I have been working on a new WordPress theme for use at Middlebury. I wanted to create a flexible theme that could be used for a variety of sites or could be used to evolve a small simple site into a larger more complex one. I also wanted to create a theme with options similar to those found in Segue, to encourage Segue users to try out WordPress.
Variations on a theme
The default settings for this theme will likely be similar to those of the Kubrick theme, the current default WordPress theme (named after the the theme creator’s favorite director, Stanley Kubrick). While the Kubrick theme is a great design, it’s a shame you can’t tweak it much beyond changing the header font and gradient color. So the theme I am developing has options for changing the color of the background, header, sidebars, links and text.
As well, I am working on options for setting the overall width of the site (or choosing to make it variable) and the width of the sidebars. The default theme only has a right sidebar so I’ve also added an option for including a left sidebar.
Rethinking WordPress Meta
There is no consistent way to log into a WordPress blog nor to find out what you can do on a given blog. Most WordPress sites include a “Meta” widget in the sidebar with links to “Log in” and “Site Admin.” You won’t know definitively what you can do on the site until you click on the “Site Admin” link and look around the dashboard.
The theme I am developing puts this “meta” information in the top right corner of the site in the background area (which seems like a good place for “meta” kinds of things…). Thus all sites that use this theme will have the log in link in the same place. In addition, after you have logged in, many of the common actions you might want to do on the site will appear in the same area (along with your name, to assure you of who you are). If you are an administrator of the site, you’ll see links to post, edit, users, widgets and themes. If you have been given the role of author on the site, you’ll simple see a link to post.
I really like the way Google includes links to their suite of applications in the upper left corner allowing you to quickly jump from mail to calendar to docs…etc. I’ve done the same with this theme, currently including links to Segue, WordPress and Measure.
Submitted by Alex Chapin