Themes – The Hard Way!

I don’t know about other blogs, but for WordPress there is a bewildering variety of different themes to choose from. Fortunately, if you are running a free basic blog at WordPress, the selection is vastly smaller. So, you have a look through the themes on offer, choose one, and survey the result to see if it does what you need.

I started out with the default theme, and added my own header picture. I might have stayed with the Kubrick header if the theme had been clever enough to notice that I was running Image Magic, but it wasn’t, and the header stayed obstinately blue. No, I needed a new theme – but which one?

After downloading a few, and trying them out on my own computer, I began to refine my requirements a little. I needed something that would give me plenty of space for text, and a sidebar that would not take up too much of the screen. This was all the more important as I was intending to put a lot of pages in, and didn’t want the list to get too big.

After some chopping and changing, I finally settled on the one you see now – ‘Silver is the new Black’ – but there was a hitch. I found no way of downloading the theme for my own use!

After a lot of searching around, I finally found it on Alex King’s site, and gleefully took the zip file home. When unzipped and loaded onto the server, however, I was confronted with the sad report “Broken Theme”, and couldn’t use it after all! This puzzled me a little, of course, but sure enough when I looked, the reason was obvious – all I had was the CSS file, and nothing else.

So, what to do now? Well, the first thought was to contact the theme’s author, but there I drew a blank too. Following the author’s link in the CSS file gave a message saying that his website was no longer available – dead end!.

Now what? Well, if in doubt – Google!

It soon became apparent the even our trusty friend was having a very hard time with this one. A search on “Silver is the new Black” came up with lots of results, its true, but almost none of them were relevant, and Alex King I had already ruled out.

A setback, yes, but not defeat. I was determined, and thought if there is no other way, “do it yourself”! So, starting with the files for the default theme, and the CSS from Alex King’s site, I tried to tweak the software so that it looked like the page from the web. I was having some success, but only to a certain point, and no further. The sidebar links would not turn red, no matter what I tried.

After checking all the ‘divs’, the ‘ul’s’ and the ‘li’s’ for matching pairs and correct placement, I was puzzled – it was all correct. It should work, but it didn’t.

Then I had a thought. I wonder if …

And that was it! I put the html file generated by my own system with the downloaded files from the web – and lo and behold – “Red Links”! I quickly checked the CSS file from the web with the one I had from Alex King, and found a difference of 4k in the file size. No comment!

I suppose there is a motto in there somewhere, but we will ignore that for now. If anybody wants a complete “Silver is the New Black” theme, the file is here. It will not give you a “broken theme” message when you load it in, but it has not been thoroughly tested, and therefore no guarantees. It does the job I need, and you are welcome to take it from there.

Note. For reasons of security, this site does not allow a “.zip” file to be uploaded. If you download the file, you will first need to rename it to “silver.zip” to unpack it. (The file size is given as 53.4 Kbytes).

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