WordPress blog with customised themes and plugins. Over the years, I have either modified the themes and plugins of other authors, or have created my own from scratch, depending on the effect I needed to achieve.
I started playing around with blogs in about 2004, and set up my first live WordPress installation in 2005. Initially I was satisfied simply experimenting with the available themes and plugins, but eventually I wanted a more unique style, and some specific plugin functionality that I couldn't find in the plugin library.
My solution was to begin developing my own theme and plugins. My general principle is not to reinvent the wheel, so where possible I tried to find a theme or plugin that most closely matched what I wanted in terms of style, and then make modifications to it. Sometimes this was very successful, but other times it wasn't. Many of the themes available were very badly coded, and did not produce anything close to valid, well structured output. I switched tack to writing the base code for the page myself, and then just adapting the specific styles from other themes into my site.
With plugins, I usually found that I was able to take a plugin and modify it to suit me. For instance, I use the Evermore plugin to automatically add a tag after the first paragraph of each post. This means that in search results and on the home page, only the first paragraph is shown, along with a link for the user to click to read more. However, I wanted the first post on the first page to always be shown in full, so I modified the plugin to include that functionality. While I was writing my thesis, I wanted a plugin where I could enter my latest word and page counts and have them displayed in the blog. There was nothing similar to this in the plugin library, so I created my own.
Rangitoto Theme 1
The Rangitoto theme was the first that I heavily customised myself. This was my active theme from 2004 until 2007.
Thesis Status Plugin
I included a custom plugin to allow me to easily updatet he number of words and pages in my thesis.
Rangitoto Theme 2
The second edition of the Rangitoto theme was created from scratch, with style elements borrowed from other themes. This was my active theme from 2008 until 2013. For the first few years it had a single sidebar, and was later modified to have two sidebars. I liked the focus on the content, with the sidebar and footer visually less prominent due to being positioned on the background colour. Other areas I focused on were the blog post header and the set of subscribe buttons in the sidebar.
Rangitoto theme post header details
Rangitoto theme subscribe sidebar widget
Rangitoto theme footer
Content First Theme
This theme was developed from a bare skeleton in 2013. As the title suggests, I wanted the focus to be on the content, and thus all the navigation elements were moved to the footer. The typography and spacings are optimised for an easy reading experience. The theme is entirely elastic, that is, relative to font sizes. It is also responsive, although only a few modifications to the footer layout are necessary to accommodate small mobile screens.
Content First page styles
My own themes are always a work in progress. I intermittently add to them as I come across a really good idea I see on the web and want to incorporate it into my own blog.