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The design for this site (Solipsistic Meanderings that is, not the original Developer’s Corner) was originally made when the blog was implemented using Movable Type.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