New Blog Layout and New Intrepidity Theme Changes

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intrepidity wordpress themeSo I’ve bitten the bullet finally, and changed my blog layout. For those of you repeated visitors I’m sure you noticed, for the rest of you who are new to my site, it’s worth saying that the old theme has been on my blog since its inception — which is a few good years back, so needless to say I was sort of fed up with it 🙂

As you do in such cases, you browse around the WordPress Theme Gallery and finally I came across Intrepidity theme by Top Blog Formula — it looks clean and neat so I installed it right away and started configuring it. I loved it right away, but found a few areas of improvement. So I’ve put on my WordPress/PHP hat, created a GitHub repo and started hacking away at it! 🙂 The result is right in front of you, as I’ve installed the changes I’ve operated right on my blog!

As a side note, I’m still waiting for the folks at Top Blog Formula to reply to me and see if they have a public repo somewhere with their theme so I can merge my changes in (if they like them) — and as and when that happens I’ll update this post and the GitHub repo with notes about where to find the updated (and official) version of this theme. Meanwhile though, this is only available from my (public) GitHub repo here:

I’m currently at version 1.1 with this theme and you can see in the history of the project the changes I’ve operated, if you’re a github’er. However, I’m going to list them briefly here to make it easier for peeps who are looking for updates to this theme:

  1. Fix the issues with showing social media icons — in the original theme only Twitter is showing properly. Also added an icon for LinkedIn
  2. Copyright notice in the footer was a bit messed up, added spacing and what-not to make it look a bit better
  3. favicon.ico : this is one of the things that all themes seem to be guilty of, as they all want to reference an icon in the theme directory, completely forgetting the fact that most websites already have a branding icon, in the root folder of the website! As such, I think all themes should reference the icon in the root folder of the application and keep the branding, regardless of the theme (which by the way can be changed occasionally, which would mean the icon disappears too).
  4. With the theme showing by default the categories and tags for each post, the front page / home page can look overloaded at times, so I’ve added a config switch to allow to show these all the time, only on post pages or on front page only — as well as disabling this entirely. In the case of my blog, only showing these on the post pages makes the front page less cluttered.
  5. Added a config switch to turn on/off showing the author. This to me doesn’t make sense to show on a single person blog — it’s perfectly fine for a company blog where multiple authors contribute content, but for something like my blog it made no sense to show the author since it’s always, invariably, me! Again, this helps a lot with having the front page less cluttered.
  6. I like the theme as I said, and as such I can totally see why they insist on having a hard-coded “Theme By …” in the footer, however, this is not really in the spirit of free stuff on the net; I think it makes more sense to give the user the choice whether to show or not such notices on their blog, so I added a switch for it.
  7. I was also a bit not too pleased about the choice of colors and fonts for the heading at the top of the page (blog name and tag line) so I’ve added configuration options for those. As you can see on my blog, I’ve changed the blog name color to a (nicer, I think) green.

There are also a couple of more technical changes in the code, which — for those of you interested in hacking PHP — can easily be spotted on GitHub, so I won’t go into details about those.

Last but not least, this is work in progress, so if you have any suggestions about changes to be operated on this theme, drop me a line or get in touch with me on GitHub or log an issue against the repo.