Just a collection of random works – Mark Knol

Tag Archives: wordpress

Stroep – New design (1)

August 11th, 2009, under Stroep.

Almost 1 year since my first post. I already updated my blog to a newer WordPress installation. But since my design was getting older, I was tired looking at it. It looks a little bit messy. I think the layout (top nav, left content, right sidebar) interacts nice; so I keep this layout. But the design was a little bit overdone and I was not totally happy and I hacked multiple times layout things to it. More browsers didn’t like my site anymore.

Stroep v1

Stroep v1

I just want has to look better.

Last time I downloaded a theme as basic for my design and edited it. First I felt a little bit ashamed doing this. I am a designer and I can design and build my own theme. But.. I don’t have the time to reinvent the wheel of creating themes. So I don’t feel ashamed anymore. I think it’s smart using good templates as start for creating personal(!) blogs. Oops.. I did it again :) I used this Linetech as start for the design. It’s a great theme. I easily modified it to my stroep-style.
I love the sidebar from my previous design. You can switch between comments/recent post. So I kept this principle. I pimped my tag-cloud too. It has random colors. Don’t ask me why; I think it just looks cool and I never seen it before too btw. Speaking of random; the header images shows some random art too.

Stroep v2

Stroep v2

I always wanted a clean dark layout with art in the header. I found some great wood-patterns. These are great because I really think this patterns make the blog more ‘friendly’ in comparison to a noisy background or a solid dark color. I know dark layouts have downsides; It’s less readable. Well for now I can live with it. The pro of a dark design is it makes art/photography look more beautiful. This blog is mostly about generative art or topics about flash related stuff, so I think its worth giving a dark design a try.

I also removed 2 advertising-blocks, and just added it 1 to the sidebar. Nobody clicks it anyway. So it doesn’t have to break my new layout (yet). If someone wants to have a banner on this site (which has something to do with design/art/programming or related things), just contact me. I have about 1000 visitors a month.

My blog looks better (not perfectly the same) in modern browsers. If you use IE6 you get a nice update message. My philosophy is we all need to stop supporting old crappy browsers and notify unlearned or conservative users. I used transparent PNG’s, rounded corners with CSS, and all without any fix for browsers who doesn’t support it. For my blog I don’t care and to be honest I feel forceful not having to support ‘them’.

Hope you like it! Let me know what you guys think.

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Hyper cache pluginI installed the ‘Hyper cache‘-plugin yesterday. It minifies my output-html and posts are saved as static files on the server and the plugin enables gzip-compression. It automatically clears cache and starts over after one day. I don’t like to promote shit, but this plugin rocks! :D

Minifiy html profit

Homepage index before:45,5 Kb
Homepage index after:44,7 Kb
Total:0.8 Kb

Well, this doesn’t change the world. But check this out:

G-zip compression profit

Documents (2 files)18 KB (49 KB uncompressed)
Images (44 files)124 KB
Scripts (6 files)35 KB (112 KB uncompressed)
Style Sheets (1 file)3 KB (21 KB uncompressed)
Total:180 KB (305 KB uncompressed)

Do you see? My content is 305 KB without compression. Now it is served as 180 KB! ;) Anyway; G-zip compression is very good if you need to safe bandwidth, but don’t forget you have some higher server load. I guess it also uses some more CPU at the client side. If you want to learn more about g-zip compression, it is already better explained on

Sending compressed data is very interesting. I think the world would be better place if every wordpress-installation has a cache plugin. :)

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Just a quick but handy tip I’ve found on this post from smashing magazine.

A lot of people who are using twitter, use tinyURL to create very small links for longer URL’s of blogposts or cool links. Its very powerful solution and cost just a little bit time to create, but you can help ‘the twittering people’ by automatically create the tinyURL-link in your post.
Here’s how you can do this in WordPress. It cost less than 2 minutes too implement :)

Just go to design > theme editor > functions.php and add this function

function getTinyUrl($url) {  
     $tinyurl = file_get_contents("".$url);  
     return $tinyurl;  

Basically you can use this function for every site, but for WordPress it’s handy to use the permalink to create the URL:

In the theme editor > single.php you can add this line where ever you want to show the link to the tidyURL.

 $turl = getTinyUrl(get_permalink($post->ID));  
 echo ‘Tiny URL: <a href="’.$turl.‘">’.$turl.‘</a>’;

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