My Journey to WordPress – New Design Up!

As I already explained previously, on April 5th (2010), I migrated from another blogging platform to WordPress. Last night I changed from the free theme I’d been using to my own new design which I integrated into WordPress using the Thesis theme (more about Thesis below).

As you can see, the new design is quite minimal compared to the old design. It is also a work in progress and will probably evolve and change a lot more often now that this site is running on a more solid platform. For now, only the header and navigation are “final”. I still have to tweak the rest of the site’s typography and the layout of the index page’s listing of posts. I also want to tweak the layout of post pages as well as static pages. Finally, I want to add back some of the great interactivity my temporary theme had (Mystique).

You may also notice that many of my pictures that were in the old gallery section now appear on rotation in the sidebar. I may build a dedicated gallery page/section again but that is not in my immediate plans. At this time, I prefer to concentrate on tweaking the design and adding new good content. There will be lots to talk about in the next few weeks… Right now, I’m writing this post as I wait with anticipation for the new Adobe CS5 launch event… 🙂

The Thesis Theme Framework

Ok, now what about that Thesis theme? For those who may wonder, Thesis is what they call a WordPress “theme framework“. Unlike most free themes people know, theme frameworks are designed as flexible foundations for your own designs (or child themes) into Wordpress. Most themes are “tweak-able” by end users but none to the extent of a true theme framework. Some of these are also free and you can see a list on the WordPress Codex “theme framework” page.

Thesis on the other hand is also what they call a Premium theme and it was recommended to me by a good friend of mine. After working with it a few days, I must say that it is very powerful and quite easy to work with, especially for someone like me who’s not afraid to dive into code. Thesis is quite developer-centric and, to get the most out of it, you will need to know CSS and be able to add some PHP code. Both are done to “custom” files, away from both the theme and WordPress core files. There’s even an editor in the theme’s dedicated admin section that lets you work with these files directly online without the need to fire up Dreamweaver or your code editor of choice.

Thesis is a very solid theme but, on the other hand, it’s not the only game in town either. The other “star” in the premium theme world is a theme called Headway. I haven’t tried it yet but I must say that, if I’d known about it before purchasing Thesis, I probably would have chosen Headway. Why? Because it is a theme framework aimed more at designers but which is also very powerful and flexible. I want to concentrate on the design and content of the blog now and not on writing code… I do enough of that on my client projects 😉

What Next?

Working with WordPress and being the geek that I am means that I need to improve my PHP skills to be able to understand this new new blogging platform which also extends well into the world of CMS software… something I also have a need for now. I am also currently working on my first client project where I use PHP exclusively on the back end so moving to WordPress now felt like the right thing to do. So, for this site, expect more WordPress related posts in addition to the stuff I usually talk about.

In the next few weeks I will also migrate my company blogs (there are separate French and English versions) to WordPress and I might do that with Headway that time so I can compare the two “head to head” (no pun intended!) After that I can make a real assessment of both and probably post reviews here.

On this site, expect the design to evolve and for me to blog about the new CS5 release. I just finished watching the lauch presentation and I already have a few things to say (like the complete absence of Fireworks in the presentation for example). Now that I own Camtasia Studio, I will try to publish tutorials again but in video format. They should be quicker to create than writing and probably more fun to follow.

So expect to hear more from me than in previous months as I work hard to bring back this site to life and provide useful information and tips to my readers.

Thanks for reading and glad to have you here!

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