New blog look

I've rolled out a new look and new structure for this blog today. The goal was to make it more readable and usable, and to refine the scope a bit. In the past I've covered various Office developer topics, but going forward I'll be focused 100% on Open XML, so I felt that required a few structural changes.

Here's one thing I learned that I'll pass on to others who are on Community Server blog platforms: not all skins are created equal. Specifically, I mean that different skins ("themes") have different CSS structure and that has a big impact on how easy it is to customize your blog.

For example, there are some sections in the sidebar that didn't get a unique div ID in my old theme (Simple) but do have an ID in my new theme (Vanilla), and that made it much easier to customize the sidebar with CSS overrides. So if you're struggling with how to customize something, try a different theme and see whether that simplifies the details.

One thing I still haven't figured out is how to sort the lists on the Links page. If anybody has a suggestion, I'd love to hear it. The frustrating thing is that the links are sorted alphabetically when you're in edit mode, but not when they're displayed. If there's really no option to sort the lists, I'll change that links page to a static page later, to give myself full control over the presentation details.

I changed the header photo "while I was at it." That other picture was taken last year at a bar after a couple of pints, and I felt it made me look a little more entertaining than I really am during the sober workday. Truth in advertising, you know.

Comments (5)
  1. mahamoud aka says:

    I am mahamoud aka working at the moment in Libya at desert region. I can give advice of some good places to visit and can give advice of some good helpers. Just ask your questions about desert libya. I will try to answer you.


  2. Doug Mahugh says:

    Hi Mahamoud.  As you can see, I made another change "while I was at it" — anonymous comments are enabled.

    I’d love to visit Libya.  That one might be a bit hard to work into an Open XML trip, but you never know.

  3. Tom says:

    I don’t know if the .aspx-based version of the MSDN blogs work the same way as the PHP versions of WordPress and Nucleus that I’ve used, but it may be worth digging around and trying to find the query itself. Then you can just add a simple "ORDER BY blah"?

    Of course, if you want to simply order them in some preferred (but not queryable) fashion, I guess you’d have to hope that the table is already set up with some sortorder field and then go tweak that manually. Could you sort links before?

  4. Doug Mahugh says:

    Hi Tom,

    I never used the list functionality before, but the theme selection just changes how the page is rendered, and thoses lists are each un-sorted in a single div so I’m guessing it would work the same regardless of the theme.  And the query is in a compiled page I don’t have access to, so I’ll probably go to a static page.  It’s not content that changes very often, so that won’t be a big problem.

    Another weekend project …

  5. MSDN Archive says:

    Looking good!

    Mike Walker

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