Notice: This entry was published 5 years ago and may no longer reflect my views today.
Last night, I quietly launched my new blog theme. Say hello to Papergreen (DJ to the Cutesiness Remix) feat. Bones and Sass. Yes, that is the official name. Themes named like obnoxious dance pop songs are important to me.
Originally, I was going to simply rearrange my previous theme to have a sidebar and convert older posts into excerpts. Hence, the “remix.” What started out as rearranging turned into a brand new theme as I found more and more things I didn’t like. In the end, I was left with only the fonts and colors staying the same. So I guess I do theme remixes the way Jennifer Lopez does her top-hit remixes.
Bones and Sass
I figured since I was basically starting over, I should begin with a framework. I looked up a few, and I’ve been interested in Genesis for a good while now (shoutout to my girl Eirene, my go-to Genesis informant) but wasn’t ready to shell out the money just yet. I tried out a few free ones to start with, and they didn’t click with me. I felt like they made things more complicated than they have to be. This is just a personal blog, after all. In the end, I settled for Bones. I love it!
Bones isn’t a framework so much as a starter theme. It’s meant to be used on a per-project basis and there was a good bit of editing on my end to get it to work the way I want. It’s so awesome though, and did I mention that it comes with Sass? Sass is love, Sass is life. I’ve been using it at work, but I’ve never done so in my personal projects. Oh, where has it been all my life? Thanks to Bones and Sass, I managed to finish my theme in probably half the development time.
By the way, if you haven’t been using CSS preprocessors on your projects, I definitely recommend you to get started! They improve your workflow so much. There’s Sass, Less, and stylus. Which one you use is completely up to you and what you’re comfortable with. I’m not well-versed on the other two so I can’t say much about them. All I can tell you is I love Sass.
The main focus of this theme is the layout, as in the arrangement of my blog’s elements. I’ve never liked how sidebars always seemed tacked on and used as a dumping ground for any information that didn’t belong elsewhere. It’s why I avoided them in my previous two themes. Of course, I ended up just dumping info on my footer so it’s not like I’m not any different. :’D I wanted every bit of my site to have a purpose and a proper place.
I’ve done away with a static sidebar in place of one that changes in context of the page you’re viewing. For example, a “Recent Posts” widget would make sense in a single entry page to help you navigate through my archives, but it wouldn’t make sense on the front page when you’re already looking at the recent posts. Another example is a sitemap being beneficial when you’re looking at a static page rather than a blurb about me, especially when you’re already on the About page. I’ve tried my best to make the sidebar useful and not redundant wherever you might be.
Speaking of about me blurbs, I moved it to the top of my front page as more of an introduction to my site. Navigating away from the front page replaces it with random facts. My stats tell me that the majority of my hits enter my front page first, and I figured once is enough for you to be introduced to my site. Plus, random facts are cool. I picked out a few fun ones from Uselessfacts.net. Do tell me of any fun trivia you know!
Category Grids and Social Icons
To make my front page more useful, I’ve added some featured categories after my recent entries. I was going to go with five, but they looked like overkill so I cut them down to three. If any of you want to skip right over entries about my life (pfft thanks), you can head on over down there for my better written stuff. They only show up on my front page and subsequent entry pages to stick with my contextual goal. They vanish on my static pages and individual entry pages so as not to take focus away.
I also have social media icons after my category grids. I’m still not very proactive about my online ~*presence*~ but I’m always up for adding people. In particular, I’m hoping to use my Github account more as I have a few project ideas lined up for Tumblr (not themes!). I have another Github account for work that’s way more active, but I wanted to separate my side projects from my professional ones. Plus, I don’t wanna deal with any potential messiness involving work and my online stuff. For private repos, I use Bitbucket, where my theme is stored. If you’re into numbers, my repository for Papergreen Remix has two branches and 11 commits.
A note about icon fonts
I used Font Awesome for my social icons. AdBlock (particularly the Firefox version) is notorious for blocking Font Awesome. If you’re using AdBlock and you can’t see my icons, please reconfigure your settings or consider whitelisting my site. I don’t place any ads on my blog, and if I can help it, I never will.
And All the Rest
I updated my About and Links pages in line with my theme launch. My plugins list was horribly outdated, but now you should be able to see all the plugins I use. It’s a lot, to be honest. Someday I hope for WordPress to be lightweight and not bloated (HA). For links, I added some fun sites as well as resources on my links page. I also come out as a Redditor (lurker, to be exact). I’m still working on adding a few more. I’d love to know any fun sites you visit regularly! I’m also down for link exchanges.
What do you think? Love it/hate it/get off my internets? I’d love to hear your feedback, especially about this whole contextual elements thing I’m trying to do. Ugh, that sounds like such a corporate buzzword but I honestly don’t know what else to call it. Next theme, we will be discussing synergy and prioritizing core competencies!
Vectors are courtesy of Freepik.