The Peninsula Reloaded
For those of you reading this, the update went successfully and I have now transferred to my new host (not because I was unhappy with the last, just that I have a reseller I wasn't fully utilising so it seemed daft to pay for a separate account -- my previous hosts were excellent, uptime was good and they even sorted me out with a special account as I didn't need all of their basic one).
As I was going to have to move anyway, I decided to change my blogging software. The reason was that, despite WordPress being excellent, it didn't offer the flexibility to use things like static pages or custom layouts. My previous incarnation had an index.php file that was hacked to buggery to get it to work even near right.
I was going to move to Textpattern, a full-on CMS that I've been playing with. I even amended a little importer tool to allow me to drag everything out of WP easier. Then I thought I'd download a copy of WP 1.3 and have a look. I knew pages were something they were adding, as was theme support. Well, even though it was an alpha release, it looked like it would do the job just perfectly. After finding out more about themes, I was even happier -- because of the separation I could easily upgrade without worry of how my custom files would be affected.
While moving I thought I'd give the site a redesign into the process.
To say I was impressed with WP 1.3 is something of an understatement. It's a wonder, I can't believe it's only an alpha release. Pages are superb and do exactly what most people will want them for: creating static content like 'about' pages and contact forms. Themes are a wonder. They allow you to create custom versions of the stylesheet, headers, footers, everything, plus you can have templates for things like archives, pages and categories so you can tailor the look. And switching between them is a snap.
I'd just like to say that 1.3 looks to be an excellent piece of work, thanks to all the devlopers and team at WP and I'd also like to thank Michael and Ryan Boren for the 1.3 kubrick theme which helped me out when I was trying to figure which tags I could use to do certain things.
The new look is designed to put the posts at the forefront, I figured those people who actually visit the site (i.e. not via RSS feeds) are probably either a) only interested in the latest post or, b) have been linked direct to a post from another site or google, so I focused on that, and then let the archives or search page take care of anyone who wants to have a look about. I was looking more for a usability update, with the emphasis being on the way people use the site and how I publish. I don't have lots of bloglinks or what-not piled down the left or right, so what was the point having it there at all? Instead, archive links are kept on the archive pages and links on the externals page, everything is split up logically and doesn't interfere where it's not needed, and it avoids overwhelming people with information or very long pages because the side column is jam packed. Hopefully it works.
The design is sort of finished (forever tinkering) and I'd like to think I've thought of most things and tested them, but I'm only human, so if you see an error page or spot a mistake or something missing, please drop me a line.