Mostly Harmless

Mostly about my amusement

Time for a new WordPress theme

Old Hybrid child theme

The last time I switched this site to another theme was March 2010, before that April 2008. This time I’ve switched to a commercial them called Elemin. This is a first for me as I’ve never purchased a theme before. But it was on sale for Black Friday and I had been eying it since Automattic added it to their premium theme line up.

It was very easy to work with and the built-in option menus are simple to use. After installing it on my test blog I went to the control panel and made a couple of small setting adjustments. On my home page I want to show the full posts and hide the featured image.

After that I created a child theme and except for small CSS changes, a random header script, some PNG files for said headers, and some code in the child theme’s functions.php file I was all set.

Elemin on an iPad

I could have put the CSS into the theme settings under “Custom CSS” but I’m a huge fan of child themes.

You can examine my changes at the theme’s CSS file here. Rounded corners are a new thing for me; my CSS skills are non-existent.

Naturally the corners don’t work with Internet Explorer 8 and below, but hey, people should upgrade to IE 9.

One of the features I like about this theme is the ability to scale to the browser. When I move the window to become smaller, the columns shrink until the sidebar moves below the content. This causes my blog to be easy to read on an iPad.

Ideally all themes would be fluid and scale like this and it makes the viewing more attractive. I think the Twenty Eleven theme supports some scaling like that already but I’m not entirely sure.

Why a commercial theme?

Primarily for my curiosity. The Themify themes are GPL’ed and the distribution of this code is not restricted. I can make whatever changes I like as well as use the software as I see fit. The GPL is great that way and seeing how professional coders create themes enables me to learn even more.

I know that I could (probably, eventually, I’m sure I could…) get a free theme such as Twenty Ten or Twenty Eleven working like this, but I’m horrible at the styling. This theme is very flexible and the documentation is very good.

One thing Elemin is not is a theme framework. My blog was using a child theme of Hybrid and the theme author Patrick Daly knows his stuff. Patrick’s child theme WP Full Site was packed with PHP! Good stuff, but more than I could utilize. This current theme is more my speed.

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