Nuts and Bolts

Coding: measured in how many wtf's per minute.I manage Jeff Chappell dotcom with WordPress; it’s theme is a slightly modified version of Chameleon by Elegant Themes. I used to create my own themes using Artisteer, or else I heavily modify free themes, but I got tired of reinventing the wheel, so to speak. There were paid-for themes out there that did what I wanted to do without the necessity of extensively modifying a bunch of the underlying php files, or relying on 1001 conflicting plugins.

While coding can be fun and gratifying, it can also be frustrating and boring, and I’d rather be concentrating on the content (geeks just want to have fun).

I’ve only had to make a few tiny modifications to this theme to do what I wanted with it — merely CSS changes. I originally wanted a somewhat minimal, simple yet modern theme for this site — I had envisioned black text, white background, with red highlights, seeing as I have a history with newspapers (you do get that, right? Black, white, and “red” all over? Newspapers … read, as in past-tense … pun and a riddle … yeah?).  But I wanted some gee-whiz Web 2.0-ish bells and whistles, like a javascript slider.

I also wanted some back-end content management goodies — for example, ElegantThemes come with templates that let you specify what blog post categories you want to appear on a page. I’m used to coding that by hand in php — so Chameleon fit the bill of goods; it was almost exactly what I had in mind.

Jeff Chappell dotcom's php code features only 2 to 3 wtf's per minute!On my personal blog, the Gecko’s Bark, I use another Elegant Theme that is more extensively modified, but even then I was able to do just about all of those modifications with CSS, with only a few tweaks in theme’s actual files. That’s one of the advantages of paid themes: you don’t have to tinker under the hood that much.

One more thing: I’m currently using DreamHost as my webhost, and probably will be for the forseable future. I used to use Yahoo, and was happy with Yahoo’s service, but DreamHost specializes in webhosting, and the company offers great options for people that want to host multiple sites. I’ve only been with DreamHost a few months, but so far so good; I’ve been impressed.

P.S. I can’t take credit for the awesome, high-res newspaper background image, that came from a gracious and talented young lady on DeviantArt. If you’re looking for gorgeous backgrounds and textures, please check out powerpuff jazz on DeviantArt.

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