Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

Modifying the RC2005 Theme for WordPress

If happened to be reading this blog between the time the last posting was published and this post, you might have seen that it used the Regulus theme.

Regulus is, by far, the best looking theme (in my opinion) on wordpress.com. It’s probably also the nicest easy three-column — it’s sometimes classified as a two-column, but just count! — theme for someone moving off to independent hosting.

The problem is that it’s not necessarily a great theme for a blog as part of larger web site.

From my experience on desiging systemicbusiness.org , and then isss.org , the easiest way to “plug in” different web-based packages is to have a top navigation bar. like Coolmenus. Apple originated the menu bar at the top of the screen with the Lisa, and then Microsoft put the menu bar at the top of each window with Windows 3.0. People seem to understand (and maybe expect this).

The way that menu bars work on web browsers is through the use of Javascript. This actually breaks the rules for XHTML compliance, as the visually-impaired can’t properly see a Javascript menu bar. On isss.org, I recommended that we conform to XHTML compliance requirements. On systemicbusiness.org (and daviding.com), I haven’t done many design changes since … probably 2002!

Thus, I spent another few hours searching the web for 3-column template with a menu bar at the top. I found one from Radical Congruency. It’s not only got the menu bar on top, but has direct links into Technorati built in. (I was having problems figuring out why someone might want to use Technorati, but now I’ve seen the light!)

The issue to me is that I really like 3-column layouts, but I like the content to be left side, and two navigation bars on the right side. This is because I read some web content on my Palm TX, and I’m tired of opening up a page, only to have to scroll down three times to get past the navigation links. With the RC2005 theme, however, even though the navigation bar is on the left, that’s not the way it shows of you don’t use the native style. (Go ahead, try it. On Firefox: View … Page Style … No Style. That’s the way the visually-impaired probably get around). For this, I think that the original developer of the RC2005 theme, Justin Baeder is a real master.

Even then, I still like to have navigation bars on the right side. From working on coevolving.com on the Relaxation theme, you might think that I had learned to stop messing around with design templates! They burn days at time, even if you’re not picking colours and image!

My personal challenge — and I’ve only seen Simon as the other person that does this — is that I keep my Windows taskbar on the right side of my desktop. (The probably comes from the old days of working with the Metaphor interface). The RC2005 theme is designed for a 1024 pixel (actually 1000 pixel) screen. If I started using RC2005, I could never see my Windows task bar!

Thus, I started looking at the Cascading Style Sheet. I don’t do this everyday, so I can fumble my way through simple CSS, but Justin has done a huge amount of microformatting. There are variances for Mozilla/Firefox, Internet Explorer and even for IE/Mac.

On the second day of working through the Cascading Style Sheet — actually changing a few characters at a time, testing, saving, and backing up, and then repeating! — I got my customizations of RC2005 to work on my browser — Firefox. Then, I happened to try Internet Explorer … and that took a while to fix. Diana’s got a OS 9 Mac, so it took me another hour to assure that. (I see that the right bar isn’t surfacing right on Opera, but I’m going to have to punt on that, for now!)

So, I thought that I could just finish up the style sheet, and change the list of sidebar options, and I’d be done. Wrong.

On closer inspection, I discovered that Justin has done something whereby he keeps WordPress categories and Technorati tags on his web site. (I can’t figure that out, but I don’t want or need to do that). I also discovered that the syndication feeds for RSS and Atom won’t drag-and-drop if only text links are provided. Thus, I had to find some alternative RSS and Atom icons.

Justin had hard-coded in absolute web addresses — which surprised me. It’s generally a better practice to use relative web addresses, so that the next person doesn’t have to muck around in code. I changed the addresses … and then WordPress couldn’t find the icons! The main page normally shows up in the top directory, but when you surf onto a single posting, it changes to the archive directory. Thus, I went back to do it Justin‘s way.

One criticism about RC2005 is that it looks really busy. One reason for this is that it surfaces Technorati tags onto the main page, and I use a lot of tags. (I try to hold the WordPress categories down to one, and sometimes two). It turns out that WordPress looks first for single.php, and if it doesn’t find it, goes for index.php. To create a main page with fewer Technorati icons, all I had to do was copy one over the other, and delete a few phrases.

I now feel that I’ve spent way too much time on this customization, but I’ve done enough modifications that I’ve retitled my version as RC2005-805. I would probably be happy to share with anyone who really wants it, but this isn’t the average download-and-upload-onto-web-site affair. The hard coding means that the user had better be comfortable with XHTML. It takes me a lot less time to change the hard-coded links to daviding.com than to think about how that would be programmed.

Now … I’ve got to replicate this theme from daviding.com to systemicbusiness.org!

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on Coevolving

    • Humanistic Principles and Social Systems Design | Douglas Austrom + Carolyn Ordowich (ST-ON 2021-05-10)
      Douglas Austrom and Carolyn Ordowich shared some reflections developed jointly with Bert Painter (Vancouver, BC) on some draft humanistic principles, the three Tavistock perspectives, and a meta-methodology with Systems Thinking Ontario. Proponents of Socio-Technical Systems design refer back to the 1960s-1980s research of Fred Emery and Eric Trist of the Tavistock Institute. Calls to reinvent […]
    • Patterns and Pattern Languages Supporting Cross-boundary Collaboration | Doug Schuler (ST-ON 2021-04-12)
      Doug Schuler joined the monthly Systems Thinking Ontario meeting for a conversation about the potential for patterns and pattern languages to help address wicked problems on a large scale, via technology, loose coordination, and social commitments. Doug was exposed to the original A Pattern Language in the mid-1970s. It aimed to generate towns and buildings […]
    • Coexploring Systems Literacy, Peter Tuddenham (ST-ON 2021-03-08)
      Literacy has been proposed as an understanding of a small number of pervasive principles appropriate to making informed personal and societal decisions. Systems literacy includes an understanding of systems that influence you, and your influence on systems. Peter Tuddenham has been leading an initiative on Systems Literacy across a variety of systems organizations, particularly with […]
    • Creative Systemic Research, Susu Nousala + Jelena Sucic (ST-ON 2021-02-08)
      The Creative Systemic Research Platform (CSRP) Institute, led by Susu Nousala and Jelena Sucic, is distinctive in approaching systemic design from a bottom-up, longitudinal perspective.  The co-presidents were able to join us in conversation at a Systems Thinking Ontario session, remotely from Finland and Switzerland, at a significant time disadvantage. Many approaches to systemic design […]
    • The Systems Movement: Engaging Communities with Traditions and Diversity, Gary S. Metcalf (ST-ON 2021-01-11)
      To appreciate how systemicists worldwide collaborate, Gary S. Metcalf joined Systems Thinking Ontario for a conversation.  Gary served as president of the International Society for the Systems Sciences 2007-2008, and of the International Federation for Sysrtems Research 2010-2016.  From 2003 to 2018, he was a graduate instructor in Organizational Systems and Research on the faculty […]
    • Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change, Peter H Jones + Ryan J A Murphy (ST-ON 2020/11/19)
      While the term “theory of change” is often used by funders expecting an outcome of systems change for their investment, is there really a theory there? The November 2020 Systems Thinking Ontario session was an opportunity for Peter H. Jones (OCADU) and Ryan J. A. Murphy (Memorial U. of Newfoundland) to extend talks that they […]
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • RSS on Ing Brief

    • Reformation and transformation (Ackoff 2003, 2010)
      In his system of system concepts, Russell Ackoff made the distinction between reformation and transformation in many of his lectures. Here are two written sources. From Redesigining Society (2003) … Systemic Transformation A system is transformed, as contrasted with reformed, when its structure or functions are changed fundamentally. Such changes are discontinuous and qualitative, quantum […]
    • Goal, objective, ideal, pursuits (Ackoff & Emery, 1972)
      While Ackoff’s definitions of goals, objectives and ideals have been republished (and rewritten) multiple times, the 1972 definitions were derived from his original dissertation work.  Accordingly, in addition to the human-readable definitions, some mathematical notation is introduced. — begin paste — OUTCOMES 2.30. End (an immediate intended outcome) of a subject A in a particular […]
    • Pure Inquiring Systems: Antiteleology | The Design of Inquiring Systems | C. West Churchman | 1971
      The fifth way of knowing, as described by West Churchman, is a Singerian inquiring system. (This fifth way of knowing is more colloquially called Unbounded Systems Thinking in Mitroff and Linstone (1993)). The book On Purposeful Systems (Ackoff and Emery, 1972) was derived by Ackoff’s dissertation that was controversially coauthored with West Churchman. Purpose can […]
    • Process-Function Ecology, Wicked Problems, Ecological Evolution | Vasishth | Spanda J | 2015
      Understanding Process-Function Ecology by Ashwani Vasishth leads to luminaries in the systems sciences, including C. West Churchman, Eugene P. Odum and Timothy F.H. Allen.
    • The Innovation Delusion | Lee Vinsel, Andrew L. Russell | 2020
      As an irony, the 2020 book, The Innovation Delusion by #LeeVinsel @STS_News + #AndrewLRussell @RussellProf shouldn’t be seen as an innovation, but an encouragement to join @The_Maintainers where an ongoing thought network can continue. The subtitle “How Our Obsession with the New has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most” recognizes actual innovation, as distinct from […]
    • Republishing on Facebook as “good for the world” or “bad for the world” (NY Times, 2020/11/24)
      An online social network reproduces content partially based on algorithms, and partially based on the judgements made by human beings. Either may be viewed as positive or negative. > The trade-offs came into focus this month [November 2020], when Facebook engineers and data scientists posted the results of a series of experiments called “P(Bad for […]
  • Meta

  • Translate

  • moments. daviding.com

    Random selections from the past year
  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal