New Blog Theme and Upgrade Adventure

If you have visited the blog lately, you may have noticed that the design has changed rather significantly. It’s not entirely done, and I’m tweaking things as I come across them, but I’m rather pleased with how it’s coming along so far.

The theme is based on the WordPress Cleaker theme, though I’m changing elements to make it a bit more of a perfect fit for the chocolate-colored scheme I prefer.

So why the change in theme? Well, I had been putting off quite a few major changes to my blog and finally decided to complete them this weekend. One of those changes is that my darling system admin and web host for the blog is phasing out of hosting and will be living abroad next year. I have had plenty of notice that this would be coming up in the future, and I decided that I would go ahead and move the blog over to my main server.

Now, the issue is that the blog had been running under 2.0.3 (I think) for quite a while. I keep at least one test install of WordPress running on my main server all the time, and decided to see how much of what I used on the other version would be compatible with the current 2.1.3 version. I copied all the theme and plugin files and did a test run on my WordPress testing server. Yikes! It died. The blog, not the server, that is. So the theme I was using was going to need a significant overhaul anyway because quite a few of my plugins were not 2.1.x compatible.

Faced with a choice between doing a redesign of a theme I was already tired of having, or starting over… I chose the latter. So now you see what will be the visual rebirth of this blog. I will still be tweaking and touching up here and there, but I think I like this look so far.

I made sure that many of the design elements are sticking around, such as the background and general color scheme that I like – but quite a lot is new.

Oh, I’ve been asked about the header image — that is actually something I whipped together in Photoshop and it’s a collage of the browsers I use for testing web designs (or a good portion of them anyway). Starting clockwise if you look to the top right of the collage you’ll see the Windows family of IE’s on display, below that is Firefox on Windows, to the left is the Linux family of browsers, and finally the top left is filled with various ones like Safari, Netscape, and Flock.

In any event, I am not too disgruntled about giving in and going up to the 2.1.x series (though I really dislike some of the changes). Overall, it’s proving just as stable as previous versions – even if I am having to substitute my plugins for others that do similar things.