Just another pressurer blogger …

01

Aug

2009

WordPress and the blank slate

Ok. I’ve actually done it. Under pressure (and with much resistance) I’ve entered the realm of  “all things blog”. Why? Like I said: “pressure” from some people who want me to “say something” … but for those who know me, I don’t say all that much. So consider me a “pressure blogger”.

Another reason I jumped off the blogging edge was to give me and excuse to play with WordPress. After investing a few hours, (and finally finding the right resources) it ended up being surprisingly easy to customize. There are a bunch of great themes out there you could use if you wanted – more than you could imagine. However, being a designer and having my own site design already, I wanted to start with a “clean theme” – and there are a few  people out there who have created some really nice stripped-down WordPress themes.

If you’re like me and want to create a theme from scratch, I recommend a 3-part video series by Chris Coyier at css-tricks.com. It will take a couple hours, but it’s one of the best WP tutorials I’ve seen. In the video, he walks you through installing WordPress, installing a “clean” theme, and converting his Photoshop sketch into the WordPress theme – all on his actual live site.

(In the video he mentions using “Starkers” blank theme … but since the video, WP 2.7 came out … and Starkers is lacking a few things. I chose “blank slate” by Shawn Cope.)

The nice thing about the “blank slate” is that all the “markup” is removed, leaving you with the basic PHP functions and variables – making it easy to “build your design” around it. The CSS is also clean and setup as a basic “reset” CSS file – again, there are about 5 or so really good ones out there. I looked through them all and chose one by Eric Meyer – but any would work.

Although the CMS gives you some fairly good control over content, it’s not what I would recommend for building and maintaining a large website as the main CMS. Unless you want to limit yourself. But for small sites (and obviously blogs) – yeah, sure, why not.

So all that said, I spent a couple hours to figure it out … and there’s plenty more to do. But hey, it’s a start.

Resources used:

3-part Video Series starting from scratch:
http://css-tricks.com/video-screencasts/25-designing-for-wordpress-part-one/

Eric Meyer’s CSS Reset:
http://meyerweb.com/eric/tools/css/reset/index.html

Blank Slate by Shawn Cope:
http://shawncope.com/2008/12/17/wordpress-blank-slate-theme/

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