Southend Linux User Group

Switch to SoSLUG custom theme

The Benfleet theme

The theme of the development site up to now was based on the WordPress twenty thirteen theme. Behind the scenes work has been going on to develop our own custom theme and although the theme is still in development, the site has now been switched over to this new (Benfleet) theme. A few tweaks to fix some obvious errors, the change has been made to facilitate testing, and to invite comments from other members of SoSLUG.

The theme is a responsive design, enabling the site to be viewed on a range of devices, including mobiles. The home page is the only page that incorporates a sidebar. This shows the most recent posts, while a single drop down menu provides access to the static page content. On all other pages, the content takes up the whole width of the screen.

WordPress describes posts as (short) mostly stand alone articles, that are ordered by date; i.e. the latest first. Typically posts may refer to events, news items etc.

Pages on the other hand are organised by content. Typically pages may consist of tutorials, How to’s, FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions), or other reference material. This may run to many pages, and is intended to be read in a given order; in the same way you might read any technical book. As a general rule, the deeper you are in the menu structure, the more specific the information will be.

Since the main menu divides the site into different areas, one feature of the new design is that each topic area will have its own header banner, acting as a visual navigation clue.

Another significant advantage is a wysiwyg editor. It’s no longer necessary for authors to understand HTML, or CSS, although it helps if you do. If you can drive a word processor, then you are a potential site author.

At the bottom of all pages is a footer, that is currently divided into two main (widget) areas. The left hand area enables an authorised user to log in. The second area is current empty, but might be used for example, to provide a link to recent posts.

Ongoing development

More work is still needed on the theme itself, in particular to the organisation of posts, but also to add a few more bells and whistles, and fix any bugs that are found.

The menu structure for the static content is now perhaps the main focus of attention, and the addition of a breadcrumb trail, along with a taxonomy to facilitate navigation. After that, there is the issue of what to do with legacy data, much of which will probably need editing, to ensure it meets the criteria of a responsive design.

Author: Alan Campion - Page reference: 3094
Last modified: Alan Campion - 2015-02-20

Categories: Project Tags: , ,

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