Nearly nine months ago, the new version of Some Random Dude was launched. The introductory post mentioned that all work showcased on the site would be created with the intention of being publicly released. The most notable piece, being the theme of this very blog. Yet, here we are and still no theme has been released. Now, this is not due to my decision to reneg on that deal. More simply, it is because the theme was a complete and utter mess that was nearly impossible to release in any way that would be discernible or useful to anyone but myself. In addition, there were many facets of this theme that I felt missed the mark or did not end up working out as planned. Therefore, I took a step back and tackled the redesign of this site 180 degrees from how I initially did. I designed and created the WordPress theme for public use first and its (tentatively) ready for you to use.

Straight To Business

I am aware most of you are quite uninterested in hearing about my process or the background of this project, so if you want to cut to the chase, check out the theme for yourself and, if you like it, download the theme.

Screenshots

Even more so than its predecessor, the Franklin Street theme is conforms strongly to its grid system. The grid is a 14 column setup and has proven to be extremely flexible for my own personal needs. I am hoping that it will be the same for public use.

About The Theme

The Franklin Street theme was designed specifically for displaying a large and diverse range of content on the front page. Some Random Dude is essentially a lifestream blog where I pull in content from my online accounts. The main problem was that the content I was generating varied drastically size, format and importance. Simply stacking them vertically did not seem to be the proper way to handle the information. Therefore, I created a tiered system where each type of content was put into one of three buckets — large format, medium format and small format. Large format content is consists of blog posts, medium format contains mainly images and photos and small format is filled with Twitter updates, Delicious links, etc. This design element was the most important piece of the previous design and it is remaining unchanged in the new version. This format, however, makes the theme somewhat of a niche design as most people will not have the need (or the desire) to format their content in this way. It is important to know that just like this site, this theme actively blocks IE6 and Safari 2.0. If that is not your thing, you may want to pass on this theme.

Differences Between Old And New

From a visual perspective, I think the differences are quite obvious. This theme was designed for public use as the top priority, so the visual treatment is restrained and designed in order to maximize flexibility. One of the biggest changes is just its sheer drop in weight. The old theme is heavy, almost beyond practicality. The new theme uncompressed is still smaller than the old theme fully compressed. Additionally, the markup is far more minimal than the older version as well — making maintenance and alterations less of a nightmare. Lastly, all Javascript effects you see in the old site have been removed as I did not want to make the assumption that people would want that on by default. I may create add-on packs in the future for those who would like said effects.

I am a firm believer that all good projects involving code are written (at least) twice. I feel like the old theme was well-intentioned, but ultimately missed the mark on some very important features. I have submitted the theme to WordPress with the hope that it will be added to their theme collection. Once the dust settles and all the bugs/mistakes have been cleared away, I will begin the process of implementing this theme on my site. This theme will have some custom alterations made to fit my needs more snugly — I will be happy to share the final implementation of this theme for my site if anyone is interested.

Feedback Is Golden

Let me know your thoughts on this theme and if you have any ideas on improving it. Like all projects that have yet to see the light of day, it is probably missing the mark in various ways. Let me know if you know of a way to improve upon it.