Thematic – A Simple Designer’s Tale


Wordpress. Blogging lovelyness.

Over the past few years I’ve tried out quite a few Content Management Systems: Subdreamer, Drupal, Mambo, Joomla, but was never quite satisfied with them for one reason or another. After many years of moving from one system after another, I’m now using a system that actually works for me, that doesn’t make me want to furnish a wall with my forehead..

When I first started doing web design, web sites were hard coded static sites that only a geeks could create. Normal folk were still reading book and using words to communicate, if you were to mention the names Facebook and Twitter you would probably be put in a padded room and stared at through a little window..

Soon enough the web became more accessible, and regular people could administer their website or blog with Content Management Systems.

I started with Subdreamer, a commercial system that put me off to a good start. I was lured away though by open source platforms such as Drupal and Mambo. However,  I didn’t really have the time to figure out Drupal despite how powerful it is; Mambo had all the controversy of the original team leaving to start up Joomla; Joomla I stuck with for a couple of websites for a few years; but it was the simplicity and user friendly approach of WordPress that won me round in the end.

I tried out WordPress by quickly putting the site Bear Around The World together, a fund raising site for Katie who has Extra Pyramidal Cerebral Palsy. The site was well received and I was impressed with how quick and easy it was to launch. I’ve been working on the web for over a decade and coming across a system that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out and throw the computer out of the window is somewhat surprising.

Though it wasn’t really a CMS to start with, WordPress has grown to offer pretty much all you need for a regular website. The support is pretty good too, I got through many problems thanks to the support forums. Plus there are so many sites with tutorials on how to start, such as this one by Ian Stewart.

It was from this article that I discovered Theme Frameworks, and Thematic in particular. By creating a Child Theme using an established framework you can simplify the skinning process, and cut development time significantly. Plus the structure and CSS that Thematic uses means you can achieve a specific level of control over your design.

This is where I am now with this site. It works, and suits the direction I’m going in. Well, that is until I decide to ditch the web altogether and start reading books again..

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