Weekend Project Status Report

23 May 2004

How do the pieces fit together?Stephen Covey suggested seven habits. One of them was to ”begin with the end in mind.” The end in this case is a properly rendered index.php page from WordPress or Movable Type or whatever your choice of weblog tools might be.

At my current state of knowledge, it appears that the index.php page is dependent upon four other things. Those things are templates, tags, xhtml and stylesheets (CSS). My weekend project has been relatively successful, but I’m to the mental block I’ve had ever since my earliest days of weblogging. How do you know what to do with each of those four components to make the home page (index.php) look the way you want it to look?

I upgraded my test weblog to WordPress 1.2. I imported entries from my Movable Type weblog. Those things went smoothly, though they took far more than the five minutes everybody has been reporting. The software performed flawlessly, but my lack of knowledge caused each step to be laborious.

This afternoon, I’ve learned of something called ”template manager.” I have not been able to determine what this plugin does, nor whether it clears the fog from the diagram you see here.

The ”end” I have in mind is a properly functioning copy of Rodent Regatta moved over to WordPress with an understanding of what was necessary to make that happen. Whether or not the folks at Six Apart find a way to license their software without charging by the amount of content I produce, I need to know how to relate MT templates to WP templates. More important is the need to understand how the pieces fit together to produce the final look of a weblog.

All of my attempts thus far at style-switching, changing stylesheets manually and importing the ”look” of Rodent Regatta into WordPress have failed. No matter the success of the weekend in small things, the big thing I’ve been trying to grasp for almost three years remains in the fog. Frustrating.

  • * * UPDATE * * * To the original five entries I created in the WordPress test site, I imported all of the entries (over 4000) from this site. Now, the WordPress site won’t validate. Here’s the message:
    Sorry, I am unable to validate this document because on lines 627, 1037 it contained one or more bytes that I cannot interpret as utf-8 (in other words, the bytes found are not valid values in the specified Character Encoding). Please check both the content of the file and the character encoding indication.

How in the world do all these great designers create such grand-looking sites that validate and comply with all the semantic, accessible and standards-based rules? The more I learn, the less I know.

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