We have a new Theme

Finally, I managed to get a new outfit for D$. I fondly call this new theme DS Premium though it is up to you readers to figure out whether it is good or not. It was never an easy decision to move out my old theme that was somehow close to my heart. However, it was keeping my WordPress upgrade decisions on hold and finally I decided to get rid of the old clothes while upgrading the blogging engine (to WordPress 2.7.1) as well.

DS Premium was not created from ground up by myself. I should confess that I copied some code from here and there though almost 80% of what you see was coded over the past 2 weeks. These changes include revamping the core theme files, styles, images, new logo etc.

Features of DS Premium

The following are some of the cool features of the new theme:

  • Super fast and feather light: The entire theme including images, style sheets, scripts and all PHP files come below 150KB. If it still loads slow that is because HostMonster shared hosting sucks (will be soon moving to HostGator)
  • Compact header/footer: I really wanted the theme to be lean from head to tail and hence opted for this simple style. This also give a good amount of above-the-fold content/sidebar space
  • XHTML compliant and cross-browser compatible: While developing the theme I continuously checked for cross-browser compatibility (on mobile browsers as well) and it looks decent on almost all browsers. IE 6.0 has some minor issues but that is not too bad. After installing the tweetmeme plugin, some compatibility has been lost though
  • Four sidebars (widgetized): I badly wanted this left sidebar to do some experiments with subscription and AdSense blocks
  • SEO Optimized: I did some experiments with SEO this time. Sidebar headings get H3 this time while single post H1, H2, H3 sequence is maintained and the homepage gets H1 on the logo. I am still experimenting to see if the left sidebar content will push the single post H1 too down the page. Any idea here? However, I intend to stuff the left sidebar with some category keywords
  • Simple threaded comments: I think so

Pending activities

The following are the pending activities:

  • Need to standardize some of the styles (e.g. page navigation at the bottom)
  • Need to stuff AdSense blocks at the right places and also conditionally for search/referral users
  • I have to work on an IE bug that causes an extra ‘Read more’ at the bottom of the homepage
  • Some of the post content needs to be edited for images to have max 500px width, to include H2, H3 tags etc
  • Need to remove certain post categories
  • D$ Tools need to be moved to the new style
  • Widgetize the footer area
  • Some of my old plugins are yet to be tested on WordPress 2.7.1 (e.g. Subscribe to comments) and activated

Your feedback

Unfortunately (though a decent programmer) I am not a web designer. I am not entirely happy with the final final outcome although structurally this is what I wanted. You folks need to tell me how you find the new theme and please provide your valuable feedback on any improvement areas, accessibility-readability issues, font size-color issues, widget reorganizing potential, bugs, script errors etc. Please note that it is still a work in progress and only your feedback can make this short project successful (Feel free to test the threaded comments feature)

I intend to write a post on a how I went about developing this theme. Believe me, there are quite a few lessons learned!

Disclaimer: If you see unmistakable similarity between DS Premium and some of the leading blogs in the same niche, it’s purely intentional :)

Comments

  1. The blog looks great with the new theme

  2. Chetan :

    I think you missed one thing.. The Favicon !!
    You should design a new favicon for your new theme :)

    Chetan\´s last blog post… Microsoft’s new search engine : Bing !!

  3. Hesham :

    Very nice blog template you have here!

    Hesham\´s last blog post… ComLuv network and CommentLuv plugin are READY

  4. Raju :

    I guess I am late, but the theme looks just great!! especially the typography, its not too big, not too small, but just right!! interesting to see the left sidebar, let me know how adsense performs there :)

    Raju\´s last blog post… GZip Compression and WordPress

  5. Harish | Blogging Kid :

    This theme looks like copy blogger theme. Anyway great theme and logo. looks superb :)

  6. Nice theme Ajith. It looks very professional and clean. And the Logo looks nice.

    Madhur Kapoor´s last blog post… Quickly Kill a Running or Hanging Process with ProcessKO

  7. @Harish, Ha ha… everyone knew that and you said it :) As I mentioned in the disclaimer, it was intentional… In fact, it’s 70% copyblogger, 10% problogger and 10% daily blog tips and 10% my own imagination.

    @Madhur, thanks.. A lot of people however did not like the logo :(

  8. moserw :

    Well it looks good. I checked your blog after a few days and I thought I was on the wrong blog. But like I said it does look good. Very light on the eyes and makes for easy reading.

    moserw´s last blog post… How To Partner With God?

  9. Thanks Rajeev :) I have some more work in pending…but as you know, life is hectic at (real) work owing to recession and related pressure

  10. joabng :

    it looks good. easy to navigate.
    HMMM..possible to use for my blog too?

  11. well, nice and pleasant looking theme.
    good :)

  12. Load time is of paramount importance in a world where the audience is notoriously fickle, and a slow loading page can quite easily cause a web surfer to go elsewhere.

    Page size is fixed now, so it seems like your hosting provider needs looking at next, as you stated. What are your longer term plans with regards to a hosting service provider?

  13. @joabng, not for now. I however, plan to release a different version of this theme sometime later

    @php programmer, thanks

    @Jacques, I am taking one step at a time. There are a couple of pages (tools) on this site that needs to be moved on to the new theme as well. After that, probably I will switch to a better hosting service

  14. You have done a very good job on your new theme. But I would like to comment a little bit.

    If you can edit your “main categories”, “resources”, “popular posts” and the rest, make the first word capital letter, “Main Categories” will be looked nicer.

    It’s just my opinion. :)

    Regards,
    Lee

    Make Money Online´s last blog post… Adsense Is Still The KING

  15. @Lee, I need to make a few more changes… will incorporate your suggestion and see how it looks :)

  16. mc :

    nice theme,i am new blogger and just start blogging

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