As described in a post earlier today, I have made some significant changes to this site. The short version is that I’ve started to use WordPress as a CMS (content management system). While the WordPress APIs provide a good range of functions for doing CMS-like things, the web interface is disappointingly lacking in even basic CMS features. Thankfully, WordPress’s plugin architecture has allowed the community to fill in the gaps.

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This site started life in the early 2000s as a pure blog powered by the Serendipity blogging engine and hosted on free shared hosting provided by MiNDS>, the IT society of Maynooth University, where I was a researcher in the Computer Science department at the time. The first big change came in the summer of 2006 when I moved the blog from MiNDS> to this domain. As well as moving the blog, I also moved my personal website, though the two remained separate entities which I had to mange separately. While moving the blog I took the opportunity to change blogging engines from Serendipity to WordPress. This was an early version of WordPress, so its evolution from blogging engine to content management system (or CMS) still had a long way to go (arguably it still does). As WordPress’s pages feature evolved, I eventually did away with the standalone site, adding just a handful of pages into WordPress. At that point WordPress became my entire website. It was a viable solution because I really just needed a few simple ‘about the stuff I do’ pages, and the blog.

This month, while preparing for the release of the new version of my XKPasswd open source library, I realised that I needed more from this site. While the blog is still important, and will continue to contain most of the information hosted on the site, it won’t be the view though which most of that information will be accessed. A reverse-chronological list of all posts on all topics is not actually an optimal way of presenting content! This site serves as the anchor of my online presence simple because this is the URL I give out when ever I’m asked where people can find me online. I sometimes wonder if podcast listeners aren’t starting to think that Busschots is just my middle name, and that from bartb.ie is actually my surname! This site has not been a particularly good home page, not because there isn’t useful content, but because it’s been ineffectively presented.

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Thanks to this nice wordpress plugin/theme from the guys at content robot this blog now displays even better on an iPhone or iPod Touch. It works by first providing a theme that is optimised for use on Mobile Safari and then adding a plugin that uses that theme automatically for just Mobile Safari. It’s a nice idea well implemented. (Thanks to Alison for the tip)

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Blog Theme Tweaked

Filed Under Computers & Tech, My Projects on March 18, 2007 | 7 Comments

Although I was very happy with the Blue Zinfandel Squared theme as it was out of the box there were one or two things about it that annoyed me so I spent this evening fixing them. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised when I dove into the code, it was clear, simple and well documented! All my changes were minor, no more than a few lines of code each but they make things pretty much exactly as I want them. Anyhow, in case you care these are the tweaks I made:

  • I moved the search box up to the top of the side bar
  • Fixed the way the categories were shown – it wasn’t playing nice with nested categories
  • Added the full date to the information at the top of posts
  • Added an “edit” button to each post that only shows up when I’m logged in
  • Tweaked the way lists are rendered in posts
  • Tweaked the page header and footers a very small bit

And that’s it. That’s all the changes the theme needed. I really can’t give it high enough praise!

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This is the first post to my new blog since I moved it from www.minds.nuim.ie/~voyager/blog to here. The move has not been a smooth one because I also moved from using the Serendipity blog software to WordPress. ATM all my old posts are here but many have not imported perfectly and all the comments were lost. I’ll be fixing the posts over the next while and I haven’t quite given up on find a way to get the comments across but the changes are it won’t happen.

I still have some work to do here before I get back up to my normal level of posting but from tomorrow on expect to start seeing new posts again.

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