Blog template (mostly) updated

The blog’s look and feel is (mostly) updated!

Down the Road, v. 4.0

Let’s all say a fond goodbye to Down the Road, v 4.0. I really liked the look and feel that template gave me, and I wish I could have kept it. Unfortunately, it’s an old template that isn’t maintained anymore, and little incompatibilities with modern WordPress were creeping in.

I spent five hours this morning editing my new template to look as I want it, or as much as I could manage. As you can see, I mimicked my old template’s look and feel.

I used the Theme Editor to customize the look and feel here. The Theme Editor gives a good amount of control, within your template’s limits. It works like the WordPress block editor, so if you have good skills with it, you’ll be able to make your way with the Theme Editor.

Down the Road, v. 1.0

However, I learned how much I don’t know about WordPress blocks during my customization adventure. There are special blocks for various common elements on the page. There are also special blocks used to arrange elements that I had never seen before. I learned a lot about these blocks by looking at the theme’s default blocks in the Theme Editor.

I’m not sure I can fully explain how I got everything to work, because so much of this was trial and error until it looked right enough. But here it is.

I haven’t figured out yet how to do two things. First, I want to change the font styling on image captions to be smaller and italicized, so captions don’t look exactly like body text. Second, I want to edit my menu in the masthead. On other templates I’ve used, I did that in the Customizer. But that option isn’t available on this template, and I can’t figure out what to do there. I’ll update these things when I learn how.

With this update, I’ve switched from my main page showing the full text of my latest posts, to a grid of the nine most recent posts with a short excerpt from the post. This is just how my new theme works.

I’m trying these settings on for size, and may tweak things here and there in the coming weeks. Otherwise, this is what the blog now looks like!


Comments

18 responses to “Blog template (mostly) updated”

  1. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

    Jim,

    For image caption text to be italicized and smaller font size that works responsively, use this CSS in the Customizer.

    .wp-block-image figcaption { font-style: italic; font-size: 0.9rem; }

    If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to add !important to override. So change the CSS to this.

    .wp-block-image figcaption { font-style: italic !important; font-size: 0.9rem !important; }

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Hey, thank you. This is what I put in the custom CSS area:

      .wp-caption p.wp-caption-text {
      font-size .75em;
      color: #5A5A5A;
      }

      Clearly I had the wrong elements. This is CSS that worked two themes ago, before the block editor was a thing.

      1. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

        You’re welcome. See my email.

  2. Suzassippi Avatar

    Block editor does take a bit of time to learn, but now that I have used it a while, I like it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I prefer it, too. I write occasionally for another site, and they use the old editor still. It feels like stepping back in time.

      1. adventurepdx Avatar

        Yeah, it took me a bit to catch on to blocks, but now I really like it. And I also do some writing on a site with the old editor, and it feels weird.

  3. P Avatar
    P

    I vastly prefer seeing just a short excerpt of each post on the main page rather than the full text. It makes things a lot easier if I want to go back and read an older post I previously didn’t have time to read when you posted it (days or even weeks back). It keeps me from scrolling forever trying to find it. Just please, whatever you do, don’t ever go to using a grid/tile array on your main page. Haha, I seriously find that the most frustrating design ever. I generally won’t even bother with people’s blogs set up that way. Overall, I prefer just about all aspects of your new theme to the previous one.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Sorry, my man, but the home page is presently a grid. I’m not crazy about grids either, and may change it someday.

      1. P Avatar
        P

        Ah, it is! At least the Desktop version is… Thankfully, it’s not a grid in the Mobile view. And, even on the Desktop view, your grid is at least somewhat usable (still, I’m not a fan). Most people who use grids set it up in such a way that you can’t even tell what the blog post is about without clicking on it. It’s horrible…

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          If only I were willing to learn how to design WordPress themes from the ground up, I could get exactly what I want. Alas.

  4. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

    Jim, designing WordPress themes from the ground-up approach is more time involved than the Block Editor. The blocks are a breath of fresh air to my design/coding interests. Where all else fails, there is CSS.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh yes, I know building from scratch is harder and takes a lot longer! My comment was meant to be wry.

      1. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

        Ah, I missed the hint of humor in it.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          It was super subtle! 😉

  5. Daniel L Cluley Avatar
    Daniel L Cluley

    I checked my phone & desktop, and it looks good on both. My only question/request is can we get back a. the number of comments on a post & b. the ability to go straight to the comments. I sometimes check back after a day or two to see if there has been more discussion.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks for being my tester! I’ve added a comments link. You’ll find it under the post title, after the date and my name.

  6. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    I feel your pain – I updated the template for viewfromtheendoftheworld about a year ago. The block editor seems to change from week to week, meaning that sometimes I have to find a new way of doing what I have always done. I do like the look I have a little better though. I was always an early adopter of digital technology, but have noticed that now I find myself hanging on until things become bricked. Might be birthdays that is causing that, I am not sure!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There comes a point where you are fatigued with trying new things.

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