I have to CHMOD 766 any file I edit? Because I followed the instructions to the readme.html file and it never said anything like that, it only said to CHMOD 666 the file, which is what I did. So everything should be fine and I can start editting, right?

    You’ll only need to CHMOD 766 the file if you want to write to it using the templates page (the page with the text editor that you mentioned).
    If you download the file you want to edit to your computer, then edit it, then upload it again via ftp, there is no need to CHMOD.
    I’m pretty sure that’s correct anyway :).

    You can check out this page for an explanation of the WP-LAYOUT.CSS file as well.
    Another idea is to visit WP-powered sites, and get ideas from things you see on those sites. Examine the source code, drop the site owner a note and ask questions. The WP community has been great to me with generous support on many fronts.
    Don’t hesitate to post your questions, either. We all have to start from somewhere, and you will find a wide range of knowledge, skills, and abilities from which to draw. Heck, some folks even like Opera for a browser! πŸ™‚
    Have fun!

    When you change a file, and use the WordPress admin screen to do it, you are actually using one program (the admin screen) to change the other (the templates).
    For this to happen, you have to make it so that the template is allowed to be changed by another program, which is why you need to CHMOD it.
    When you change a template by downloading it, altering it, and uploading it, because you are doing the changing off the server, CHMOD is not needed.
    Index.php calls a lot of functions that other parts of the program make available. By taking away something from index.php, you are not stopping the function, you are just not asking for it. It’s still there if you want it at a later date.
    Having a host text editor is great – Not having one, I have to download, make changes, upload, refresh my page and repeat until I get it right πŸ™‚
    And do keep asking questions – if someone knows the answer, they will post a reply, and you can bet that you aren’t the only one learning things when the reply goes onto this board.

    Thanks podz. πŸ™‚ So whenever I want to edit a file using that WP admin screen, I should CHMOD the file first. But that only includes the WP admin screen, right? Would using my host text editor would still make it work? Or does that still count as being on the server? Because when I did the CHMOD 666 on that cache file after installation, I did it through my host in my control panel and it seemed to have work. But maybe that’s just a different thing entirely.
    Anyway, I’ll keep trying to do whatever I can to my blog, otherwise I’ll probably try again next weekend since I have school.

    From the admin screen, if you try to alter a file that it cannot save after you have altered it, then you will get a warning. Just follow whatever it says.
    With your host text editor, it is effectively doing what I have to do (download, change, upload) so CHMOD does not matter as you – being the file owner – have that control anyway.
    Your control panel seems to be very comprehensive as well πŸ™‚

    Yeah I didn’t realize how many features my control panel has. lol. So I guess I don’t have to worry about CHMOD then? Because I did try to CHMOD 766 the index.php page the way I did with the cache file. It worked, but when I went to my blog page, it came up with an error. It didn’t display my blog at all. When I changed the CHMOD back to what it was before, my blog was working again.
    Sorry if I’m getting repetitive by asking/explaining. I tend to be that way sometimes, especially if I’m trying to learn a new concept such as this. And I haven’t had a chance to really mess with the layout of my blog yet and probably won’t get to it ’til next weekend since I have to do my homework as well.

    Whoops, sorry, that Anonymous was me, I just forgot to login.

    Different hosts have different default permissions. On my last host I had to chmod the files to edit them in WordPress, on my new host I didn’t have to do anything. And, like you say, when I tried to chmod my files like on the old host the blog didn’t work at all. So basically, as long as all your files are editable don’t worry about changing permissions on them.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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