April 12, 2006

The template tango

The design for this site (Solipsistic Meanderings that is, not the original Developer’s Corner) was originally made when the blog was implemented using Movable Type. I knew exactly the kind of look I wanted and I spent quite a bit of time in getting the template for the site to look the way I wanted it to be. I was really happy with how the site design turned out when it was finally complete.

Then came my switch to WordPress and I was faced with the prospect of either going with a new template or switching the Movable Type template over to WordPress. I decided to go with the latter option since I really liked the template :p In those days, WordPress templates were nothing but an index.php file which contained the styling for the blog’s default page. So, it was fairly easy to convert things over once I discovered the WordPress equivalents to the MT template tags that I was using. That I believe was using WordPress 1.2

Then came WordPress 1.5 and then 2.0 and while the template system in WordPress did change radically, they kept it backward compatible and so I was able to continue using the old template that I’d made for WordPress 1.2 back in the day with a few minor tweaks and changes. Of course, this meant that I wasn’t using the latest and greatest advances in WordPess templates but I was happy enough not to have to mess with the template again and so left things alone.

However, recently I had to do some digging into the WordPress template system when I wanted to design a custom template for Shout Out! In the process, I realized that there were a lot of nifty things in the new WordPress template system that I was missing out on because I continued to hang on to the legacy single file template system from the old days. So, once I got Shout Out! working, I decided to switch the SM template over to the new system – mostly because it’s easier to edit sections in the WP web interface than to search for say the sidebar code in the complete file.

Once I got the template split into header, sidebar, body and footer and everything as working fine, I came to know about WordPress Widgets – where you can have your full sidebar be a collection of widgets. This meant that I had to do some further tweaking to my template and sidebar code. So I went ahead and tried it but ultimately gave up on widgets since I like the ability to customize that the standard sidebar configuration provides. But still, the widgets are a neat idea. Just goes to show though that a blogger’s work is never done – there is always something to tweak or to customize :p

Tags: , ,
Posted by Fahim at 7:34 am  |  No Comments