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Perishable Press

Welcome to the Old Site

After many weeks of hellish labor, Perishable Press is redesigned with some significant changes to the main structure of the site. Before the 2011 site renovation, the site operated from a subdirectory WordPress installation in the following location:

https://perishablepress.com/press/

For years the site grew from that subdirectory, which now includes more than 20 themes that you can use to change the look and feel of the site. Content included on the “old” /press/ branch ranges in time from 2005 to 2011, featuring over 800 pages and countless scripts, examples & demos.

Evolving Focus

At first, the topics were random, then soon began to focus on anything related to creativity, art, or design. In 2005, the site’s first “official” tagline reflected the site’s ambitious, if not hazy focus:

Exploring creativity, inspiration, and artistic expression

At the time, it fit well, but as I got deeper into web-design and development, the site’s content shifted almost entirely to stuff like WordPress, (X)HTML, CSS, PHP, HTAccess, and so forth. In 2007, the tagline changed again to reflect the site’s clearer focus:

Perishable Press – Digital Design & Dialogue

And that worked well until this most recent design, which essentially “ends” the publishing of new content on the old /press/ subdirectory and continues it on the site’s new installation of WordPress:

https://perishablepress.com/perish/

This new subdirectory WordPress installation uses the site root, https://perishablepress.com, as the site address, enabling a much simpler permalink structure for the new site:

/%postname%/

The shorter URLs are nice, and there are many other benefits as well, but along with this new installation of WordPress came several challenges, including fun stuff like:

  • How to combine local site search to include both WP installs
  • How to combine/configure all of the feeds for both WP installs
  • How to enable cross-site theming using alternate themes
  • The best way to display content from one site on the other (& vice versa)

If I get the time, I’ll post on some of the solutions and workarounds I found for these challenges, but for now suffice it to say that the new site is in full production mode and working great. And I’m still working on tying everything together “sidebar/link-wise” (e.g., Top-10 Posts, et al), but overall, I enjoy the newness of it all and consider very much a work in progress, much like moving into a new home, or a blank canvas or whatever.

And for the “old” site, this is the final post – number 776, ironically enough. All of the content – pages, posts, images, scripts, etc. – will remain online for as long as I own the site, and the main content feed is now redirected to the new site feed, so subscribers will continue to receive new content. All buckled up for the long haul, as it were.

New Design, Old Design

Along with all of these changes comes a brand new design. Skinning both WP installs, the new “Tether” theme is built with HTML5 and plenty of CSS3. I finally grew tired of all the “I absolutely hate your ‘light-on-dark’ design and despise you forever for making me try to read it” emails, so “ta-da” – dark text on a light background, and with fine-tuned custom typography to make reading even easier. Even so, the new fancy pants may not please everyone, so here is a quick menu for choosing a more suitable theme (links open new window or tab):

  • Tether – current theme
  • Serious – clean, light-on-dark design
  • Requiem – clean, dark-on-light design
  • Quintessential – colorful, dark-on-light design
  • Perishable – ultimate black & white theme
  • Complete Menu of all available themes

Incidentally, if you like the new theme, I’ll soon be releasing a more basic version of it called “Quantify”. The Quantify theme will be available at DigWP.com as an exclusive theme included with the book. I’m sure to tweet more about it soon enough.

Here’s to the future

So that’s it for this database! Comments on the old site will remain open for select articles, but will eventually be closed and filtered for junk. Going forward, all the action will be at The New Perishable Press, with lots of fresh web-design and WordPress code & tutorials, thus the new tagline:

Perishable Press – WordPress, Web Design, Code & Tutorials

More important than the tagline, design, and all of that is the content. This is what I do. Every day, all day. Not literally. But you know what I mean, I live and breathe this stuff – designing, developing, blogging – and this is where I share as much of it as possible, so thanks for being a part of Perishable Press.

Update: Theme renovations complete

After many grueling weeks of relentless determination and tedious repetition, I am pleased to announce the return of the entire collection of Perishable Press themes. Enabling users to change the appearance and functionality of the site, the fifteen unique themes were dismantled several months ago for the ongoing Perishable Press site renovation.

Since then, links referring to the removed themes had been redirected to a temporary “Labs” subdomain (labs.perishablepress.com), which featured various installations of WordPress populated with “lorem ipsum” filler text. Although this was suitable as a temporary fix for those interested in exploring the different themes, full theme renovation and restoration remained an ongoing task that finally (finally!) reached its conclusion late last week.

Each alphabet theme is painstakingly tested and optimized. During the process, many structural, organizational, and asthetic improvements were made. Each theme now operates independently, requiring no files (images, scripts, etc.) beyond those contained within the theme directory itself.

Further, each theme has been integrated into a sitewide error-logging process whereby all errors (PHP, 404, htaccess, etc.) are logged in a centralized location and appended with plenty of theme-specific information. Thus, if someone begins to experience issues with one of these newly restored themes, I will be the first to know. This is important as people begin to use the themes under different circumstances (operating systems, user agents, extensions, etc.).

I tested as much as possible to ensure universal functionality, but must admit a significant reliance and dependence on Web Standards throughout the entire restoration process. Thus, if something breaks on Internet Explorer, I would not be surprised ;)

Update: Looking back and moving on..

Renovating and restoring my collection of alphabet themes has proven both challenging and enlightening. It took every ounce of effort and determination I could possibly muster to keep my nose to the grindstone night after night, day after day, meticulously contemplating and reworking endless lines of atrociously written code, perpetually sleuthing and resolving conflicts and inconsistencies, and continuously dealing with crashing servers, impatient support help, and unappreciative ticket responses.

I spent a solid month working on this project — righting the many wrongs that had plagued many of my previous themes — and can honestly say it may have been the most rigorous, grueling experience I have yet encountered while developing my computer skills.

Fortunately, the process was also very enlightening. Going through and reworking old code is a great way to observe progress. Some of my oldest themes had not been touched in over two years! And let me tell you, I may not know much about PHP, XHTML, CSS, or JavaScript now, but two years ago I knew virtually nothing! You would so laugh if I told you about some of the code I found lurking in those old theme files.

Beyond recognition of progress, I also benefited by the additional exposure to WordPress. The entire theme process is so crystal clear to me know — loops, tags, templates, hooks — I am excited to move ahead and start fresh with a new theme design. Finally, the most practical benefit of renovating all these themes is that they are all once again working well and available for customizing the look and feel of Perishable Press. These themes represent a significant phase of my Web design experience, and now that they are preserved and restored online, I hope you enjoy them!

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Designer. Developer. Producer. Writer. Editor. Etc.
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