I’ve spent a bit of time on my websites over the last few weeks. It was partly instigated by my deleting some themes on my server that I thought weren’t in use, but actually were! :O
Of course I had backups, but when I restored them they didn’t work immediately, and rather than fluff about I decided to just change things up.
I’ve got a number of sites:
- This blog
- Kristarella Studios: portfolio & skins
- Crafty Kristarella
I previously wrote about my theme experiments on my blog and how I thought it might be fun to develop the design live… I’ve been a fan of simplicity and large text for a while and in the end I also thought, why does a desktop theme have to be so different to a mobile theme? I decided it doesn’t, and so my theme (child theme of Genesis called Dare, because I dared to send it live before it looked pretty!) is almost the same on desktop and mobile; on larger browsers the menu is open by default and at smaller sizes it is closed by default.
I moved the Studio site over to the same child theme as my blog, which seemed appropriate as they’ve always sort of been two sides of the same coin.
I hadn’t updated my photoblog in 21 months! But I’ve now been updating it just about every day; mostly with photos I’ve taken on my phone over the last year or so. You’ll get a fair overview of my life on the photoblog!
I’ve also brought over my craft blog from Tumblr to WordPress. Initially I put it on Tumblr because I found it easier to post from my phone. However, with a number of iPhone-related improvements it’s now super easy to post photos taken with my phone. Those improvements include the automatic backup/upload of photos with the Dropbox iOS app, and updates to the WordPress iOS app, like adding featured images. Now it’s easy to publish photos straight from the iPhone, or from my computer where my phone photos automagically appear in my Dropbox folder!
On Crafty Kristarella I’m using a modified version of Minimum Pro, a Genesis child theme. I initially chose to use it because it was one of 2 child themes I’d purchased (although now I have access to all the Genesis themes!) and I thought the giant header image would suit a visually based subject. Despite the vaguely frivolous choice, it seems a rather serendipitous choice because I love the way it turned out! I’m also using a plugin on there called Post Thumbnail Editor to crop the grid thumbnail when needed; with such narrow thumbnails the middle of an image is not always the best representation of the item depicted.
You might have noticed that those changes resulted in all my sites using Genesis… This doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on Thesis. In fact, the more I use Thesis 2.1 the more I like it (particularly compared to other themes with a visual page builder). I will write another post about my experiences and thoughts on Thesis 2.1. What using Genesis does mean is that over the last year I have broadened my interests and expertise with many aspects of WordPress, and Genesis was super easy to implement on my site network.
The way Genesis works is right in line with what I enjoyed most about Thesis 1: a solid framework, flexibility, hooks, filters and CSS. I love being able to make big changes with tiny code. And it works perfectly with multisite (not sure yet if the same is true with Thesis 2).
Training & meetups
Part of the reason for the broadening of my skills is that I have become a co-organiser for the WordPress Sydney meetup group, which has given me the opportunity to work more with local clients and chat with local WordPress users and developers. I have also been teaching small classes of adults how to use WordPress, which has required me to explore more themes and plugins than I probably ever would have otherwise.
The right tool for the job
All of this broadening has led me to a greater appreciation for the variety of tools (themes and plugins and other services) available for WordPress and I’m a big fan of the community aspect of the WordPress project. I always knew that different themes and plugins would lend themselves to different jobs, and I accepted that as a Thesis expert I wouldn’t necessarily be the right person for every job. These days I consider myself more of a WordPress expert and am happy to use whichever tools will make a website work at its best (or the best tools within the budget).
I’ve had Exifography in the WordPress plugin directory for a while now. I recently released an update with some small improvements and bug fixes.
Still on the roadmap is:
- A visual interface for ordering items (it can currently be accomplished with a PHP filter)
- Showing multiple images on a map
- Showing the lens used
- Showing EXIF in image captions (if I can find a theme agnostic way to do so)
I recently released a plugin called Taxonomy Converter, which can copy or convert terms from one category to another. That includes categories to tags, tags to categories and terms between any custom taxonomies you have active on your site.
The plugin is an extension or rewrite of the Category to Tag converter that is available in the Import section of the WordPress Tools menu.
Post Table of Contents
I also have in development a plugin to display data from WordPress on a map. This includes users’ locations, images that have geodata, etc. I have a large chunk of the plugin written, but I was interrupted by technical issues and more pressing work. Not sure when it will be done, but if you have requests for particular items that you want to map let me know!
If you’d like to subscribe to all sites at once you can do that with the network RSS feed, but each site still has its own feed as well.
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