Monday 11 June 2007

For ages I have wanted to add a little icon next to each chapter to show the current phase of the moon. The moon hasn’t been as important to the story lately as it has been in the past (which shows how long I’ve wanted to do this) but it’s not insignificant. Also, it’s cute.

However, my old site template was so convoluted to start with – and then so thoroughly hacked by me – that I wanted to start from scratch rather than modify it. I also wanted to rewrite all the stylesheets in PHP so it would be easier to do alternate color schemes.

So, I have just added two new themes to the Lothere site, one dark and one light. Unfortunately user interface design is not really touched upon in the computer science curriculum, and graphic design not at all. I apologize in advance for hurting anyone’s eyes. The code behind it is pretty, I assure you.

Here are screenshots of the two, seen from my computer.

The first one is for dark-​​dwellers like me, “Gilded (dark)”:

Gilded theme.

The second is for people who are not accustomed to working with vi on a Unix terminal all day, “Watchet (light)”:

Gilded theme.

(Watchet is an archaic name for a greenish blue. I am too hip for teal.)

Aside from the moon phase and the obvious cosmetic differences, here are some of the changes:

  • Rearranged the order in the sidebar… among other things, theme selector is way down at the bottom now.
  • Changed the long text list of years for Archives into a drop-​​down list.
  • Added a link to Verso and included a link to the most recent post there, so you don’t have to check over there all the time if you’re not using an rss-​​reader.
  • Got rid of the list of “categories” (actually families) at the top of each chapter. The chapters will still be categorized and you can still browse the categories from the links in the sidebar. I just didn’t think it was useful up top (if nothing else it was a spoiler), but if anyone misses that feature let me know.
  • Made my own comments look different from your-all’s. Because I’m special.

I’ll also note that for the time being the moon phase may be slightly off compared to what’s happening in the story. I have a decent algorithm for moon phase calculations, but currently it’s in JavaScript and I have to port it to PHP. Meanwhile I’m using a quick-​​and-​​dirty algorithm I found elsewhere. Hopefully it won’t be more than a day or two off, and hopefully I’ll have the time to fix it before long.

So, leave comments below if you have anything to say, particularly complaints and criticisms. If something is really wonky, make sure you tell me what operating system, browser, and browser version you’re using.

I already know that the header image is not so nice in IE 6 or earlier because IE doesn’t do alpha-​​transparencies well. I’m not going to cater to IE in that regard.

And if some colors or some colors-​​on-​​colors are really bothering you, please tell me. I seem to have weird tastes.

After everyone has had a chance to complain, I will make one of the two into the default theme for new arrivals (or people whose browsers don’t keep cookies). I don’t intend to continue “development” on the older templates, so if later versions of Wordpress simply break them, I’ll let them drop.