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New Theme: Inquisitor
15th Feb, 2010

This is the new theme for this blog and my main website. My aim is to merge the two. This theme is a complete re-write from scratch; I first created the template for the main site and then adapted it to a WordPress theme. I named this theme ‘Inquisitor’ after the fact looks like a giant ‘I’ (I was going to call it simply ‘I’, but thought better of it). Its style draws heavily from the main site, with a few touches from the old ‘Philverse’ theme, all pulled together and streamlined for a more utilitarian look. The familiar ‘drop cap titles’ are carried over, mixing old manuscript and modern typography which seems appropriate for 40K, combined with clearer layout. Browsers have come a long way, it was much easier to create the drop caps, so a lot of Div tags and what-nots have be ripped out. A lot lighter and quicker.

The layout is not quite the same as the old blog as I removed the side bar, and all tracking information will be moved to a separate pages. I will add an archives page, and recent comments page later. My goal is to use this blog purely as a ‘news page’. I will update the main site later, once all the quirks have been ironed out here, with the updated theme.

As with all new developments on my site, they are designed to make it easier to get around and view, so I am very interested to hear what you think.

15 Responses

Hearing feedback is very important to me in developing my ideas. Much of my designs are inspired, and crafted, by chatting to fans on forums before snowballing into a full concept you'll find here. I would like to thank all those who have contributed critiques and participated in discussions over the years, and I would especially like to thank all those who commented on this specific topic. If you would like join in you are most welcome!

  1. Kage2020 says:

    Seems much the same as the old one, Phil, but perhaps I haven’t spent that much time looking at. With that said, you might want to do something about the darkness of the grey on the “ul” of your navigation menu…

    Kage

    PS: Still stay that you need to explore a different CMS, as we’ve discussed in the past.

    • Philip S says:

      I wanted to preserve some of the character of the old theme: more an evolution of a theme, than a radical design. (I quite like the understated dark grey for the menu ;))

      I have a looked at a few other CMS – but WordPress is so easy to use (or I’m so used to it) and it does the job I want it to do. I even considered changing all the main site pages into WordPress pages to allow commenting on all of them.

      The most interesting of the other CMS was Drupal, but I found the v6 architecture to be messy. I may look at Drupal again when v7 rolls around, as some of the proposed features and architecture changes sound promising. If I like v7 I may use it as an excuse to experiment and build the ‘Spheres of War‘ website using it, or I may use BuddyPress with bbPress.

      • Kage2020 says:

        Philip S said:I wanted to preserve some of the character of the old theme: more an evolution of a theme, than a radical design. (I quite like the understated dark grey for the menu )

        I prefer being able to see it, but that’s just me. I tend not to use the majority of it, so whatever works for you. Just pointing out that it is hard to read.

        Philip S said:I have a looked at a few other CMS – but WordPress is so easy to use (or I’m so used to it) and it does the job I want it to do.

        Then leave it like that, then! 😀

        Philip S said:The most interesting of the other CMS was Drupal, but I found the v6 architecture to be messy.

        I think that “user unfriendly” might be the more appropriate term, but that might be just me again.

        Kage

        • Philip S says:

          The menu items light up if you hover your mouse over them, and they should be very easy to read. I want the menu out of the way; the site is being designed with a step-by-step walk through concept. The menu is there for the old hands who know their way around, and returning visitors.

          As for Drupal, I said mess and meant ‘mess’. I think it come from the weight of too much legacy, but v7 will hopefully address that (or maybe I’m spoilt by WordPress’ simplicity?). As an aside, and in addition to my previous comment, I see ‘user unfriendly’ as ‘bad design’. In the open source community this often stems from a mishmash of approaches. There a lot of great pieces of software that suffer because they are ‘quirky’. A CMS is specifically designed for the end user, and one of Drupal’s aims is to allow customisation, so it should be part of the design to make it easy to use and standards compliant. I get the impression, after visiting their site, that they know this, and moving to address the issue of ease of use. I will wait until the dust settles.

          WordPress is not really a CMS, but it has become one of the most popular as it’s ‘easy to use’. In truth it is not that easy to design a theme, but it does have a good underlying ethos and a lot of code is wrapped up in nice blocks for easy management and design.

          • Kage2020 says:

            Philip S said:The menu items light up if you hover your mouse over them, and they should be very easy to read.

            You’ve got to know that they’re there in the first place Phil. You are, however, the artist.

            Philip S said:As for Drupal, I said mess and meant ‘mess’. I think it come from the weight of too much legacy, but v7 will hopefully address that…

            I haven’t found that, but then again I’m still using Drupal 5.x so that I can develop the organic group functionality.

            Philip S said:…or maybe I’m spoilt by WordPress’ simplicity?).

            I wouldn’t be surprised. But then again, if that’s all you need then there’s no point going for something more complex. I’m using Drupal because it just happens to fit the purposes of the re-visioned Anargo Sector Project, which is a tad more complex in concept than what you seem to be want with your site.

            There was a healthy dose of leg-pulling in there.

            Philip S said:As an aside, and in addition to my previous comment, I see ‘user unfriendly’ as ‘bad design’.

            Hence my comment about your header menu. Very “user unfriendly.”

            Philip S said:WordPress is not really a CMS…

            It is—just a very lite one.

            Kage

            • Philip S says:

              Touché on the menu, I suppose I could mess with my artistic vision… How’s that?

              I don’t dislike Drupal, on the contrary is pretty nice, but it’s about to change; so I will invest my time later. As I mentioned before, I am considering it for a later website (once I finish up the rules for WarSpike – if I ever get time) but WordPress MU + BuddyPress + bbPress combo may win out due to the functionality. Drupal has some nice collaborative project tools though, but this may be replicated with a plugin in WordPress. I suppose it’s not merely a case of best tools for the job, but also which ones I am best at, and which are easier for the end user once it’s done.

              How’s the Anargo Project going?

              PS: Taking of easier to use, I changed the block-quote with cite (do you prefer the look of the bold tag for the name?). Would you like a single click ‘quote’ like on a forum?

              • Kage2020 says:

                Philip S said:Touché on the menu, I suppose I could mess with my artistic vision… How’s that?

                Much better. The problem with the strong quote tag is that it detracted from the quote itself. This way is much more appropriate, at least in my mind.

                Philip S said:I don’t dislike Drupal, on the contrary is pretty nice, but it’s about to change…

                Aye, unfortunately that’s an argument that has long since dogged my own approach. Suffice to say that I’m going to turn this upside down. I’ll work with the older version, get used to the work arounds and all the nasty glitches, and then see how it improves as they release the modules that I’m interested in for the purposes of functionality.

                Philip S said:Drupal has some nice collaborative project tools though, but this may be replicated with a plugin in WordPress.

                I’m not sure that WordPress has the same functionality, but I may be wrong. I’ve only used it for ‘blogging and then only because my company wouldn’t allow me to explore the use of more advanced software. Then again, they also have me hand-coded CSS/HTML when I would much rather be working with a CMS or even a more inspired approach to the hand-coding… but there we go.

                This is what happens when the Communication department is put in charge of something other than press releases. 😉

                Philip S says:I suppose it’s not merely a case of best tools for the job, but also which ones I am best at, and which are easier for the end user once it’s done.

                Most certainly.

                Philip S says:How’s the Anargo Project going?

                Slowly, but surely this time, I think. We’re getting rid of most of the junk that had accumulated because of multiple visions over several years, so it should be on a stronger footing when it gets going. Of course, we’re going to have to build it up again, but such is the way of these things.

                Philip S says:PS: Taking of easier to use, I changed the block-quote with cite (do you prefer the look of the bold tag for the name?). Would you like a single click ‘quote’ like on a forum?

                Much nicer (and nice use of XML). I’m sure that other people would like the single-click, but to be honest I don’t mind the HTML coding as I go along.

                Kage

                • Philip S says:

                  You do pretty much anything with WordPress these days thanks to plugins, even a full social network site (BuddyPress allows each member to have their own blog, members can form group and each group can have it’s own forums (via bbPress integration), and all activity can be aggregated to the front page – pretty powerful stuff).

                  Much nicer (and nice use of XML). I’m sure that other people would like the single-click, but to be honest I don’t mind the HTML coding as I go along.

                  As an experiment I’ve changed the comment box to an easier to use WYSIWYG editor. I’m trying to work out if their is a hidden html editor option as many fans who post on forums and are no scared of a little code (and it’s handy to trouble shoot). It also seems to be missing the ‘cite’ tag, but I suppose as the comments are nested it doesn’t matter too much (though an irritation is quoting an external source, so I’ll see if anything can be done.).This little editor seems quite nice though, it uses WordPress’ built in TinyMCE editor, and has quite a few functions. You can even resize this text area by dragging the lower right corner.

                  Update: I found a little html tag that pops up a window with raw code.

  2. Kage2020 says:

    Argh, I hate TinyMCE!  Sure, I know why most people like to use them, but… Arrgggh!  It is the bane of my existence when having to deal with the work ‘blog and constantly going into the “hack” the formatting so that it looks like a half competent person laid it out.

    I also miss the “see as you type” thing.  Sure, it got kind of annoying when you wrote over a certain amount, but it was fun. 😀

    As to WordPress, that’s great to know.  I’ve got a feeling that I’m going to suffer through Drupal.  It just seems to have all the functionality that I need along with the extensibility already in the box.  But, hey, different strokes and all. 😀

    Kage

    • Philip S says:

      LOL, I didn’t now you hated it so much! 😀

      WordPress has the option of html editor with formatting buttons if you do not like TinyMCE editor. I often use that to correct code, and anything complicated I write in Dreamweaver and paste it in.

      Getting back to the TinyMCE in this reply box: there is a little html button on the end of the tool bar that pops up a raw html code editor window – it doesn’t have any quick formatting buttons though, but if you need to get under the hood then that’s the way to do it (it’s not total freedom as WordPress+Plugin will rip out any image tags and anything else it deems a security risk).

      I’m still looking around at the plugins, I even found one called ‘click quote‘ that looks interesting, but that may end up on the WarSpike blog so people can grab whole paragraphs of rules and drop them in the reply text area. I also like the look of comment remix, but that seems to come with too much extra stuff and is a little old (I’ll hunt around for something similar). Nothing is set in stone.

      • Kage2020 says:

        I’ve seen the button.  The HTML interface is not friendly, since it requires a lot of copy pasting with the inline styles.

        Meh, whatever works for you.  It’s not particularly user-friendly for discussion, which is something that I think that FFG got slated for in their otherwise cool concept “community” website.

        But there we go.  Guess I shall see what you have to say in your next ‘blog post. 😀

        Kage

        • Philip S says:

          It’s a little easier to use than FFG! I see what you mean though, many who post here are well used to forums, and a similar interface to a forum would be familiar. Perhaps that’s a plugin that mimics that?

  3. IvK says:

    Looks very similar to the old one, by the way Kage2020 will Anargo Sector Project be revived or are there any current plans for this. I would like to join the forums on the Anargo site.

    • Philip S says:

      Sure does. I’ll post a comparison as even I quickly forget what it used to looks :p

      As for Anargo, I believe Kage is busy sorting out the new site.

  4. Kage2020 says:

    I’m in a funk with regards to the 40k universe.  It seems that my inspiration for the setting is directly tied to (what I consider to be) interesting discussion on the forums, and, well, it’s all been rather quiet at the moment.  That and I’m working simultaneously on Servants of the Imperium (my own version of Dark Heresy that includes all the information that should have been included in that game), Adeptus Mechanicus (a short supplement expanding the information on them), and Legiones Astartes (or basically what Deathwatch is meant to cover).

    The goal is to get the last one out before August. 😀

    Erm, but, yes.  As Phil says Anargo is meant to be coming together.  I’m essentially the “nerd” that is trying to put together the site (with Drupal) so that, while perhaps  a bit less pretty to start with, it’s also more geared towards people adding content.  Erm, and that’s about all for now.

    (BTW, Phil.  It’s still bloomin’ annoying to have to use the HTML mode, but at least it’s now stripped out the style information!)

    Kage

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