In case you’re wondering, I’m tinkering my way toward a new theme design. For something different, I thought I’d do the development live, which means that as I start out there is very little here for styles. This approach lets you watch it evolve over time, and should help me catch any trouble areas as they occur. One oddity that I’ve found already is an inordinately high number of database queries occurring — in the hundreds, in fact, when there should be something in the low double-digits. Normally this is caused by plugins, but disabling plugins and changing over to an effectively blank theme hasn’t eliminated that problem, which is the reason the blog loads much more slowly than it should.
I seem to be in the midst of a technology update. It started with replacing my Treo 650 with a shiny new HTC Touch Diamond. I have to say I like the calendar and the email app on the Treo better than the HTC, but the Treo lacks about 83 of the features on the HTC even though it has a much more functional keypad. Or it could be 84 features. Anyway, now I have the task of transferring everything over. I hate the transition where I have half my data in each place and have to carry two devices as a result.
It was also time to upgrade my desktop PC — Mandriva 2009 has been out a while now, and I finally got around to upgrading the OS. Note: the Mandriva 2009 upgrade does not go smoothly. Somehow as a result of the upgrade, I no longer have a graphical environment, just a command-line, which makes most of my everyday applications a bit of a challenge.
I’ve upgraded my WordPress install from 2.2.3 right up to 2.7 now, including updates to several plugins and a few plugin changes as well (add this, drop that). Turns out I had an improper MySQL query, and the changes I’ve made seems to have overwritten it. Like the shoemaker’s son who wanders around town in the worst shoes of all, I keep falling behind in the updates to my own website. Kind of embarrassing how long I let it slip because of some necessary database changes that I wanted to avoid. I won’t be doing that again.
Please report any weirdness or let me know if you see significant issues at all… but most significantly, everyone should see a marked performance increase. This is the main thing I’m after with these changes, as well as some of the back-end improvements in WordPress. While I was at it, the astute reader may notice I’ve shortened the website urls. But don’t worry, all the old links still work.
I don’t normally do straight tech posts, but this one is worth it: if the title didn’t quite give it away, WordPress 2.7 was released today. I’ve already been running WordPress 2.7 on a couple of blogs I’ve been readying for another project, and I must say I’ve been quite pleased with it. Huge changes in the admin area, enough that I will no longer need to add admin themes to make the interface more easily navigable. Not only that, the admin screens are easily customized. Other major enhancements include automatic software updates, threaded commenting, and more — it’s quite a significant upgrade. If you’re not running WordPress, it’s time to switch. Seriously.
Oh, and one more reason: this release is called “Coltrane.” Now that’s incentive.
I’m still beating on this thing with a hammer… I’ve got my database issue fixed, but today’s project was migrating the blog onto a new host that I’ve been using in tandem with the old one for the past few months for some odd-and-ends and a couple of new sites like Missio.nalVie.ws, an experimental Digg-like site for all things missional — it now just needs beta testers, a facelift, and some promotion so feel free to jump right in.
Anyway, I’ve got the database working on the new host, but seem to have a php error plaguing me… you may have noticed a 500 server error for most of the afternoon today. This does not apply if you’re reading via RSS, in which case everything will have looked normal to you unless you tried to click through to the site.
I’m doing some work on the blog at the moment, so things may be a little off-and-on for a short while. I’ve switched over to my new theme as the default option (actually the only option right now), and will be doing some tweaks to it in order to get tagging support finally implemented. A WordPress upgrade is in the cards as well… hopefully I should see y’all on the other side!
Update: It looks like we’re back, freshly upgraded and on the new theme. I’ve got some playing around to do with tags (you can’t see any, but nothing is actually yet tagged anyway). Before I can do that, it looks like a bit of an issue with categories I’ll need to troubleshoot following the WP upgrade. In any event, let me know if you see any oddities; email me if you can’t comment for some reason.
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.
Yes, the site was running very slow yesterday — I expect a large number of people were unable to load it. I’ll have to put some effort toward a new hosting setup sooner rather than later, it seems. I was hoping to do some upgrades at the same time, and I did do some work on the site redesign yesterday. Now with 70% less scrolling! Seriously, you can see the whole front page by “paging-down” only about three times… and still shows 10 posts on the front page, 2 sidebar columns, and a few ideas for some keen new features. I’ve got the layout pretty much worked out now, just need to determine the colour scheme and consider how much or what sort of graphics it’ll have. It will be lighter on graphics than what I’ve got.