I may be some time…

July 16, 2010

Next Wednesday I set off in a van on a 5,000 mile round trip to Istanbul to support the Istanbul to Leeds cycle challenge which aims to raise funds for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. As a result I will be more-or-less out of action from 21st July through until 31st August – I will have some access to emails but will only be able to check and respond on an irregular basis.

Hopefully before then I will finish off sites for Will Soden (plumber), Pickles and Potter (Deli/Cafe) and the Northern Dales Farmers Markets (farmers markets) as well as getting on as much as possible with the new site for Run For All (mass-participation runs). Diverse to say the least!

Oh and as a slight aside I also found something else that results in WordPress’ wonderful white screen of death – messing around too much with the chmod settings of the wp-content folder.

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A while ago, on my personal blog, I mused about things you should consider when you have that epiphany…”we need a website”, worth a read I’d say (but then I wrote it, so I would say that wouldn’t I…) http://ashmannblogs.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/so-you-think-you-want-a-website-4-things-to-consider/

I’m currently working on a new site for a client who requires a CMS. After a fair amount of research and based on my own experiences they decided that WordPress fitted the bill. So I needed to develop a bespoke theme for them.

Now I’ve messed around with tweaking wordpress themes before and it is pretty intuative. Unfortunately last night the whole thing came crashing down and I had to battle with the (apparently infamous) ‘white screen of death’ – which usually seems to be caused by a php bug. These bugs can be as simple and innocuous as an additional line break in your code (WordPress doesn’t like space it would seem). I’ve not yet tracked down the source of my ‘white screen’ issues (EDIT – I have since found the source of my bugs, it was caused by such an innocuous thing i still can’t quite get my head around it! basically i needed to remove and all space between each function in my functions.php file – i.e. so there was no space between each closing ?> tag and the following opening <?php for the next function. it’s ridiculous that such a small thing brought everything crashing down, but there you have it…) but if you’re suffering from something similar then there are numerous lists that should help troubleshoot the problem. Here are just a few that I’ve found helpful:

http://wordpress.org/support/topic/405711

http://wordpress.org/support/topic/363816

http://www.amandavandervort.com/blog/2009/12/how-i-solved-my-wordpress-white-screen-of-death/

I’d also add that if you’re considering WordPress theme development then it’s a good idea to have a good read of the documentation first (there are lots of dependancies that it’s useful to be aware of so the whole thing doesn’t come crashing down) http://codex.wordpress.org/

And there are also a number of very good tutorials around WordPress theme development. Again, here are a few I’ve found helpful:

http://www.wpdesigner.com/2007/02/19/so-you-want-to-create-wordpress-themes-huh/

http://themeshaper.com/wordpress-themes-templates-tutorial/

http://jonathanwold.com/tutorials/wordpress_theme/

http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Development

http://codex.wordpress.org/Blog_Design_and_Layout

http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/web-roundups/top-50-wordpress-tutorials/

http://net.tutsplus.com/site-builds/how-to-create-a-wordpress-theme-from-scratch/

Hope that helps!

Righty, I realise that to date this blog has been a)infrequent and b)fairly boring and useless, I intend to remedy this.

The blogs I find most useful are those that offer advice, tutorials and point you in the direction of useful things. As I spend every day doing web design and development in some shape or form I feel that it is probably this that I can offer something in the way of useful content about.

We’ll see…

Anyway, my plan is to blog at least once a week with something useful.

I’ve been chewing over the idea of restarting up my little company for a few months now and I’ve decided to spit in the eye of the recession and press ahead, albeit slowly.

Hopefully this blog will provide a bit of an interesting sidestall to things, let’s see.