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Technical Changes

We are making major technical changes and will update this post when we (think we are) “done.” Your patience and comments are much appreciated.

Update: The major changes are complete. More technical details after the break.

We used the Vertigo 3-column theme (link). Two parts of the theme were changed. The CSS files were altered to change the color scheme and some elements from the old CSS files were imported. The php files were altered to show post author/time information and to rearrange the columns. These changes were made in index.php, post.php, page.php, and archive.php.

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#1 Comment By lgeorge On November 21, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

I just realized we have several threads up for making comments on the changes. Could you add an update, when appropriate, specifying where they should go? Is it here?

#2 Comment By Parent ’12 On November 21, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

It seems much easier to read.

Could someone reset the clock. It’s still on Daylight Savings Time for the East coast.

#3 Comment By PareskyLawnBowler On November 21, 2008 @ 6:13 pm

Whew, a font I can read.

#4 Comment By Larry George On November 21, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

I was pleased that the site would take the wide photo in the post above this. I don’t know much about posting photos yet but I’m sensing we have additional flexibility with this newer version of the program.

I like the white background and don’t miss the green or the wavy things we used to have.

I’m not sure we still have comment nesting or comment numbering, both features we used to have that I found useful.

I think I can read this font better. At least I seem to have fewer typos.

#5 Comment By PTC On November 21, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

Almost… a few more updates and you will have it right.

#6 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On November 21, 2008 @ 8:04 pm

What happens to that photo when the right sidebar content expands downward into it?…

#7 Comment By Larry George On November 21, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

I don’t know, Ken. It was a lucky arrangement, wasn’t it? I did use three different-sized photographs so that I could play around with the new mode a bit. I was rather amazed that it took the wide one (I had already made narrower versions, cutting off the whole squad on the right side).

You have editor powers, don’t you? If so, go ahead and experiment. You’ll get far more out of that than I, stumbling around, would — I’m still using only the automatic setting choice functions, not venturing into any code. (And I still have the photos and can reinsert them if something goes awry, so don’t worry about that.)

#8 Comment By anon On November 21, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

What happened to comment numbers? They can be really helpful (along w/ the date/time stamps) when referring back.

#9 Comment By PareskyLawnBowler On November 21, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

The top banner should be as wide as the content.

Ken, the answer to your question is, it will look bad.

Persons posting photos will have to learn to add a width=”xxx” parameter to the photo or use the tools provided with WordPress to do it for you.

#10 Comment By Parent ’12 On November 21, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

Photo IDs in the left column are fantastic. The photos are mesmerizing. As a parent, who visited many campuses, seeing these wide-ranging angles of Williams is a real pleasure.

#11 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On November 21, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

anon: I’ll work on that at some point. As predicted by Paresky*, the Vertigo theme does not implement comments_* routines in a standardized way :(

#12 Comment By PTC On November 21, 2008 @ 11:28 pm

Ken- How about an opening post full page column, then the three column theme you kind of have at the top, but all the way down the page… something like Huffpo?

#13 Comment By nuts On November 22, 2008 @ 12:37 am

I like it. Using three columns let’s us put recent comments at the top. The Photography images display larger. There is no ‘reply’ button that makes it easy to reply to a post but you can do it easily enough as follows:

Ken Thomas ’93 on November 21st, 2008 10:17 pm:

anon: I’ll work on that at some point. As predicted by Paresky*, the Vertigo theme does not implement comments_* routines in a standardized way :(

Ok, great!

Are you working on ‘Preview’ before ‘Submit Comments’.

#14 Comment By lgeorge On November 22, 2008 @ 3:04 am

Larger number of photos slots on the photo strip– that’s good. Selection problems seem to be continuing, but we’ll see.

By the way, as an experiment, I picked out a couple of photos in the flickr pool the other day and gave them a really high hit rate (higher than that of many of the usual suspect photos that keep showing up). I have not seen any of them come up in the photo strip. It’s almost as if the selection function is “stuck” with a relatively small pool out of the thousands of linked pictures.

#15 Comment By PTC On November 22, 2008 @ 10:19 am

The recent comments section would be better if it was about twice as long… and organized by thread and time.

#16 Comment By lgeorge On November 22, 2008 @ 10:34 am

Very much agree with you, PTC, but I suspect those options are not available with this program. The boffins must be sick of hearing me make the same requests.

#17 Comment By PareskyLawnBowler On November 22, 2008 @ 10:39 am

What happened to the beautiful Vertigo footer? Gone.

Why did you decide to put content in the middle rather than the left hand side. A poor design choice I would say.

What happened to the beautiful header that Vertigo offers? Gone.

With the header not extending as a CSS Element all the way to the left of the page the design is totally bastardized.

Eek.

#18 Comment By lgeorge On November 22, 2008 @ 10:43 am

The flickr searcher has been digging deeper this morning and picking up some pictures I don’t remember seeing before on the photograph strip. I don’t know whether anyone changed the settings.

Sometimes it seems that, just as I’ve complained about the same-old-same-old (endless playings of recent dance photos, or of the same relatively small group of older photos), the flickr program rights itself for a bit and starts bringing up the seldom seen. Always before, it has slipped back into its prior narrowly repetitive mode. We shall see.

Maybe someone will be able to suggest an easy, workable alternative or fix.

#19 Comment By Ronit On November 22, 2008 @ 10:53 am

@ ptc – I’ve increased the recent comments to the max allowed (15), but further sophistication will require a more sophisticated program

@ larry george – yeah, I’ve been tweaking with the flickr widget. Still a work in progress.

Another work in progress: A proper Eph Blogroll, placed on the sidebar as a widget.

#20 Comment By lgeorge On November 22, 2008 @ 11:00 am

@ larry george – yeah, I’ve been tweaking with the flickr widget. Still a work in progress.

Ronit – Thank you. It was great to see something from the seldom seen. Kudos.

#21 Comment By PareskyLawnBowler On November 22, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

Can you tell us which Flickr widget and which Recent Comments widget you are using? Might be able to suggest some tweaks.

#22 Comment By PTC On November 22, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

This is looking better and better… make the top full page, add more to the left and right columns.. and you have it!

#23 Comment By PTC On November 22, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

Ok- Here are my final suggestions:

1. Make the Ephblog “moniker” pic of Kane on his bike large enough to be on top of the entire page, over all three columns.

2. Make the “of interest” and “search for” lines on the left and right column equal to the underlined time stamp of the center post. That will highlight the center post subject as the point of interest, and add balance.

3. Double the number of “recent comments”.

4. Add to the first column so that it ends at the bottom in the post on the same line/ point of the third column.

#24 Comment By nuts On November 22, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

Some more ideas:

Place ‘Search’ above ‘Categories’ and below ‘Recent comments’.

Any chance of having a ‘reply’ button on each comment that positions the cursor in the comment box and inserts a hyperlink to the original comment as follows:

Reply to lgeorge:

Thanks for those great posts on cross-country and soccer today.

Having a different background color for comments (placing each one in a box) provides a nice visual organization (but the current comment display style has a nice continuity.)

Set the hyperlink color to a dark purple.

#25 Comment By lgeorge On November 22, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

If you moved “Categories” and “Archives” up to under “Search” on the right and played around with it a bit, you could even up the sizes of the upper sections on the left and right columns, while still making the tops of the photo strip and comment list visible. This would make it easier to read the center column.

#26 Comment By lgeorge On November 22, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

Nuts –
Seems we cross-posted. Thanks.

#27 Comment By David Kane On November 22, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

I am not for or against any of these changes, but I do want to just let people know that a lot of this is way harder than it appears, partly because I don’t know what I am doing and partly because technology can be difficult. For example, I spent over an hour just trying to get the Categories widget to appear with a pull-down menu as opposed to barking out all the different categories down the page. This should be easy, of course, but WordPress is not always as wonderful as it appears. So, something as simple as moving categories up may not be that easy.

Just so you know.

Many thanks to Daniel for his work on this, as well as to Ronit and Ken.

PareskyLawnBowler: I am not even sure how to tell which version of the different widgets we are using. How do you look that up from the Dashboard? And, by the way, since you seem to know about WordPress, please feel free to join us. We welcome anonymous authors.

#28 Comment By lgeorge On November 22, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

“I spent over an hour just trying to get the Categories widget to appear with a pull-down menu…”

An hour VERY well-spent (and it would have taken me days). You forestalled many hours (cumulatively) of annoyance that I would have experienced seeing Categories sprawled out as a list.

Thank you. And many thanks also Daniel, Ken, and Ronit.

#29 Comment By nuts On November 22, 2008 @ 4:06 pm

reply to David Kane:

“…I do want to just let people know that a lot of this is way harder than it appears, partly because I don’t know what I am doing and partly because technology can be difficult.

You guys have your hands full. Use the suggestions that make sense to you. Keep up the good work.

#30 Comment By sophmom On November 22, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

To Tech:

Your time and skills are much appreciated.

Let us know if you need anything…coffee, donuts, chunky cheese bread?

;-)

#31 Comment By Ronit On November 22, 2008 @ 5:11 pm

PTC (and to all and sundry): if you still see the older (small) header, it might be worth while to clear your cache and refresh.

#32 Comment By sophmom On November 22, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

Header looks great!

#33 Comment By Dick Swart On November 23, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

This just in from Guy Crease:

Gotta tell ya, I like the new design a lot. It’s clean, doesn’t call attention to itself, and is a lot more readable than before. Bravo!

#34 Comment By sophmom On November 23, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

I agree with Guy. The changes made last night brought a visual balance, and it no longer looks too busy to my eye, rather, it looks active and inviting…something for everyone.

Ignore the rest of my comment here, as I explore a bit.

Header looks great!

Design is nice.

#35 Comment By Larry George On November 23, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

Why are all the links to old threads about anchor housing, etc. showing up in the Recent Comments list? I’m finding them confusing and annoying. They also defeat the purpose of expanding the list to 15 items.

#36 Comment By Larry George On November 23, 2008 @ 10:24 pm

Something’s wrong. I just commented in the soccer thread and the comment is there but it doesn’t show up in the list on the right column.

#37 Comment By David Kane On November 23, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

1) When you edit and save an old post to, say, add a category, the “change” appears there. Not sure if that can be fixed, but I (try to) quickly delete them.

2) I see your soccer comment.

#38 Comment By Parent ’12 On November 24, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

Dear Tech Gods- Thank you for setting the clock to EST.