Hey I’m using a new WordPress theme

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image showing a screenshot of the new DougTheme 2013 with text over it.A couple of weeks ago WordPress, the blog software I use for this blog, released a new version – 3.5. It also released a new default theme called Twenty Twelve. I really wanted to use the new theme because of its mobile first rendering of pages among other things so with this post I am now using a child theme I based on Twenty Twelve called DougTheme 2013.

I’m honest when I say I have intermediate skill in using CSS and PHP for my blogs. WordPress makes it easy to learn and creating a child theme to the default theme called Twenty Twelve lets me use stuff WordPress included in the theme code while letting me tweak some items and objects so it looks how I want it.

I will be seeing how this live debut of my theme does and will be making more tweaks so if you see any thing that looks off let me know in the comments or use my contact page.

Twenty Twelve is suppose to be responsive – that means it will scale to the size of the screen viewing the page without making it look too ugly. For example the image I use at the top of my page will shrink as the screen size gets smaller and the navigation bar under the image will turn into a Menu button.

The only things I really didn’t like about the Twenty Twelve theme included a couple of the things I liked in my previous theme which was based on the previous default theme Twenty Eleven.

The “Posted on..” line below the entry title was completely removed which kind of pissed me off. WordPress said they polled some bloggers who suggested the date and author wasn’t needed to be displayed after the title unless the blog had multiple authors. Instead of giving me the option to have it or not, WordPress removed the function that printed the line from the code. Luckily I was able to recreate the function and add it to my child theme without too much trouble.

I HATE blog posts that hide the posting date of their content. There is some content that does get out of date especially information about software. I want to know right away if the information could be stale. For example when I was looking up info on how to add back the “Posted on…” information the articles from the previous theme kept coming up first in the results and many of those articles had no posted dates.

I actually get suspicious of blogs or websites where I can’t see the date of their content easily or quickly. YMMV.

The other item removed was the 3 widget areas in the footer of each page. Instead WordPress added a new page template called “Front Page” that had two widget areas in the footer but they only showed up if you used the “Front Page” template which I didn’t work for my blogs.

I liked my design with the three widget areas in the footer and I can’t understand why they didn’t make it an option to have it or not. Those footer widgets helped keep the size of my right side bar in check by letting me put other information in the footer widgets.

Fixing this WordPress mistake was harder than the “Posted on…” issue because the code used to create the widget areas in the footer was completely different than was used in Twenty Eleven. The workarounds I found on the Internet weren’t the best solution because they didn’t use the WordPress code and the widget areas I did create were treated as one giant widget area with three box areas mapped out in CSS which isn’t how the WordPress footer widget areas are treated normally.

What I did was copy and paste the code rendering the two footer widget areas in the “Front Page” template (from the file sidebar-front.php) and put that code in my child theme footer then I registered a third footer widget area in my child theme function file and added that new area to the call in the footer file. Then I used CSS to position the three separate widget areas on the page. The only real issue doing it this way was I had to assign a separate DIV ID selector for the third area and I had to treat the footer widget areas with different CSS declarations from the normal widget area CSS. It now looks pretty close to the three areas I had on the previous theme and they work really close to how they did in my Twenty Eleven theme.

There are some other minor issues like the lame color of the text with no difference between links and body text except for an underline. I know the all the cool kids dropped the old style of blue underlined links on web pages but I usually drop the underline so I needed to add some color to the text to pick out the links from the body text. I will still be working on those small issues moving forward. It looks like in the initial use of the theme on my live blog the changes to the links didn’t take… *sigh* – another issue with the new default – harder to override the default colors and styles on some of the CSS selectors.

I also took the opportunity to change the rendering of blockquotes and image captions using different colors and text styles. Well the blockquote change worked the captions didn’t *sigh*

So there it is, a lot of work went into this child theme so please like it. Please??

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