It took staying up till about 3 am last night to push through the final tweaks I wanted to make to the About page before considering this version code complete. It took another handful of hours to sync the theme to the server, and redo all the WordPress and theme configurations to match up development and production. And there was a bunch of emergency fixes…because that’s how software works.
I’m still not sure what prompts me to want to slap on a new theme every year or two. Beyond the desire to keep something visually appealing, there’s a pride signaled in maintaining a blog with regularly updated posts as well as a modern design. If nothing else, taking on a redesign can help break the monotony of writing, particularly as I’ve ramped up the cadence.
One thing I’ve noticed is that working on a WordPress theme – either from scratch or working off of an existing theme – is more time-consuming than it ought to be. As a CMS, there’s still many areas of the site that can’t be customized without diving into the code, either directly into the CSS (and using strong rules to override the defaults) or into the WordPress APIs. As a developer SDK, the documentation for these APIs is fairly limited, and integration with plugins usually involves just reading the source. The project is well over a decade old at this point, and the mix of old and new development patterns takes substantial effort to disentangle.
But of course, this is also one of WordPress’s strengths: it has been around so long that most of what you’d want has been written by someone else. In my case, a calendar plugin, a footnote implementation, and a flexible theme simply called X did most of what I wanted at a base level. I did spend about 3 months – on and off – tweaking various styles to my liking.
The theme is hosted on Github.