No, we’re not talking about the birds returning from the south for spring. I recently made the very difficult decision to get rid of my home-brewed site in favor of one using WordPress. While I am still very proud of the work I did previously, which included programming my own PHP5/MySQL application, the benefits of an open-source CMS certainly cannot be ignored.
Some of the features that compelled me to convert include:
- Clean separation of content from structure and presentation
- Secure administrative area for updating posts and my portfolio projects
- Hook to the LinkedIn API to pull in my resume data, instead of managing two separate profiles
- Robust system to present code examples and manage downloadable files
- Central hub for social media presence and web development interests
When it came down to it, I really couldn’t justify having two sites when all the functionality I needed could be provided by only one.
The experience was both challenging and fulfilling, and I not only have a deeper understanding and appreciation for WordPress but I also gained some insight into customizing a theme. While the process seemed daunting initially, I was surprised at how smoothly it went once it was broken down into digestible pieces.
I built on the minimalist Toolbox theme, which in addition to using many of the new semantic HTML5 elements appropriately, offers a decent number of page types and an excellent sample.css for reference. I included many of the aspects of my old layout, adjusting a number of background images for use in the page header and footer. Aspects of the Almost Spring theme that was previously applied to my standalone blog were blended in. Lastly 960.gs was included for a base grid-system to organize and standardize the layout.
Of course I still have a laundry list of features I’d still like to implement:
- improve the styling and functionality of the sidebar
- create a page to showcase my interest in photography, hooking up to flickr as well
- move away from background imagery in favor of slick CSS3 effects
convert my personal logo to a canvas or SVG elementCompleted! Thanks to the Ai→Canvas plug-in.
I also would like to go back through old posts and establish a more meaningful set of category and tag taxonomy. That, however, will require a whole different kind of thinking.
Feel free to poke around and check things out, and if you have feedback or a suggestion, you’re welcome to provide it in the comments.