If anything can go wrong, it will.

Small Victories

I’m by no means a professional web designer, although, I did begin university for that.

I use a “mostly” WYSIWYG program for creating WordPress themes, though, and I have a lot of fun with it, most of the time.

Today has been one of those days where I’m definitely not having fun.

All that I wanted to do was make a small graphic to be used as a post divider. The graphic itself was easy, but managing to insert it in such a manner that it automatically follows each post in my theme, but only on the primary posts page, has been a nightmare.

I know how to work with CSS. So, doing it that way shouldn’t have really been an issue, except for the way that the program I use lays everything out. The CSS class that defines the layout of posts also appears in various other locations, such as the divs that category archive titles are in and after the navigation on single posts.  If I attempted to put the graphic in that way, I wound up with this little swirly image all over the place!

As a result, I have now butchered this theme about 46 times, and mangled the template pages for the software I use beyond all recognition. (Thank goodness I have been clever enough to back it all up!)

So, why don’t I just do the coding myself? Well, because that’s not the part of designing WP themes that I actually like. It’s the visual elements of web design that I enjoy, and really, the part I feel I’m better at. Ugh. CSS and HTML kind of make me want to tear my hair out, whereas, creating the graphics in Photoshop is enjoyable and even relaxing.

I really do love playing around at theme design, but, as someone who is really just playing, could you please, for the love of all that is holy, provide me with more options and less restriction?

On a happy note, though, I did manage to achieve my goal… after hours and hours of searching for answers in the support documentation, and pouring through more PHP files than I can count.

4 Responses to Small Victories

  • I’ve never tried PHP on WordPress and don’t think my basic, free theme allows it, anyway. I have found, however, that it doesn’t always interpret HTML correctly. When I changed mt theme I have to rewrite a lot of posts because the HTML that had been perfectly OK before was now behaving badly.
    I don’t possess your level of skill, anyway, and would not try to edit the code of the theme so good luck with that!

    • One of the reasons that I’m running self-hosted WordPress is because I really, really love playing with the design, and I like a lot more control than even allowing custom CSS on WordPress.com provides.

      I actually am not putting a whole lot of skill to use, just bull-headed persistence with editing generated and/or provided templates & files. I use a program for WP themes called Artisteer, which can help you create perfectly lovely themes without tweaking the core files.

      • Yes, I wasn’t sure whether you were using wp.org or had gone Premium. I know that self-hosted has more facilities, including such things as plugins.
        If it can be done with HTML (and WP allows it), I can do it – see for example my sidebar where I have replaced most of the special-purpose widgets with text widgets containing (simple!) HTML code.
        I used to be an avid coder (I taught beginners’ programming in a polytechnic for a number of years) but the fire in my belly has gone out. I prefer the easy life these days! It’s nice to see enthusiastic people giving it a whirl, though.

        • I’m enthusiastic, to a point.

          I used to do all of this “by hand”, with just Notepad. (Well, the coding bits, not the graphics of course.) I can definitely understand how the fire in your belly can go out for some things.

          It’s amazing how easily one can lose knowledge they aren’t actively using, too! That’s a lot of why I’m struggling now, and celebrating the small victories.

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