You may recall that I was building up to some serious redesigning the other day. I had some ideas as to what I wanted, and some recent WP designs that had got me thinking.
Well, here it is. I like it and I hope you do too. I think it makes a nice change from the usual way of doing these things.
I think this is pretty much done now. I probably have one or two little extra features I want to add later, but it’s time to take a break.There’s one or two little odd behaviours in IE that I need to work out (nothing serious as far as I can tell), but everything seems right in Firefox. I haven’t checked it in Opera yet.* Finally, if someone can test it out in Safari** for me and see if there are any problems, that’d be much appreciated (though I can’t promise to be able to do anything about them).
(Much of the rest of this post will be deeply boring to most of you. Stop reading now unless web design turns you on.)
It was a matter of working out just what I wanted and what I really wanted rid of – and then finding out what was possible (or to be more precise, what I was able to work out).
It struck me that what was really grabbing me about some of the new designs was not that they jettisoned scrolling (I don’t mind a bit of scrolling, within reason), but that they got rid of the sidebar. I hated those sidebars. So what if they’re the norm? I didn’t want to lose all of the information conventionally contained in sidebars (although no question that mine had got filled up with a lot of baggage), but how to escape from them while retaining key information in a convenient location?
As a solution, I stole the idea of the central horizontal menu bar below a single post on the front page from Squible. But I didn’t want the rest of that package. I wanted more posts on the front page in the conventional manner, to run below the horizontal bar (and I didn’t want just short excerpts. You’d think it’d be possible to alter the default length of excerpts (120 words), wouldn’t you? But no, apparently not).
I wasn’t entirely sure if breaking up posts on a page in this way was actually possible in WP. The solution I discovered was a template tag I hadn’t noticed before: get_posts, which allows you to do exactly that (by creating ‘multiple loops’ within a page, for those familiar with the WP terminology).
So on the front page there’s now a ‘middlebar’ and ‘bottombar’, which have been seriously streamlined compared to the old sidebars. I’m also thinking about whether it’s possible to put a bit more info on other pages without cluttering it up again. We’ll see.
*Update: Opera seems fine except that there’s a clear space 20-ish [now reduced to about 10] pixels wide down the right-hand margin of the page. No idea why (I’ve noticed that it does the same thing to EMR, to a lesser extent). And IE has a funny little bug I haven’t quite figured out: the white border line down the left-hand side of posts should start right below the underlining on the post title, but it doesn’t always show properly (on my screen anyway). [Both of these are fixed. I think.]
**Further update: found a useful tool for this: iCapture takes a screenshot of how your webpage looks in Safari. There was a problem with the middlebar which I think I’ve sorted out. Other than that, one or two very minor variations that I can live with.