Archive for June, 2008

 

I created a brand new custom theme

Jun 20, 2008 by Steve Belt in Blogging

For my newest blog, Scottsdale Real Estate Blog, I went crazy and created a brand new custom theme. I know…crazy, huh? With so many free themes out there, why would I bother to create a new theme. Well, I wanted what I wanted, and I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, so I set about creating it.

It started with the vision of a photograph in my head. I hadn’t taken the photo, but I knew what the photo was going to be. I would shoot the McDowell Mountains from the top of my office building, and that would be the banner photo. This beautiful blue sky and mountains would be the basis for my inspiration for the theme.

I installed Dreamweaver, a tool I had never used before, and pieced together a complete theme, with all of the rough elements: Header, sidebar, content, and footer. At this point, I actually took the photo that was in my head. I would need it to complete the header, and really stylize what I had in mind. Photoshopping skills, I apparently have a little, but I’m continually amazed at how difficult it is for me to do what I feel should be easier. Eh…I suppose when I stop taking photos will be the day I declare myself a Photoshop master.

McDowell-Mtns

At this point, with so many php elements in the theme, and not much content to play with, Dreamweaver ceased being very useful, and I just installed it all on the live blog, and made my final edits from the WordPress admin panel. Honestly, it’s painfully slow, but since it’s my theme, I wasn’t hunting around wondering where to change what. Actually, the toughest part was getting the cForms plug-in and it’s style to agree with my style. I wanted that plug-in to go narrower than it is built to go by default, and adjusting cForms style to do that was very time consuming. And of course, it’s style and my theme’s style clashed, but that was fine…it caused me to clean up my style.

As themes go, it’s relatively basic. There aren’t as many style elements as the bigger themes, but at least I know it’s unique (or unique enough…I mean, how unique is a header, sidebar, content, and footer?). This exact format won’t be found elsewhere, and that itself is reason enough to have bitten off the task.

I’m naming the theme onScottsdale, for lack of a better name, and I’m sure I’ll add to the theme over time, but doing this project has given me a much better sense for what I see when I look at a theme, and what’s style/theme versus content. I don’t think I had fully distinguished the two well enough in the past.