My new theme isn’t 100% ready for prime-time yet, but I’ve been plugging away at a new blog design. I’m not actually happy with the colour scheme and some of those bits yet, but it’s growing on me some. It’s more legible than my current/outgoing theme, which is now a year and a half old. The pages are much lighter as well, so should load faster. Not all the page loads are snappy yet, but I am planning to upgrade WordPress and disable a bunch of plugins as I make the change over to the new theme.

I must say that I am happy with some of the functionality that I have working in the new theme… the home page layout shows three large “feature” posts, followed by seven older ones which are compressed into a 2×4 grid. The number of sidebars changes as you browse, and there is dynamic content which appears there as well. I’ve got a passel of “chicklets” for people to use for subscribing via their favorite online reader, but it’s normally hidden so it’s completely inobtrusive until you want it. There are a few banner ads still, but they shouldn’t offend anyone. I’ve got random words in the comments and a bunch of fun things… at least to a geek like me, anyway! For a lot of bits, I could find WordPress plugins to accomplish various tasks, but I just built the functions into the template instead. I will probably release the template for free download once I’m happy with it. It’s not widget-ized, but anyone wanting to make that change can take it the next step.

Along with the updates, I’ll be doing away with the link/sidebar blog and adding full tagging support, but some of those changes need to wait until the new template is live, as I don’t want to break the old one just yet.

That’s the whole preamble to say, anyone wanting a preview, you can have at it right away! All you need to do is scroll down in your browser and search along the sidebar on the right until you find where it says “Themes.” Click on “Influence 3.0” and you’ll be greeted with my brand-spankin’ new theme! (You’ll be able to switch back by doing the same thing in the new theme and clicking on “Subversive Redesign”.) Do not click on any of the other themes, or the sky will fall down around you. No, not really — you’ll just need to manually delete a cookie to get back to my default theme (if you’ve already done this, email me or leave a comment and I’ll help you undo it). I’ve been using the new theme for the past couple of days as I keep tweaking, so I don’t expect any major issues… though so far I’ve only seen it on Linux.

I’m looking for feedback — leave a comment on this post to report anomalies. There are things I’m still tweaking and messing about with, most of which are obvious (e.g., anything with tags just has placeholder text)… but if there are any serious errors especially, let me know. To help me out with troubleshooting, tell me what browser and version (if you know) you’re using and what operating system (and version) — Mac, The Evil Empire, or The Chosen One (Linux). But let me know what you think!

I should say that once it’s all done, it’s headed over to Media Temple to a higher-capacity, higher-bandwidth system… I’m actually straining the server that I’m on right now. ;^)

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