According to Colo…Coloph-Thing I’m in the stretch of coming up doing 19 years of WordPressing, which started with this here blog. I might emulate the SNL Chico Esceula character to say, “WordPress has been vedddy vedddy good to me.”
This is not the post to wax or moan about the new phases of WordPress, but more reflecting on some discussions I was in for in this month’s Reclaim Hosting Community Chat. There was recognition, resignation, angst about the increasing complexity of the WordPress editing environment for students and faculty new to the platform (well for many not so new).
My quip was even with all the craziness of the new age of Full Site Editing themes, my raft of SPLOT themes and Calling Card Themes still all work fine in WordPress. That sending people to a theme with maybe more focused structure, not jus a Hello World of vagueness helps.
This was on my mind because of a recent question from Alexis at Buffscreate (brilliant domain name!), the Domain of One’s Own program at Colorado State University, Boulder. What I learned was that they are having students use my WP-Dimension calling card theme for portfolios –the one she had a question about that she was helping with is a student’s course/project portfolio for some kind of product design/marketing class). See also the Buffscreate community site page for an example of a student portfolio using WP-Dimension –note the link has an SSL issue, you can get to the demo portfolio via http://aboutme.smyers.buffscreate.net/.
I’ve seen WP-Dimension used as well at the OpenETC for portfolios (see an example) and other types of projects.
Coolio! The WP-Dimension theme is one of my favorites. I definitely dogfood it myself. It all came about in 2017 when I was helping Mariana Funes to create a simple calling card site, and first set up the HTML5Up Dimension template (she chose from their collection). After a few rounds of getting requests for updates by email, and manual HTML editing (which I don’t really mind), the idea occured to me that if this design could be shoehorned into,WordPress, where “Posts” are just the links tha open from the front menu, she and anyone else could manage the content w/o putting me in the middle.
This whole idea of a “calling card” theme came out of domain of ones own workshops and projects like the early Ontario Extend Domain Camp (they nuked the old sites, sad face), the best writeups I have now are in my archive of the 2017 DML Staking Your Claim workshop done with Kim Jaxson. What happened then and maybe still now is when people are new to getting a domain of their own is to first stick a WordPress blog right at the root of their domain.
What we stressed was thinking of your domain as the main entrance, so we had people first put a web calling card place holder using a crude cpanel tool, then show them how to install other things, a log, a portfolio, a course site, as subdomains (or subdirectory sites). THEN we came back an introduced them to two WordPress themes that were more versatile, one was WP-Dimension, the other the second one I converted from HTMLup, WP-Big Picture (a theme I uses lots for projects and workshops).
In all, I have converted 5 different HTML5up templates to be fully functional, still viable, WordPress themes, all with wide amounts of personalization provided through the WordPress customizer. To go even more Inception like, the site I made to showcase all the calling card themes uses one of them WP-Eventually.
Still, because it was the first, and I use it myself, WP-Dimension is a favorite.
I’ve updated the WP-Dimension theme to use Font-Awesome 6.x icons (the original HTML5Up template uses version 4.7)
Also, it was a nudge to do a few things:
- 8ting the PHP. Test that the theme works in latest version of PHP… 8.2.8 so many problems with other sites, glad this one passes
- Update the documentation to more accurately include the newer organization of the Customizer features
- You can create standalone pages that do not appear from the front boxes. See the Cowboy Western flavored example site which featured a standalone additional page linked from one of the “front boxes”
- Split out the long ReadMe into sections of markdown files matching the other SPLOT themes
Why do this? I makes for great potential using Paul Hibbits’s Docsify this, so the theme’s docs can be linked to in a more readable standalone format (like it is outside of GitHub, heck I could add a WordPress admin menu link to it). This link will always display the most current version of the documentation.
And the same can be done for the list of examples, I can link them sure, but, look, I can embed the examples anywhere… like here!
And if the source of the markdown is updated… so is my display here.
You can see in there a number of uses that are portfolio-like. I can see how it works well, as an owner can have any number of front page “boxes” or buttons, they can customize the icon and the background image –because they are set in the WordPress header background, you can use the option to add a set of images and display one at random, I do that at my calling card site https://cog.dog/
And if you include the Iconic Font Menus plugin (another one of mine) you can use any Font-Awesome 6 icon for the social media icons.
The contents for each linked “box” can be almost anything you toss into a WordPress editor, and the bottom button features lets you provide a link to anywhere else.
I’d say its quite multi-dimensional (!) if you explore the examples you will find bio sites, but also ones devoted to a music band, an artist, research projects, a music studio, a reference guide, a counselor’s services, educational programs, organizations, even as a presentation.
And I venture that a theme meant for a specific purpose or deliberate structure than the jack of all trades ones might be more helpful, and also stand a bit aside of the hand wringing over the editor tools.
All these calling card themes and SPLOTs too are not things I build for grand causes, all of them are ones I use and have used myself.
Imagination is a new (WP-) Dimension!
Featured Image: 2011/365/347 Believe in Fortune Cookies flickr photo by cogdogblog (me) shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license modified to change the fortune text to read “You should set up a calling card site with WP-Dimension”