docwhat's avatardocwhat's blog

Cleaning up parts of the blog

You may have noticed that I’ve been cleaning up parts of my blog. This is because there were some things that really bugged me: My template was too verbose and was too far off default, my colors weren’t and still aren’t ideal, my text formatting was done through a plugin I increasingly came to dislike, and I moved my feeds over to feedburner.

The template I used was based on a very very bland CSS and a bunch unneeded changes to the HTML in the default WordPress theme. Originally, I used it directly, but each WordPress upgrade I did would cause me to strip away parts of the HTML changes. Eventually the templates became nearly stock, except for I have some minor tweaks for JavaScript and the header.php and footer.php.

As I removed the customized HTML, I cleaned up the CSS and reorganized it to make it easier to work with. In addition, I have been writing tools so I can use slimmer to reduce the size of the CSS and Crockford’s jslint and jsmin. Nothing amazing, just make files, but it’s very satifying when your stuff just works without your thinking about it.

I’ve been playing with the colors some as I worked through the CSS. I like my palette of green, yellow, orange, and blue. Though I’m not entirely sure of the exact values and saturations I want. I ended up writing some python code to help me quickly swap out colors in my CSS file, since there isn’t any variable substitution or functions in CSS itself. I’m still not happy, especially with the blue and purple of links and visited links respectively.

When I started this blog, I made a bad choice. I decided that I really didn’t like the default post formatting. I didn’t like the fact that it was only half HTML and that in order not to fall afoul of the auto-formatter you had to make all paragraphs a single line. I personally preferred Trac’s formatter.

So I installed a Textile plugin, it being closer to what I want, to override the default formatter. Well, this has a problem; if you decide that you don’t like that formatter, then you have to reformat all your posts. I kept putting off getting rid of that formatter. I’ve known I would do swap it out for a couple months now; the last few posts have had virtually no textile-isms in them, but were still a pain to change.

On Monday, I edited all my posts by hand to make them work with the default text formatter. This caused lots of updates in my feeds and it caused me some grief because I made mistakes. I think I fixed most of the problems now. I also fixed a few typos in my posts while I was at it. whew.

The last thing I did was switch to using feedburner. Surprisingly, there are enough people to warrant it. I used Steve Smith’s Feedburner Feed Replacement plugin, of course. It went pretty well.

The funny thing is, I don’t think I told the whole truth when I said “… I really don’t want to have to manage the nuts and bolts of my site.”1 I suspect that what I really meant was “I don’t want to have to manage any more nuts and bolts than might strike my fancy at any given moment.” So far, WordPress has let me do that. I played with this stuff because it’s something I wanted to do. Well, except for my adventure with the stupid Textile formatter.

I’m still looking for a good way to format code snippets and examples. I really liked the idea behind wp-dp.SyntaxtHighlighter, but the plugin conflicted with some stuff I did in my template’s header.php file. I tried using dp.SyntaxtHighlighter directly, which mostly worked. But I really disliked some of the design decisions that the developer made. Such as how to find the textarea where your code is.

Also, it requires another large blob of JavaScript for the user to download. Ideally it would only pull in that JavaScript when it needed it, which would require a plugin that could tell when it was needed. Which means more work for me. Ah, well. Maybe later it’ll strike my fancy later.


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