The observant may have noticed that the look of this site has suddenly got rather gaudy. There is a good reason for this - I've been creating a WordPress theme which I want to be as flexible as possible. I.e. a 'bare' theme, which can then be styled easily with css. I know these themes already exist, but I wanted my own, m'kay?

The reason for the gaudy colours? Testing. I wanted the default colours to be fairly obvious, with each main element being distinct so that I could be sure that I had the no typos in the CSS selectors.

I'll leave the theme running for a little while, I'd be interested to hear about any usability issues (other than the horrible colour scheme).

The theme should be fully widgetised, it should have comment threading, avatars and so on.

The theme should be fluid and resize gracefully, as screen width reduces, the images reduce whilst keeping aspect ratio.

Things I know I want to fix - some of these are purely 'behind the scenes':

  1. I want, at most, one sticky post on the front page. At the moment, it'll put any number on.
  2. I want to have a tags page which shows the tag cloud.
  3. Behind the scenes, the entry formatting uses the same template, called when needed by index.php and archive.php. I need to get the single.php template to use this as well in order to minimise maintenance (requires some 'if' statements).
  4. Do I *need* single.php and archive.php once I've done that?
  5. Author pages, ideally automatically pulling in gravatars.
  6. Decent 404 page
  7. The comment form gets screwed up on a narrow screen and doesn't resize gracefully. I don't know why.
  8. I want the theme to be accessible. I.e. Good for screen readers and the like. I have no way to test this however, so if you know anyone with a screen reader, please do point them in this direction and ask them to comment (or, pass on their comments should it *really* be unusable).
    1. Is the order of elements okay?
    2. aural stylesheet hasn't been done, for me, that'd be coding without testing - I would want a sheet though!
    3. The tags/related tags stuff - does there need to be a way to, ideally optionally, skip that for screenreaders.... I wonder how (without introducing new screen cruft)
  9. I'll then package up this rough theme for release, create a duplicate and change the look and feel to customise it. If I find that I have to customise anything other than a stylesheet, I'll need to amend the 'raw' theme.

Things I'm unsure of:

  1. I've appended categories to tags (with a different class for styling)
  2. Do I want to keep the related posts thing? It relies on a plugin, so isn't essential for the theme (plugin may be disabled as a recent update caused a problem behind the scenes... I hope I remember to remove this sentence when fixed, but I've couched it as a conditional just in case)

Supermarket 2.0

Via Userfriendly I came across an excellent video on glumbert parodying 'Web 2.0' (for those not in the know, that's all the sites that have tagging, rss feeds etc) What if a supermarket went 2.0? I particularly liked the reference to 'Ajax', to 'Stumbleupon', and the ever-present tagging.

I loved the delicious punning, and the cookie.

I think my favourite part was the flickr reference with quakr.


I've been playing with a mapping website called 'frappr'. Essentially the idea is that people can add themselves to a map - the maps might be groups of friends, groups of people who like bunnies, or anything. Out of curiousity, I made a map for people who read this site (the map is here.

If you're not on the current map view, you can scroll the map around, and zoom the map as appropriate.


(I've also found ballofdirt.com - which looks very useful).

Bits of Freedom

On the Bits of Freedom website (Dutch language), an experiment was recently conducted. Some 'out of copyright' work (over 100 years old) was placed on a site. This was 'complained about' to the ISP by using hotmail addresses and claiming that the group owned the copyright. 7 of the 10 ISPs tested took down the site without question. One within three hours.

One ISP volunteered the personal details of the website owner despite this not being even asked for. The writeup is in English.

Scary indeed.

About Typekey

This post is no longer true. At the moment on this site I use 'Typekey' for comments, along with MT-Blacklist. This is in an effort to prevent comment spam before it occurs.

Typekey is a system where a person has one login, and with that can leave comments upon many movabletype sites. Indeed, if Firefox is used, the password might be remembered by the browser!

It's a bit of a pain to log in, I know - but it's a one time thing for many sites. Typekey is pretty new, but I'd expect to see its use increase over time - comment spam on some sites has become a big problem.

I do plan to enable unregistered comments (which will be held for moderation). Unfortunately I have some problem with the templates at the moment which is prohibiting this - and reusing the default templates doesn't seem to fix things. I've got the appropriate boxes checked in the configuration, so I'm a touch confused. I'll have a good delve when I can. In the meantime, typekey looks like a good way to go - and typekey comments appear straight on the site (if you're not held for moderation by MT-Blacklist!)

Boris Blog

My Favourite Tory, Boris Johnson, has launched his own website. His first post has already obtained more comments than my entire site mutter grumble... I suppose that he did have Boriswatch to give him a start, and he is a household name, whereas my site is just, well.... me.

I've got more content though (for now). Nyah, nyah ne nyah, Boris!

I'm not sure what to expect, but am hoping for lots of bicycle related stories. I like those.