For about a year now, I’ve been wanting to have a go at my own WordPress theme, but every time I tried, something got in the way, and the idea always ended up at the bottom of my to do list. About a month and a half ago I had my tonsils out which, although admittedly was not much fun, it opened the door to finally getting something started. Confined to my bed, I had several weeks of nothing but time on my hands, so I registered http://nerdpress.co.uk.
My aim has been from the start to keep things simple! I see way to many overcomplicated WP themes that instantly put me off. What’s great about WordPress, as well as other Content Management Systems out there, is the simplicity it offers its users. It gives an opportunity to someone with fairly minimal programming experience to have a fully working blog on the web in no time! I want this to be the case when users install my Theme, with the exception of a few minor tweaks in the settings, the theme, once installed and activated, should be good to go, with Posts/Categories/Tags, etc all fitting into place.
No Plugins needed
So far I have managed to integrate any needed plugins into my code. I will most likely add support for obvious plugins like FlickRSS, Gravatar, but will figure that out later on! One thing I really wanted and think is a useful feature is a list of the most popular posts. I was surprised to find that WordPress doesn’t actually offer this option, but fortunately there are so called ‘hacks’ which allow you to get around this. The one I used for (Nerd)Press can be found at http://www.dadawp.com/
Slide Down Search Bar
I decided to take the jQuery approach when deciding on my Search bar as I thought it would be nice to have it hidden by default with a slide down effect, because I feel the search, although vital for any site, isn’t particularly used that much. You can see my search bar in action via the link at the bottom of this post, just click the Search button on the main menu and wahlaaaa, there it is! Click again and its gone :)
I will be honest in saying I have had a tough decision on which route to take with my sidebars, Widget or Non? Well safe to say I kinda went with both. I have incorporated 4 (yes 4) sidebars into my Theme, one main section down the right hand side which only appears on the Home page, and three smaller sections on the footer, one left, one middle and one right, which is displayed on every page.
Non-Widget – by default no widgets are selected so down the right hand side section it displays Popular Post, Blogroll, the Archives listed by Months, followed a Meta Section. The three Footer sidebars, display Delicious Feed, Categories, and Twitter Feed, left to right. My love for both Delicious and Twitter meant that I just had to include these! :)
Widget – I have been a bit slow to acknowledge the whole Widget thing, I’m not sure why really as its a really handy thing to build into a WP Theme and is so easy too! Each of the 4 Sidebars previously mentioned are all making it very easy to customize. All the user has to do it add Widgets in the WP-admin section.
Looking through someone else’s code can be a nightmare, everyone does it differently and I’m no different. From past experience of choosing a new Theme, I know that after successfully installing it, I set out to customize it any which way I can to make it my own. Taking this into consideration I am going to spend alot of time tidying up my code when its finished and add loads of comments in, explaining what each section is doing which will from a users point of view will make it easier to customize!
The final section I am going to mention is the Comments. I decided to try something bit different for this section and I have included some jQuery again which acts as a method of showing/hiding not only the list of Comments for that post but also the Comment Form. I think by hiding these two sections, the reader can concentrate more on the actual post, but alternatively should they decide they want to respond they are only a click away from been able to. Check out a Single post page (http://dev.nerdpress.co.uk/?p=16) and let me know what you think, apologies if there are any bugs cross browser this is still in development.
So far, this has been a really good learning block for me, especially been fairly new to the whole Web Design scene. I have done sites for other people prior to this but its entirely different trying to come up with an idea for a theme because its gotta be aimed at not just one so person but many, and with the number of great themes out there its hard to stand out!
At present, (Nerd)Press is by no means finished, it is coming along nicely and feedback so far has been good which I am so grateful for! I am going to start giving it more of my time to get it finished, but I am in no great rush to release it as I want it to be right before its let out in the opening, especially been my first Theme.
I have put up a ‘Register for Updates’ form on http://nerdpress.co.uk, if you like what you’ve heard so far then get your details filled in and I will keep you updated on my progress! Any feedback would be great too!
Visit the Development site at http://dev.nerdpress.co.uk to see some of the features mentioned in this post in action. I also have my main blog SelfConclusion.co.uk.