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Messin’ with WordPress

It’s not usually a good sign when you blog about blogging, but in this case it’s not really about getting down on my writing or complaining about how I don’t blog anymore. This time it’s about the technical side of blogging, which then leads to the writing side.

I had to do a fresh install of WordPress at work for a project and after going through the normal (and easy) installation found that the WordPress interface had changed entirely. I was blown away. I know the version of WordPress that runs the Toast is several years old (although not for long), but it has worked perfectly without problems, so naturally I never had a reason to upgrade. I don’t really pay attention to WordPress news either, so this change completely out the blue…and for the better!

I installed the Tiger front end for WordPress some time ago to give me better looking control over the (then) crazy ugly interface that WordPress used to have. But the interface included with this upgrade (2.7) is heads and tails over the Tiger overlay. No knock to the maker of Tiger, it is pretty awesome. So my next little project is updating my WordPress 2.0 to 2.7, which I’ve never tried before and I typically don’t do upgrades. I’ve said before, ending is better than mending, and for computer programs it usually goes the same way.

But the discovery of the new WordPress was completely secondary. My purpose of the fresh install of WP in the first place was to play with a concept I want to try for my blog at large – themes per entry. Otherwise, having the design of the site change per article. It’s something I spotted over at Jason Santa Maria’s blog and I really liked how it looked and presented his articles. As you all know my articles here are pretty long winded, so all that text can lend themselves to great designs. Since I don’t typically do one-off posts here, this lets me play with designs more often within a theme, something I like to do, plus it keeps the challenge going. However, if I do things properly, not every article will need a fancy design…ideally it should be a very flexible template that lets me style on-demand without having to change the site entirely like I’ve had to do in the past.

I don’t want to copy the JSM site by any means, but it has inspired me to try and get more creative with how I present my articles. Plus it’s a nice little WordPress programming challenge. Two birds one, one stone, and it might to something for the writing too. I think the type of presentation JSM has accomplished is something newspapers and magazines should really look hard to trying. With paper dying slowly and looking for ways to capitalize on this “new fad” the internet, this is the way to do it. It preserves the design of print but keeps publishing simple for editors. Just saying…it’ll work…

Oh, so if you hit the Toast one day and it looks a) all messed up, or b) doesn’t load at all – it’s probably because I F’ed something up with the upgrade. Live and learn.


  1. Brian Brian Post author | December 16, 2008

    Well, an hour after I posted this and I’m still messing with the upgrade. The new version did not like the permalink style I had before. Still making sure it’s working like it should all nice and safe.

  2. Brian Brian Post author | December 16, 2008

    OK, well, enough for one night. Things seem to be in order. Permalinks should all work as they did before.

    If you notice anything screwy or off, please drop a comment so I can investigate. Thanks!

  3. Big G Big G December 16, 2008

    Cool! Probably a good thing you upgraded your wordpress install. There were some pretty serious security bugs that have been fixed in the last couple years.


  4. JuanO JuanO December 17, 2008

    I recently found JSM’s site as well, his designs are really inspiring. Good luck with the upgrade and the new template design!

  5. Brian Brian Post author | December 17, 2008

    I found Jason’s web site a while ago on a list of “well designed” blogs but kind of just took his designs as above me. I was more in the mind set of not wanting to fitz around with my site and just write. Plus I just didn’t think WordPress could be so flexible, and I’m still not sure it can, but I’m gonna give it a try.

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