New Site Version

Just updated the site.  It’s looking pretty blank right now, but it’ll be pretty cool once all the content is configured.

This new theme has much better front page presentation, which is probably the main improvement.  I can feature and link work visually, rather than just supplying text links.  I wanted a thumbnail grid layout on the front page, but I also wanted to be able to pick and choose projects and order them arbitrarily.  The WordPress plugin offerings are surprisingly lacking in this area – most options treat portfolio items as posts, require generating a mess of shortcode with ID-based inclusions and exclusions to get it to show the projects you want, or come bogged down with ugly styling and Javascript bloat that I’d have to strip down – so I coded up my own widget-based solution.  The front page is basically a giant widget area into which I can drag instances of a custom widget designed to create a link to the selected project and display the associated featured image.  There are definitely more efficient ways to do this and make the function more versatile, but this method was very straightforward to write.  Future work to come!

I also played around with some responsive design in this theme.  I tossed my (admittedly ancient) go-to theme starter that I’d hacked together over the years, and picked up and adapted Automattic’s _s theme, which provides great foundation code for responsive styling.  I learn a lot from building on (and breaking) existing code, so building this theme to be responsive using some updating CSS techniques and playing with jQuery was an excellent learning experience.

As for the styling, I change my mind a lot.  I set this new theme up to be a better portfolio theme overall, so for future revisions, I can just overhaul the stylesheet, rather than starting from scratch on a new theme every time I get bored of the design.  I”m always looking back and trying to improve things, whether it be the design or the underlying code.


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