joycechng

Posts Tagged ‘flexibility

Just a post about my experiences with WordPress again. This time i was bored with my past theme and set out to find a spanking new one!

As a person obsessed with straight lines, things fitting without weird, unnecessary spaces, and things being exactly where I want them to be, it really irks me when I don’t get what I expect. For instance, with a WordPress theme, I’d want my sidebars to be on the right column, my posts to be fully justified, aligned in the centre and so on.

Hence, the logical thing to do would be to apply a theme which fits my criteria. And the thing good about WordPress is that it lists out its themes’ features. For example, two sidebars, one footer, fixed widths, and things like that, it’s really nifty I have to say. Settling on one theme I liked, I proceeded to my home page to check how it looks. Lo and behold, things were definitely not good.

My promised “fixed width, right-aligned sidebar 1” was all the way at the bottom of the page. And the sidebar didn’t even have the decency to I don’t know, spread out a little and resemble a footer. Maybe I have unreasonable demands, probably the CSS code isn’t even equipped to handle unexpected problems like that, but it is very irritating nevertheless. Furthermore, previously in my dashboard, I have re-dragged all the widgets I want to have in my sidebar already, and when my sidebar promptly decided to move to the bottom of the page, only two out of my five widgets appeared. This phenomenon is something that irritates me to no end.

Maybe there is some way to prevent this and I being an IT noob just don’t get it, but it does seem that everytime I change my WordPress theme, I have to re-insert all of my widgets into my new sidebar? All my widgets end up in this table at the bottom of the dashboard page, labelled as ‘Inactive Widgets’. Is this supposed to help me? Is this supposed to make my life easier? Although it is not a big problem to scroll all the way down to choose my widgets again, isn’t the point of the Internet to facilitate matters, and make it generally easier to go about things?

One suggestion I would like to make to WordPress is either:
#1. reverse the order of the widgets tables, put my previously used widgets up at the top of the page so that I can re-insert them into my new theme’s sidebar easily and quickly
or
#2. Do not even take my previous widgets out and stick them in a table called inactive widgets at all! Why can’t it just be an automatic process where the widgets I choose are already in the new theme’s sidebar, then should I want to add or delete anything, I’ll do it manually?

Back to my point about flexibility now.. After fiddling for over half an hour and choosing numerous themes to try to solve the issue of the wayward sidebar, I gave up. At that point, I was basically fine with any theme at all, as long as my sidebar got back to where it was supposed to be. Function over form for me I suppose. Not one theme came close to putting my sidebar where it belonged, so out of desperation, I turned to the ever trusty Google.

In a matter of minutes, I discovered the answer. Ironically, in a WordPress forum which then led me to a Help page filed under the WordPress Support section. The problem of a sidebar gone astray is apparently the small issue of html coding. As mentioned, I am a horribly anal-retentive person when it comes to certain things. My downfall was the code I used for justifying my posts. Just because I did not add a closing code to the end of my previous post, everything went haywire. Upon adding that simple function at the end, everything went back to normal.

After heaving a great sigh of relief, I started to ponder about this so-called flexibility options offered. While it is highly useful to those who know more to be able to customise according to personal preferences, for laypeople i.e. noobs like myself, this could be frustrating.

I would really be grateful if someone could add into the WordPress code some action that forces the layout of the theme to remain unchanged unless someone specifically requests to customise it. Additionally, WordPress can also implement options for left, right, centred, or justified alignments. While it might take away true flexibility, this will afford users some measure of customizability.

This article here is chocked full of information. While really pretty lengthy, I feel that the content is quite useful and true. Having used some of the tools as illustrated in the article. I confess that I have never had a hyperlocal blog before, so I cannot tell at this stage if using WordPress enables me to add “power, flexibility, or professionalism” to my curent space. I’m open to comments though!

References

Google. 2011, viewed 23 April 2011.

HyperLocalBlogger. 2009, ‘How Do You Define Hyperlocal?’, HyperLocalBlogger, viewed 23 April 2011.

Online Journalism Blog. 2011, Which blog platform should I use? A blog audit.’, Online Journalism Blog, viewed 23 April 2011.

Urban Dictionary. 2011, ‘Noob’, Urban Dictionary, viewed 23 April 2011.

WordPress.com Forums. 2011, ‘My blog side bar has fallen down, help Pls!!!’, WordPress.com, viewed 23 April 2011.

WordPress.com Support. 2011, ‘Appearance: Theme>>Layout Issues’, WordPress.com, viewed 23 April 2011.