A blog, a theme, a site.

You may have caught the few moments when Manji2 made an appearance. I played with the css and an image or two, then removed it.I have a good idea of where I need to work – and work I shall. But just those few minutes illustrated a problem. A problem I’ve been aware of for a while and one that has some future implications for me at least.

The CSS that you look at now controls more than just the blog. Laziness on my part means that other pages that do not use WP code hook into the CSS. So I upload a new theme, and it activates for the blog very well indeed – and other pages break. So I get the CSS that other pages need, and go to drop that in …. but I can’t can I ? Because I have not written this new CSS, I don’t know what class and id names are used, I don’t know where they are used. A stylesheet isn’t a casual relationship – you need to know it well. So I have a blog that works, and a site that does not. Hardly a great situation when even plugin pages do not work. We cannot expect theme authors to document what they do – it’s up to us to read the CSS.
Like I said though – that is laziness on my part. But it does show that as much as Themes are vaunted as being a clean and easy way to change a blog, they are not necessarily the same thing for sites. I know there has never been a message saying that they would be good for sites, but equally there seem to be no disclaimers or easy help. Expectations of the audience I suppose…. Maybe it would be different if I had had the blog first and added the site later, but I’m not so sure. I can see breakage ahead ……

Going back to themes – if WP starts turning into more of a CMS, then more guidance is needed for all authors – including for styling. Not fun for the authors. Not fun for the fixers. For those that can do CSS it’s just another learning curve. An unnecessary one maybe.

So for me to use themes, as illustrated so clearly earlier, I need first to remove all dependencies that all other pages have. A point to consider when someone says “Just copy the css and images to another directory” – it doesn’t work that way as you then have double the work and fiddling. That is not an easy answer. It’s almost that I need to cultivate a different look for the more stable pages and leave this is a CSS playpen. But I’m fairly happy to do that, happy to spend the time, happy to use it as an opportunity to try new code, try new things. Not everyone will be. They won’t be quiet either. This is sounding like I’m knocking people at some level – I am not. I’m just saying it like I see it.

Which brings me on to the implication: what is WP going to be ? If I look honestly at 1.2.2, it does (apart from the spam stuff) just what I need. I never did understand the huge fuss about pages for instance. But I’ve been with 1.5 for a while so I’m happy. Looking at the plans for 1.6 (which could well end up being 2.0), I see nothing for me. This is and always will be a one-man-blog. There literally is nothing there I can value for what I need. So I’ll find a version soon that works for me – it could even be what I have now – and stick with it. I also never got this multi-blogging stuff either. I’d imagine 1.5 will be around for a while but to be honest I don’t want to be anywhere close when the first nightlies of multi-blogging hit the servers. Nowhere near. There are limits as to what I will learn to help others, and that’s beyond mine.

This isn’t a sudden reaction, but a couple of events today and then playing with the theme (and remember, I expect to have to fix things) has concreted my thoughts. It’s like I’ve gone to the adventure park and for the last year it’s been a great ride with great companions, but right now, someone has lit the fuse on the firework display and all too soon it’ll be my turn to leave the park. But hey, I may yet have a ticket for tomorrow ……

2 thoughts on “A blog, a theme, a site.

  1. It doesn’t seem to me to be ‘laziness’ to use the same CSS throughout a site; it’s good practice. It helps to ensure a consistent look and means your users don’t have to download a new stylesheet for every page.

    So yes, while themes are great for standalone blogs, they are not the best solution if the news page is only one component of an existing site (unless you have the time and inclination to convert all the other components into WP ‘pages’, which many of us may not.)

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