The Count has done it again with another GREAT release of his theme Binary Blue. I thought I would share how I’ve customized it to fit my blog.
This version has several things fixed that I was looking for, including improved localization via a field in the options tab. I haven’t found all of the goodies yet. I haven’t even experimented with the widgets yet. But, I did need to get my customizations back into my blog.
Step 1 – Replace stock images
The first thing I do is restore my image replacements. For example I have custom schemes\BB-Images\bg404.gif, schemes\Blue\headlineBg.jpg, and schemes\Blue\bg_3.jpg (now correctly referenced as topbanner-base.jpg) files. I suppose I should create my own scheme, but for now replacing the files is just quicker and easier. And Yes, MY binary code in the background actually says something. The first one to figure out what gets their blog added to my blog roll. I was dissapointed that The Count’s binary background didn’t seem to translate to characters. But who knows, maybe he’s tricked me by not using ASCII. 🙂
Step 2 – Restore the Link Categories
The other Big visual difference between my blog and The Counts, is that I make use of my Link categories. The Count has two categories hard coded into this theme, BlogRoll and LinkRoll. I break mine down more, for instance, you can see the links to software I use and to sites I manage. Personally, I think the Buttons section should also be included in the links section, but The Count might not like inserting button records in people’s link tables. So, I can understand why he did it with a Widget.
I’ve implemented the link categories in the Binary Blue theme (Hmmmm almost called it “Binary Blues” which also is a good name) by replacing the entire contents of the link roll block. You can find that by choosing Manage>Files and under Other Files enter wp-content/themes/WP-Binary-Blue-v110/blocks/block_linkroll.php
After making a backup, I replace everything there with the following:
SELECT DISTINCT cat_id, cat_name
WHERE cat_name <> \”Blogroll\” and cat_id = link_category
ORDER BY cat_id “, ARRAY_A);
// Now iterate the result set
// Access each line of the result set as an array
foreach ($cats as $cat)
// This li groups the entire roll up section. I give each category a unique name.
// In this fashion, they are all independent.
// This is the title bar content I did not include any title as anything I put here
// would not be localized unless Count Null’s files have a generic phrase that would work.
” . $cat[‘cat_name’] . “
// Again, the actual list of links gets a unique ID from the link category id
// Now I let WordPress do the work of displaying each category.
// One could pass other parameters here too to override default display options.
} // foreach
} // if ($cats)
That displays all of the link categories in seperate boxes, omits the blog roll (so it can be its own widget) and omits any empty link categories. Each category rolls up on its own and I rather like the result. Moving the Link Roll Widget should move all the links, but I’ll get to testing that later. I still have more customization to do.
Step 3 – Fix the header
My last step is to customize the header file. You can reach that by choosing Presentation>Theme Editor and then selecting Header from the list on the right.
Now every blogs header will be different. And the changes I make to mine should not be the change you make in yours. Plus, the header is where the meta tags are stored and many people will spend many wasted hours debating whether things like including a “Revisit-After” tag at the top of your blog does anything or not. You will also here a good bit of discussion on the HTML to CONTENT ratio. In short, your code should be short and your posts long. So, these are the settings that work best for me. It should not be surprising that The Count has different preferences. Who’s right? I don’t know, because the answer will change over time. Tags like the “Robots”, “index,follow” were needed till 1998, and then stopped being used by most search engines. Are they being observe again? I doubt it, but I think the answer really depends upon the executive boards at the big search engine.
In short, I chose to “waste” a few extra bytes here and there by including a couple of extra tags that may make my code “unprofessional” as far as the META-TAG and SEO gurus of the world are concerned. Who knows, that wasted 1K of download, might allow my site into 2 more spider engines. And with the way I ramble on, my content ratio is NOT a problem.
OK. Speech over. Here are the old meta tags starting with the line containing “publisher” and ending with the list “
Here’s my new code:
In short, I’ve kept the robots line even though it is really only supposed to be there to restrict access if you don’t have the ability to customize robots.txt. In the past at least one major search engine defaulted to Index,nofollow. So, it could happen again. I’ve also kept revisit-after. Again, some new search engine out there might start using it. That’s less likely. Again, this line is here to restrict search engines, not encourage them. You can’t say Revisit After 1 Minute and have google at your doorstep all day long.
I’ve also put in 10 keywords. Some new search engines might, maybe, look at the list, determine it is short and therefore potentially valid.
I’ve changed the author, publisher and copyright to me, no offense meant, Carsten. Notice that I have left the “Generator” (not shown here) in the header. In this fashion WordPress and Binary Blue both get some credit in the header.
Lastly I added several of the Safe Surfing headers so that people with filter software can still get to my site. Don’t copy mine, go out and get ones that are appropriate to your blog. Mislabeling your site is not the best thing to do. My settings say I am safe for everyone, there’s no swearing, and I allow user content (comments) but it is moderated.
I do make two more changes to the Header file. These are even more optional, but I like them.
First, I don’t like calling my blog page “blog” that seems rather mundane. I call it “Cavern Entrance”. Now isn’t that better?
Also, I like to be able to reach my post page directly from my blog’s main page. So, I have added a link to do just that. It is only visible if the logged in user has the rights to create posts (aka only I can see it).
Here is the old code – I’m replacing the whole topMenu div