I started poking around the WordPress site, looking for hints on optimizing page rendering performance. There’s the usual bit of flaming going on in the forums, in fact when I read one thread with two people arguing about whether MySQL was a real database in which one of the parties claimed that all real databases, i.e. Oracle, did most everything meaningful using stored procedures, I thought for a moment I had travelled back in time and was reading Usenet.
After determining the database queries weren’t likely to be too bad with the size of my blog, though the queries and schema could probably use some optimization, I read that wordpress itself is the more likely bottleneck. I happened across Andy Skelton’s post about poorly coded themes, and thought this Sandbox theme sounded interesting.
Now I’ve never been too big on writing web pages, it always seemed too much like drudgery to me, but this CSS thing is pretty cool. Separating your model/data/text from the view/presentation, well, I spend a lot of time on things like that at work and think it’s an interesting class of problem. So I figured I’d take the opportunity to learn a bit more about CSS, and you know, it’s almost like coding, but without all the pesky comments. I had previously hacked up a CSS theme by changing the header background picture and some of the colors, but now I figured I’d port my hacked theme to the Sandbox, which is a skinnable, generic wordpress theme.
I’m partway there now, and now that I’m reading and learning what all those funny tags mean and how they relate to the php theme and the rendered page, I’m fixing a few of the things that always bugged me about my theme. I have another wordpress install I use to test things out, so you can check out my progress if you’re curious.
About the only thing that’s bugging me enough to keep from taking it live is the secondary sidebar stuck down at the bottom after the main content area. The primary sidebar uses absolute positioning, but I’m not sure that’s the best way to do it. I’ll check one of the other themes to see how they handle positioning the contents relative to the sidebars, but it will probably have to wait until tomorrow.