Now Reading plugin, CSS and WordPress theme compatibility problems

I installed the Now Reading plugin written by Rob Miller to display the books I am currently reading in my sidebar. The reason I chose this plugin is because it allows you to create a database of your books and offers reviewing possibilities. Installing and configuring the plugin was easy but after adding my first book the layout of my sidebar was messed up (see picture on the left). The border of the box had disappeared and the design did not quite match the rest of the page. My first guess was that it had something to do with the hierarchy and inheritance aspect of style sheets because CSS determines how the plugin is displayed. Once the page is loaded the PHP code of the plugin is “executed” into HTML (more on this later) which is sided by the style sheet which rules the style/layout. I took a look at the PHP code from sidebar.php located in the templates folder (now-reading/templates/sidebar.php) and noticed the following:

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Design update and thoughts on coding

I recently redesigned my blog because I was not completely satisfied with the old look. I thought it was a bit too dark and a bit too messy. Instead of starting from the scratch and building my own theme I adjusted the Coffee Spot theme I was using. There is one main reason why I did not attempt to build my own theme from the scratch: I am not a coder. I am not a PHP coder I can read code and interpret most of the code so most of the time I can adjust the code to my needs but I cannot write it so that it suits my needs. I am sure I could learn it if I had the time but unfortunately time is not always on my side. I am not a CSS coder Some people argue CSS is not code while others argue that markup languages are in fact code (more on this later). I side myself with those who see CSS as code and I see and experience CSS as an executed markup code. The effects of the coding are not visible until it is interpreted and executed by a browser. I have never […]

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Thoughts on using WordPress as a thesis writing tool instead of OpenOffice

I have decided to try to blog daily about blogging and blog software to get the thesis writing process going. I am writing about blogging and blogging software using word processing software and this doesn’t seem logical. Not only does my mind turn blank whenever I open my thesis document in Open Office I am also not using the software I am writing about. WordPress is a writing tool as well and maybe it is better suited for this process. What are the differences using word processing software and blog software for writing? Personally I experience the following differences: Writing style Whenever I write an essay, a paper or a thesis I (semi-automatically) switch to an academic writing style which is more formal. This slows down the writing process because I have to rephrase sentences quite often to avoid casual spoken language writing. On top of that writing in English also requires extra time to formulate sentences. An advantage of writing blog posts is that I don’t feel this need to use formal (academic) language. This gives me more freedom in writing down whatever I feel is related to my thesis. Blogging feels more informal than writing using word processing […]

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Review: Justin Shattuck’s site

I first came into “contact” with Justin Shattuck’s when I commented on his post about WordPress Plugin Development. He seemed to be asking the same questions as I was regarding the configuring and using of WordPress plugins. I am planning on dealing with some of these issues in my MA thesis Blog Software and the Act of Blogging. When I visited his site again this morning I noticed a post titled “Write About My Site, Make A Buck.” I am not desperately in need of five dollars but I just thought it is a funny request. I kind of see the point in offering people a few dollars for their effort too: people might be inclined to take the request more seriously and instead of saying “Your site rocks” in the comments write a decent thought through post about it. I graduated in Interaction Design at the Utrecht School of Arts before I went to the University of Amsterdam to study New Media. Usability is a big issue in Interaction Design and I’ve read all the usability gurus such as Donald Norman, Lon Barfield and Ben Shneiderman. One of the main things that I immediately noticed about Justin’s site is […]

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Review: Netvibes – RSS exhaustion

I’m tired! It doesn’t matter how fast I read I never seem to be able to catch up. It is actually making me feel rather stressed out. What am I talking about? Keeping up with blogs and RSS feeds. There are two main reasons I am subscribed to tons of feeds: 1. I am doing research on blogging (I have to be in the middle of the heat and stay up-to-date right?) 2. I am an information junkie (I want to know what’s happening and where and why and I want to know it all!) To organize my feeds I started out with Feedreader, but in November it was time to try some new programs which I wrote about in a post titled “Review: Feedreader, Google Reader, Bloglines, Thunderbird RSS Reader.” In a comment Fabian suggested trying Netvibes and I have been using it ever since. Netvibes is an Ajax portal (refreshed feeds on the spot) which is completely customizable in the way it looks and how feeds are displayed. It allows me to keep my scattered digital self in once place with Google Mail, del.icio.us, MySpace and tons of other modules. You can drag and drop your feeds and […]

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