For my new stamp blog, I looked for a highly visual layout, and came across The Unstandard, a WordPress theme that influenced others. The basic idea is that each blog post is represented by a single image in the index pages (i.e. the home, archive, category, tag and search result pages), instead of being inserted in full or as an excerpt, as most themes do. Since I aimed for the blog to somehow mimic a stamp album, having index pages display just stamp images was ideal.
The theme is very easy to use. When writing each post, add two custom fields, named
secondary_image. The value of each field is the URL of an image, which can be external to your site or have been previously uploaded. The larger lead image will appear at the top of your blog post, while the smaller secondary image will appear in the index pages. The theme automatically crops the images to the dimensions needed. This means you can use the same URL for both custom fields, which is what I do in my stamp blog: each post is about a group of stamps and I select one of them to be featured both in the post header and in the index pages. I think that using the same image is better, because it provides ‘navigational continuity’ when the blog visitors select a post from an index page. The theme demo site also uses the same images for post headers and index pages. The theme crops the images by selecting the central part and enlarging to the required ratio. This usually works fine, but occasionally the relevant part of the image is not in the middle. In those cases you have to crop your images on your computer (593 x 225 pixels for the lead image and 293 x 150 pixels for the secondary image) and then upload them.
Version 1.2.1 of the theme has some problems, and to fix them I had to find my way through the PHP and CSS files in the Appearance>Editor administration panel. Here is a list of the problems, my fixes, and the solutions I’d like to see in the next release of the theme, in the hope it’s useful for other users of this great theme.
- Problem: Clicking the ‘About’ button at the top of each page doesn’t do anything.
Solution: This change should be part of the next version, so that at least there is an error message if the user hasn’t created the ‘About’ page.
- Problem: Categories are shown in multiple columns at the bottom of each post. I prefer them on the sidebar, using the usual categories widget.
Fix: In files
index.phpdelete the line of code that includes the
Solution: Create a theme option that allows to turn categories at the bottom on or off.
- Problem: HTML tags like
<em>are ignored, forcing one to use the HTML editor to write posts, in order to use alternative HTML tags like
Fix: Delete those tags in
reset.css, so that their default behaviour is in effect.
Solution: I’m not a CSS expert, so there may be a better way to do it.
- Problem: The blog’s tagline is not shown below the blog’s name.
Fix: Insert a PHP call to
Solution: Do proper styling of the tagline.
- Problem: The number of comments is superposed on the secondary images. This obscures them and doesn’t look good if most posts have no comments.
Fix: Delete the
Solution: Provide a theme option that allows this feature to be turned on or off.
- Problem: The date format of a post is hard-wired to
'M jS Y'(e.g. ‘Aug 31st 1999′).
Fix: Changed it to
'j F Y'(i.e. ’31 August 1999′) in
Solution: Ideally, the theme would automatically pick up the format chosen in the Settings>General administration panel.
- Problem: If a blog post hasn’t been tagged, the box below the post will just state ‘This post has been tagged’, because it assumes a list of tags will follow.
single.php, change the text within the
for-tagsparagraph to the following (note the punctuation and spacing)
This post is <?php if (!get_the_tag_list()) echo 'not'; ?> tagged<?php the_tags(' ', ', ', ''); ?>.
I also did another small change to the theme, which is a matter of taste: in
style.css I reduced the opacity of the title box over the stamp images from 80% to 70%.