Silacom Alley revamp – Come see!

First of all, I’d like to thank you for reading Silacom Alley.  I’ve recently looked at the stats and they have suddenly jumped.  This is very positive news for me this had originally intended to be a place where I just documented some of the things I discovered on the web.  It has also helped me improve my CSS and PHP skills as well as an appreciation for making a site aesthetically pleasing (I hope).  Let’s just say I like to tweak.  I’m a part time Pixel Pusher!

And with that I have attempted to redesign the site from the ground up.  You might not notice a whole lot of difference to the site but let me just explain some of changes:

The Template: Before, I was using a modified version of the Modernist Theme by Rodrigo Galindez. It’s an excellent clean and crisp template but I decided to set myself the challenge of building my own theme from the ground up. Well almost…. I used the default WordPress Theme, Twenty Eleven, as my base and reconfigured the style sheets, templates and php coding through a lot of trial and error.  Using Google’s Chrome Inspect Element functionality (right click on a webpage and you’ll seethe option) was really useful too to find where I was going wrong and where I needed to change things.  It’s a really good piece of kit as I was able to update the CSS style within the inspector and see the site change in real time. Previously I’ve made minor amendments to other WP themes but this is the first full scale one.  It was a fun challenge and really enjoyed the learning process.  Please let me know if you see any quirky things that don’t look right!

Sharing Links Vs. Original Work: After over 150 posts in the last 2 months I looked at the what I was writing.  The count between me sharing other content and my own work was about a 95:5 split.  That was predicted.  But from the perspective of a contributor or a reader of my site, it just didn’t work well. So I hope I have made it easier for both of us.  Going forward if you read my site directly (as in type in www.silmonli.com/blog), then you’ll see 2 types of posts:

  1. One’s where I share links and sometimes I may add a comment.  These type of posts are also know as “linked list” posts. Linked List posts will have the title bolded and the background showing up as pale yellow. If you click on this then you’ll be sent directly to the site where I originally found the content.  You’ll also notice an infinity symbol () next to the title.  Clicking on this will take you to the permalink on my site just in case you wanted to add a comment on what I share.
  2. One’s where I post my own original content – These posts will be as normal, the title of the post will be slightly bigger with no background colour but when you hover over it, the background will change colour. Clicking on this title will take to the permalink.

So hopefully that will make it easier for you!  It definitely has for me, especially when I’m updating the site.

RSS feeds: For those of you that subscribe via RSS, I haven’t forgotten about you.  I have  been able to integrate the changes that I have done on the site into the RSS feed too.  You’ll now see a few symbols and in the feed and all you have to remember when reading posts are:

  • means that this is original content or opinions posted by me. If you click on the title it will take you directly to the post on Silacom Alley.
  • means that this is a linked list post. If you click on the title it will take you directly to the article from the RSS feed instead of going to Silacom Alley and thus saving you time.
  • will always be at the end of a linked list post and if you click on this it take you to the permalink on Silacom Alley.
So that’s it. I hope the changes are positive. Please let me know your thoughts or if you feel up to a challenge, then let me know and I might be able to help.

Lastly, I couldn’t have done this without the help of the following:

My theme was inspired by the langer.tumblr theme for Tumblr originally designed by Matt Langer.

YJ Soon’s DF-Linked List Plugin allowed me to separate Linked List posts and my own posts and filter this down to my RSS feed.  With a little help from his website, I was able to make the amendments in my content.php and functions.php templates and make it work on my site too.

Finally, inspiration for the look and feel of Silacom Alley come from some of my favourite sites:

I encourage you to read what they write.

Please note, these changes will be in effect from today. Any past posts will not be amended.

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