Dissection of a WordPress theme: Part 4

In previous guides we have concentrated on the building blocks of a WordPress theme. A basic design structure has been defined, followed by enclosing header and footer elements, and finished off with a navigational panel. While important aspects of any blog, they are secondary to its main purpose: the content.

In this fourth and final part we carefully dissect the process of taking content from WordPress and arranging it on screen. Attention is paid to the alternative methods of grouping this information, from the multiple posts of the front page, to search results and archives.

We will look at how WordPress distributes responsibility for this work, and how everything is tied together with the all-seeing all-knowing construct known as ‘The Loop’.

By the end of this guide we should have a fully working theme and enough WordPress experience and knowledge to extend our theme beyond the basic design presented here.

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Politically incorrect fun – Woman Of The Year

I watched several movies over the weekend, courtesy of my flat mate making a bumper trip to the video rental store. His tastes could easily be described as eclectic – old romance, sci-fi, and Benny Hill are not an average choice.

Woman Of The YearMovie one was Woman Of The Year. This is a very old black and white movie starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn and it falls squarely in the ‘romantic comedy’ category. Normally I make a quick retreat from such movies, but this was a lot of fun and certainly a lot better than most modern varieties.

What was particularly curious is how much society has changed with regards attitudes towards women. The basic premise of the story is that Hepburn is a modern wonder-woman; strong, intelligent, and beautiful. She speaks several languages, knows many important political figures, and soon wins the prize for ‘Woman of the year’. At the same time she meets Spencer Tracy and before long they get married. However, because of her busy life things start falling apart. She tries to patch it together by adopting an orphan boy, but it’s quickly apparent she has no time for him.

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A change of host

I’ve decided to change my hosting company.

I am prepared for a lot of pain and suffering, but so far it’s going rather smoothly. This wasn’t some well thought out decision, but rather a fit of activity after becoming frustrated with the averageness of GoDaddy, my current host.

Finding a decent host is a real chore, and I came to this conclusion pretty soon the first time round. The internet is flooded with copy-cat hosting companies who are mostly resellers that buy bandwidth from real companies. Even their websites all look the same, with identical prices, identical features, and identical hidden setup fees. This makes me both weary and wary.

This is the internet so you’d think it would be easy to find a decent website with reviews of the companies. But no. Most of the companies have tied Google up in loops with their link farms. A search for ‘web host review‘ returns an immense number of fake review sites, each ranking the same hosting companies. It’s quite a sickening misuse of the internet. I shall refer to this collective as The Many.

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Dissection of a WordPress theme: Part 3

Personalising a blog can require patience and perseverance. There are times when it seems a fruitless task and the blog absolutely refuses to do what you want, despite your best efforts. There are many sources of information on the internet, but it can be hard to locate exactly what you need.

One of the simplest solutions is to look at other people’s work and see if you can make use of their ideas. This is the third part in a series of articles concerned with the dissection of the default WordPress theme, Kubrick. The hope is that walking through this theme may provide help for your own blog or, at the very least, open up new areas of research. After all, there is no shortage of information out there.

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Dishwasher music

Duran Duran Everybody has some musical cheese that they secretly enjoy. Beneath our oh-so-cool exterior beats a heart of wobbly glam-rock horrors, ’70s cornball, and New Romantic meltdowns. We’re born with this stuff so why fight it?

Having lived in the Czech Republic for nearly half a year I now realize that a great percentage of the Czech population are not afraid to show their love of kitsch music. I am sure a great underground scene exists here, somewhere, but the stuff that gets piped on the radio and in shops and other public places is firmly rooted in 80’s hair-rock and power ballads.

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A bloodbath – Review of The Tenant and Gusher No Binds Me

TenantI watched two movies at the weekend and I still don’t know what to think of them. The first was Roman Polanski’s The Tenant. I’ve not watched many Polanski movies and even though I enjoyed my flat-mates story about meeting him at a wedding last year, he was always someone I heard a lot about, but never quite managed to see.

Sometimes you can watch a movie and wonder if, when you blink, you actually fall asleep by accident. That’s not because of boredom but just because you feel like you missed a key scene. The Tenant is very much like that. There is a slow build-up of paranoia as a man rents an apartment in which the previous tenant jumped out of the window. He begins to suspect that his neighbors caused it to happen, and this first half of the movie is great with lots of wonderful Kafka-esque situations.

Warning: contains spoilers – don’t read further if you want to watch the movie!

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Dissection of a WordPress theme: Part 2

Web design is a notoriously tricky subject. Often we give up any thoughts of innovation when the process of realising them is such hard work. Part two of this WordPress dissection continues to try and explain the basic workings of the software, how this relates to the layout, and how anyone can personalise their blog.

The focus will be on finalising the basic layout from part one, and then finishing the header and footer sections. Both of these are important as they stylistically define a blog and act as visual focal points – do it well and people will want to read your blog, do it badly and they may not even bother.

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Convergence

They say that technology is converging and that our gadgets will soon do much more. I’m not sure who they are, but it seems to be true – mobile phones can take photos and play games, computers double up as VCRs, and even fridges are online.

My apartment here in the Czech Republic is a fine example of Czech architecture, and is lovely and spacious. It’s got most of the modern conveniences I could want, except for a telephone line. I have a mobile phone, but it’s very expensive to call my family back in England, and just as expensive for them to call me.

I hate shameless plugs, and this is sounding awfully like one, but for the past few months I’ve been using Skype. This is a nifty bit of software that allows you to talk for free to people on the internet. This is handy enough, but they also offer a service, at a cost, called SkypeOut. This gives you the ability to call normal telephones from your computer, and thus solving my landline problem. The bonus is the calls are much cheaper than you could get via a traditional phone.

Recently they’ve introduced a service called SkypeIn. This is where it gets clever. You pay your 10 euros and select a telephone number in a country of your choice. This becomes your number for three months and whenever anyone with a normal telephone dials it, they get put through to your computer (provided you are online and running Skype). The best part is that the people dialing you only pay a call to the country in which the number belongs. In my case, I have bought a UK number and so my family only pays a local UK call, even though it gets routed through to the Czech Republic. I don’t pay anything for the call either. Amazing!

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