The Elephant in the Room


To some of the folks who registered (Abe), you will have to re-register again. Don’t worry, it’s a snap if logging in via Google anyways. I’ve refrained from updating the site because I’ve been secretly building a custom theme from scratch using the Genesis Framework. The site is running on WordPress 3.6 also, and the theme is HTML5 (using the latest RC candidate of Genesis).

Why all this (and especially since I did a “soft relaunch” a while back?), well I wasn’t satisfied with how the site looked. It was really lacking something. I guess that’s what you get when you try to get a pre-made theme and minimally invest any time into it. Worse yet, the old theme was a nifty responsive theme called FlexForm. I was happy with it until I started modifying bits and pieces. I actually ended up breaking the whole darn thing because it had a zillion options (half of which I didn’t need) for every post/page that got stored alongside the content in the database. So things would appear out of whack with stuff created before the theme, or after the theme with a different theme. That’s not good.

On top of it all, I somehow broke the theme customization so it became burdensome to make minor changes. And of course, I felt the site was lacking in whats supposed to be the front facing portal to my engine development. Particularly, whole image headers looked horrible on mobile devices.

So, I went to Genesis. And I buckled down and learned a bit more about CSS and the wordpress core. Frankly, I wish I did this long ago. I highly recommend the Genesis Framework, especially coming from a non-web developer. Creating a theme with it simply made sense, completely hook/filter based. It took me about a week (mostly because I only spent a little bit each night) to get something that I felt really represented my work well in a beautiful, simple representation. And this for someone who was completely new at theme development.

And no, they aren’t paying me to say this (actually I paid them! heh). It’s a well documented framework, with lots of code snippets and tutorials, so it deserves praise. The old theme on the other hand was a classic example of software that demos well, but in practice isn’t so hot.

In addition to the new theme, I’ve done a good once over of the BBPress forum theme as well. It matches the main site’s theme better, and I’ve made it a bit more responsive on smaller devices. Overall BBPress is somewhat responsive, except for some notable eyesores on a tiny screen. Also, notice that we’re sporting a similar (fairly custom!) login like the old theme. It’s a lot nicer in my opinion.

So that’s that, I’m very happy with how the theme has turned out, and it’s been a lot of fun putting it together (fun and web development?? That’s a rare combo for me).


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