It’s been a long time since my last theme release, but I’m back with rc2, a lightweight, widget-ready, two-column theme. The design arose from the desire to break from my traditional boxy style. I’d grown tired of that design mentality and wanted to try my hand at something new.
RC2 has been tested under the following browsers. Please let me know if you run into any issues.
- IE7 (rigorous)
- Firefox 3 Beta 4/5 (rigorous)
- Safari 3.1 (fairly rigorous)
- Firefox 2
For those of you who want instant gratification, you can take the design for a test run on my development site, or download the theme. Update – there’s been a small change bumping the version to 1.0.1. It should now be both XHTML (Strict) as well as CSS valid. Unfortunately, the WP2.5 gallery feature produces invalid XHTML, so validation of the development site homepage won’t be indicative. Try this site’s homepage or a single post entry.
Otherwise, read on to find out a bit more about the theme.
Lightweight, but Fully Functional
The design is lightweight. It adds only 7 additional HTTP objects on top of whatever is required for your content. Total damage is in the range of 10KB for the CSS and 2KB for images.
That’s not to say it’s sparsely featured. There is support for most of the newer WordPress features and some other popular ones, including:
- gravatars (WordPress 2.5)
- galleries (WordPress 2.5)
- asides (link posts)
Navigation links at the top-right are generated from pages.
The sidebar is dynamically generated based on the type of content. More importantly, there are two widgetized sidebars. The names are pretty self-explanatory, but just in case, the Single Post Sidebar is what gets displayed for single post content, while the Front Page Sidebar is what gets displayed on the index (home/front) page. It often makes sense to have a different set of sidebar content between the front page and the individual post pages so I’ve made it easy for you to do just that.
Additionally, I’ve included two integral plugins with the theme. They help populate the top-bar by default. Feel free to switch them out for whatever content you want to place there in their stead.
- Recent Posts – Nick Momrick – This displays the most recent posts to the blog. I’ve set it to show up to 6. That seems to be the sweet spot for the size of the top-bar.
- Brian’s Latest Comments – Brian Meidell – This shows the latest comments and their corresponding post.
Known Issues and Limitations
- Asides are styled differently from other, standard content on the home page. In order to do this, the query loop applies different CSS classes to certain categories. However, in order to do this, the asides category ID must be specified. Currently, the way to do this is to edit the index.php page and set the $asides_cat variable to the appropriate category ID(s). By default, this variable is assigned 0, which means all your posts should be displayed with standard styling.
- The blue color scheme is something I decided upon (I just love blues), but won’t appeal to everyone. Fortunately, I’ve stuck with two shades of blue. For links and headers, #0a52aa is the shade of blue used. Mouseovers and hovered links use #14272d.You should be able to do a global find and replace on those two colors and switch in whatever two-tone scheme you want. Unfortunately, the top-bar headers are images, based on #0a52aa, which means to complete the effect, you’ll have to remake your own header images, which leads me to my next point.
- The top-bar is not widgetized. A large part of that has to do with what the standard dynamic_sidebar function tries to output – the top-bar markup is quite a bit more complex, and the added image header makes it that much more difficult to implement. I’m working on something to get around these issues, but that didn’t make it into the first release.
- The WordPress 2.5 gallery will not display properly if the_excerpt_reloaded plugin is not used and the gallery appears in an excerpt on the home page. This isn’t so much an issue with this theme as it is an issue with the way the basic WordPress excerpt function operates, not parsing any HTML tags. I strongly suggest you go and get the plugin, so you can style excerpts to your heart’s content.
Looking down the road, there are a few key features I want to implement: localization support, a print stylesheet, and an administration page, for setting options such as the asides category.
As always, I’m open to comments and suggestions on the design. Are there certain widgets you’d like to see styled or plugins supported? Let me know.
Update: David Young wrote in the comments that the design would look a bit more consistent if the sidebar lined up with the navigation module and I agree completely. I’ve rolled the changes into the package, so go ahead and grab it. Thanks David!