Archive for October, 2005

Static Homepages On A WordPress Site

October 24, 2005

NOTE! Due to a change in WordPress’s .htaccess commands, the following procedure does not work in WordPress 2 and above. The advice below seems to work in WordPress 1.5.x only.

Mikemariano.com runs WordPress from the root directory, meaning all of the feeds, blog entries, and pages get passed through http://mikemariano.com/index.php. Left alone, this would make the front page of my site my weblog, but I didn’t want it that way. I wanted a static introductory page, underneath which would be my weblog and my work. Getting this static page was easy: I wrote a webpage, named it index.html, and uploaded it to the main directory. I can’t vouch for everyone’s server, but on mine, index.html overrules index.php: type in http://mikemariano.com/ and my static homepage appears.

That takes care of the homepage; next I changed a few WordPress options to get my weblog where I wanted it.

In Options → General, my WordPress Address and Blog Address are both http://mikemariano.com (by default it has no slash; I don’t know why, but I’ve left it alone).

Why is the Blog Address not http://mikemariano.com/weblog? Because this would also effect the Pages WordPress creates, putting them as well as everything else in the weblog directory. Since I want my plays to be listed at mikemariano.com/plays/, I did not change the Blog Address.

But what about the archives, single entries, and categories? Things that are supposed to be within the weblog? These can be changed in the Permalinks menu.

In Options → Permalinks, my Permalink Structure has been entered as /weblog/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/. My Category base is /weblog/category.

Now individual entries, yearly/monthly/daily archives, and categories all fall within the weblog. Feeds and pages remain at the root level, which is fine with me. Only one thing is missing:

There is still no such thing as http://mikemariano.com/weblog/!

This requires changes outside of WordPress. I have added the following three lines to the .htaccess file on my server after WordPress’s automatic additions:


RewriteRule ^weblog/$ /index.php
RewriteRule ^weblog$ /index.php
RewriteRule ^weblog/page/?([0-9]{1,})/?$ /index.php?&paged=$1 [QSA,L]

Briefly, here is what those three lines are saying:

  1. When someone asks for /weblog/, send them to /index.php
  2. When someone asks for /weblog (no trailing slash), send them to /index.php
  3. When someone asks for a previous weblog page, send them there.

For a final touch, I have allowed my index.html file to be editable by WordPress. Using Manage → Files, I can edit my static homepage without ever leaving WordPress.

Equix

October 23, 2005

Here at Mike Mariano dot WordPress dot com, we will dedicate ourselves to the behind the scenes operations at Mike Mariano dot com, my site for theatre and playwriting.

The current theme at my site is a heavily modified version of equiX by Marcos Sader. I chose Sader’s theme for one main reason:

equiX respects the single entry.

What I loved the most about the Kubrick theme is that it recognized how simple a single, permalinked weblog entry should be. On it is the entry, its metadata and comments, and navigation to only the next and previous entries. No monthly calendar, no brief biography, nothing. We readers have seen it already. And even if we have never been to the site and want to plunder the archives, we will start with the main weblog page, to which there is always a link. equiX continued this understanding started by Kubrick.

This may not seem like much, but countless other themes make their single entry pages look just like the main weblog. This is far too busy; it drowns readers in information they’ve already read. Nearly all of the current WordPress.com themes make this mistake.

I chose equiX over Kubrick because of the color scheme and the top navigation. Then I added a new picture, increased the font size, and gutted a lot of the code. I like the look, but lingering doubts make me want to redesign again. Horray!

PS: These WordPress.com themes are really really sloppy work! The Green MarinĂ©e theme is the worst offender. It has hard-coded the word “the” to the beginning of the date. If you keep the default date display in your Options, you get awful phrases like “Posted by Mike on the October 23nd, 2005.” Unacceptable!