I’ve spent a few evenings over the last couple of weeks updating the site to WordPress 2.8.4 (which is a major security release and should be picked up by all) and changing us over to the Thesis theme from DIYThemes. Thesis is not free, but the $174 developer’s license allows use on the entire Vast Richards Web-Empire (TM).
A normal (good) WordPress theme allows you to limit your customizations to the theme files, which is a big step over hacking the WordPress files. Still, you have issues when you need to update your theme. The Andreas Viklund theme we’ve been using broke at WordPress 2.7. He does have an upgrade out, but I think I’ve modified every file in the theme. Not encouraging.
Thesis goes a step further. It lets you (hopefully) confine all your custom code to three files which you just copy over when you upgrade Thesis. The bad news is that you can’t actually edit these files within WordPress. They say that anyone who doesn’t know what “server side editor over SSH” means should use ftp. Can you say 1985? Enter a plugin called Thesis Open Hook. Now you can edit your custom files in WordPress. How DIYThemes missed this I’ll never know.
There is one down side to Thesis. Most people use the defaults, and all look alike. Lisa and I decided that we actually prefer what we had, so I went to the trouble of pushing Thesis to do what I wanted. I strongly recommend that anyone else that has a look that they like do the same. I see too many sites where it takes three seconds to know what year the last makeover happened.
We are live on the new site now. We’re using our alternate banner, and after two days have decided that we want to go back to our original. I also need to bring over the LibraryThing code to the right sidebar. It will never make us a nickel, but we both like it. Books have been very very important to both of us for about forever. I was told many times over the years how I came back from the first day of kindergarten madder than hell because I hadn’t learned to read. Why else would I go to school pray tell?
Anyway, I think it’s a good step forward. The localvore site is next.