nature theme released

Skinning and designing Serendipity (CSS, HTML, Smarty)
carl_galloway
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Post by carl_galloway » Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:06 pm

CosTa, I understand you perfectly, and I agree completely. Some of the plugins and themes are fairly old, possibly not used often so their problems aren't dealt with because the few users don't ask for updates. What needs t happen is you, me , Don, Dave, and all the other theme designers need to go through each plugin and every bit of the code output for Serendipity, we need to find the problems, and we need to let Garvin and the developers know what bugs us. My experience is that Garvin will happily change something if it makes sense and if we find a solution that is also backwards compatible.

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Don Chambers
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Post by Don Chambers » Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:29 pm

WHOA!!! Wait a minute there Carl... I'm certainly no s9y "theme designer"!! :shock: I hate to keep reminding everyone, but a month or so ago, I had never heard the terms "blog", "css" "style" "php", etc. I was just a man on a mission, and find this stuff reasonably easy to understand. What I created is for an audience of maybe a hundred people. I doubt anyone has, or ever will, subscribe to the feeds. But I did it as a learning experience, and I keep tweaking it here and there. But once again, I am no expert!!!

Now that I have that out of the way, let me add my 2 cents on the plugins. Is there a minimum standard people are following? For instance, I would love all plugins to have the ability to change their title, or suppress it altogether, like the HTML nugget does.

I like the CSS commentary, but didn't realize it could seriously degrade s9y performance. Is it really that bad? Having the comments included in the css is great when using something like the firefox extension "edit css" (thanks for introducing me to that Garvin!).

Part of my confusion the css styles I am using, vs the ones other themes use, is that I started with the default template. It does not use a lot of styles used by other themes. I'm sure that template will look a lot different in the next release, but until that happens, it means that my custom template would not work on a lot of other sites simply because it is missing so many styles. Maybe ALL style sheets should have ALL s9y styles, whether used in a given template or not.

Off topic: - I posted a new thread in the "general" section a little while ago entitled "s9y or other CMS". I would appreciate it if Carl, Garvin, CoSTa, and anyone else had a look at it. You guys are actively improving s9y and probably have relevant ideas to my topic.

Finally - CoSTa - your English is just fine! My wife is only 2nd generation US citizen, with both sets of grandparents emigrating from Poland. I just love it when we go to her parents for dinner! Yummy polish food! :lol:

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Post by carl_galloway » Sat Mar 04, 2006 3:46 am

Don, you may not consider yourself a theme designer, and maybe you do still need help, but your graphics are so superb, and some of us can't wait to see what you'll be able to contribute to the themes repository, and even if you don't, your site is still an inspiration to other users who may look at my designs for example and hate them, and then think that Serendipity can't be used to produce visually exciting themes. That would be a shame because Serendipity is amazing. Even if all you do is make comments in these forums and allow other users to see what you do on your blog it does still make a big difference, you're part of the community. One other point, the fact that you've only be doing this for a month should be even more encouragement to new users who want to customise their own theme - just shows how wonderful Serendipity is :D

As for the size of the stylesheet, most comments like my commented default stylesheet don't make much of a problem, but some of us prefer to keep things as small and neat as we can because the world isn't equal and some visitors to our blogs may still be using slow dialup connections. I'm sure the developers can shed more light on the actual performance overhead and I'm sure they'll also agree with me that if a comment doesn't need to be there that it shouldn't be.

Minimum standards on plugins, not yet, although Garvin does like to take a look at them before they are included just to make sure they aren't going to break anything.

Don, is their any chance your wife would be willing to translate a couple of short tutorials or any of the documentation on the s9y.org website. If she's willing that would be really incredible - on the other hand if you think she would prefer not to, then please just tell me to find someone else, I don't want to offend her in any way.

Carl

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Don Chambers
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Post by Don Chambers » Sat Mar 04, 2006 4:59 am

Carl - your words are too kind. :oops: If you keep talking like that, I might develop more of an ego than I already have! :lol:

You, and many others, have helped me a great deal, and for that, I am sincerely greatful. If there is anything I can do to return the favor, you can bet I will. I would be happy to take what I have done thus far and turn it into a theme (with your help!).... I just do not know how to go about it. I have nowhere to really test it other than my own site. Many of my site's specific features and graphics could be removed, but I cannot afford to hinder my current site in favor of a template experiece. However, my site is all about a specific event that will occur at the end of next month. After that, the site will go dead for many months. Perhaps that is the time to modify everything into a generic theme.

I'm glad you like the graphics, but to be honest, the graphics are really just the result of various other sites I happened to see and like. I discovered that many of these graphically sophisticated sites use Adobe photoshop, and I just happened to have photoshop for photo editing. I had never "drawn" anything before, but investigated a few tutorials, and produced what you now see. There are some brilliant designers out there - trust me, I am not one of them. I am more of a chameleon.... I find something l like, then I find a way to reproduce it. You might have heard the expression of "immitation is the sincerest form of flattery"... and if so, that describes me in terms of design, and coding.

The single most impressive thing about this s9y community to me is the degree to which people are willing to help each other. Garvin and the balance of the developers are producing a helluva product. Users like you, Judebert, CoSTa, and others, offer their input without hessitation. I have to tell you - that establishes a lot of credibility with me.

I need to learn more of this. As it is, I am trying to reinvent my skillset as I need to take that skillset back to the marketplace soon, having been absent for a few years taking care of my children. You might find that our backgrounds are not too different, but this message is not the place to go into that. Perhaps I should learn to speak and write the Italian language! :lol: so we have another common interest!!!

S9Y is a great tool.... the people behind it are what make the difference. I have very limited experience, but from my noobie perspective, I have NEVER run across a more dedicated group of developers and users.

Final note - I'm really hoping some of you, whose opinions I really respect, will comment on my post in the general section regarding s9y or other cms. That project has personal value to me, and I need input from those of you with significantly greater talent than I.

Ooops - one other final thing!! The USA is the great melting pot, so they say. In previous generations, many immigrants made it a priority to adopy an American way of life, including language. My wife's grandparents were among those. Her parents can still speak and write in the Polish language, but my wife cannot. She understands a few expressions, but as she has explained it to me, her parents and grandparents were adament: "if we live in America, we act and speak like Americans". I, for one, wish her parents would have softened that stance to the point of making sure she understood her heritage and language... not to the point of insisting upon it, as we see so often now with spanish, but just to preserve her heritage. I am not trying to invoke any debate on language here either..... so please, no one rant!

carl_galloway
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Post by carl_galloway » Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:10 am

Well said. I think you have my email address, but if you don't, it is webmaster [at] carlgalloway [dot] com

Not sure what we have in common apart from very inflated egos, and an incredible need to be immortal, life is too short to do otherwise, hmmm you've got me thinking, my fiance isn't Polish, so it can't be that, we live in different countries, so it can't be that, ah well, you'll have to email me. Ah wait I get it, we're both male! :P

Talk to you soon,

Carl

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