I started writing blogs back in 2006.
After a bit of searching at the time I found a template I liked, that was simple and easily adaptable, and have been using that template ever since. In fact I started a second blog and used the same template (heavily modified) on that too.
Over the years, both the CSS and PHP files in the template were extensively modified, particularly as in the early days (pre-widget) I had hard coded a lot of items straight into the template files.
A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time for a bit of an overhaul. The first thing I did was to “widgetise” Head Rambles. That was fairly painless and the result looked almost identical to the original. However I still had a load of modified template files and the CSS was in a bit of a mess. I decided on a change of the core theme and template.
My first impression was that it looked a bit daunting. I set up a local server on my laptop and installed it there. Sure enough, there was a bit of a learning curve. The Admin area is quite large with a lot of options.
My first project was to create a theme to match the Rambles one as closely as possible. The further I went the more impressed I became. There is virtually no aspect of the design that couldn’t be changed from the Admin area.
Rambles is now running the new Weaver template and the original design. The main aspect is that I haven’t touched a single PHP or CSS file so updates/upgrades won’t destroy anything. As a bonus, I have been able to remove several plugins as their functions are built into Weaver.
The only drawback, if you can call it that is that the theme is three times slower that the old one. Does that sound bad? If I say that the old one took 0.07 seconds to load while Weaver takes 0.2 seconds? Not bad considering all the additional bonuses. The new site is mobile friendly (previously I had to install a plugin and a clatter of extra themes). It has a much better comment area, with nested comments. And I can make any changes to the theme with a couple of clicks of the mouse, with no FTP or file editing at all.
Since then I have also redesigned this site and Smoking so all three sites are now updated.
I have a feeling I will be writing a bit more about Weaver!