New Year, New Theme

Hello! Well it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Hope you’re well! Welcome to my brand new personal blog!

Why have I started blogging here again? Well, one of my goals for 2016 was to Produce More Content. I hate using the phrase “Produce More Content”, as it seems very robotic. However, I don’t feel like ‘Write More’ would work here, as I plan on doing a few videos, maybe even some live streaming. In the last few months of 2015, I’ve been playing about with Twitch streaming (follow me on Twitch here), and I kind of want a hub for all my non-WordPress activities. So this is what this blog is about.

The realisation came to the latter end of last year. There were a few things I wanted to talk about or cover, but unfortunately I’d been unable to due to it not really fitting within Winwar Media’s remit. This relaunching means that I can give my thoughts here, rather than elsewhere.

About This Theme

Well, since the last post on this here blog (in September 2014!), I’ve been curious regarding the rise of Medium. I like the long form content and I know that the future sister-in-law is a huge fan of it (you can follow her on Medium as @GapYearComeback), but I particularly like the clean look. So I wanted something that was a little cleaner than my last layout.

However, I was also keen to use it as a hub for me. I wanted links to all my other things and as well as writing it as a brain dump. As such, I wanted a brand new look, that focusses on the content, but also will act as a site that is a hub for all my activities online.

Two themes did inspire me – the first was Matt Watson’s theme. I did quite like the clean look of it and the focus on the content, but I also quite like Caspar Hübinger’s theme, as it had the sidebar and footer incidentals which I really wanted in the new theme. So I had a half look that I was after, now was to decide whether the one column or the two column theme would win out.

Learning Javascript Deep…ish

In the end, neither did, as I decided to amalgamate the two.

Rather than spend a lot of time working a theme, I instead decided to take the Twenty Thirteen theme, and extend it. In Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word this year one of the most quoteable phrases was “Learn JavaScript…Deeply”. I then decided to make the sidebar retractable in JavaScript. I am in no doubt that it has already been done, but wanted to do it.

If you are reading this on a desktop, click the arrow to retract the sidebar. It should work.

After playing around with it for a few hours, I think I got something to work. There is an odd problem that it flickers when closed. I think it is because of a conflict with the theme’s default JavaScript, so if anybody’s has any ideas, let me know (and I’m well aware this is a bit of Open Source Cunningham’s Law, sue me!).

Also, to those who remember the old theme, would know that I’ve returned to a purple sidebar. It’s quite simple that. I like Purple ?.

The Host With The Most

I’ve also switched hosts! Previously I had hosted this on my bog standard Digital Ocean VPS. Whilst I think I’ve fixed the issue regarding the VPS (or rather, more likely, hacked it), I’ve switched to 34SP. I am a big fan of their Managed WordPress Hosting as it is quick and painless (as I don’t have to worry about anything), and their support is top notch. So yeah, this site will be nippy, and suffer a lot less down time.

What Should You Expect?

In short, you should expect the odd post here and there. Rather than writing to a set schedule, I’m hopefully going to try and produce opinion pieces and reviews (as well as general updates), that are longer, and richer including videos and the like. Hopefully the new theme will act as a catalyst for it.

What do you think?

11 thoughts on “New Year, New Theme”

  1. Nice! I really like this clean, content-focussed approach. Good work. And a happy new year to you.

    I’m NOT (I’m really NOT!) a JS expert, but I’ve been learning it a bit more “deeply” myself this year. I’m going to set some challenges for your next step of JS learning – you can take or leave them.

    1) It looks like you’re using jQuery, so your first piece of “homework” is to re-write it in vanilla JS with a bit of help from:

    2) I’d also highly recommend learning a pattern that helps you structure your JS code. Todd Motto has a great introduction to the module pattern, which is a good start:

    3) I know you wanted to do this in JS, but is there any other reason that you didn’t use CSS transitions for this? You can avoid a lot of JS for this example by just adding a class and doing everything else in CSS.

    Good work though! Here’s to 2016!!!

  2. Thanks for your comment. Happy new year mate!

    Thanks for your feedback. I bookmarked one and two, and for three I do agree. I didn’t use CSS transitions because I wanted to use JavaScript. I did use a few CSS transitions (it worked on the main content quite easily), the JS was used to get the sidebar size so it knows how far the sidebar has to go off the screen (if that makes sense!0

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