And thus ends another era in my life. 2010 is turning out to be quite the year.
I met up for an interview with the gracious Tina Daunt in Santa Monica (oh wonderful Santa Monica) during our US roadtrip, first slated for the LA Times, before they started firing people left and right, now up at Huffington Post.
The new 2010 theme is slowly starting to take shape, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what that’ll be about. Meanwhile my, until recently, neglected second child, K2—a spiritual followup of sorts to Kubrick—just went 1.0 before the holidays, and we’re well on our way towards a great 1.1 release.
I’ve got a couple of other projects I should have started a long time ago coming in 2010, and I can’t wait to unveil them as we get nearer to summer. Yes, one of them is a new WordPress theme.
It was great, while it lasted, honestly pretty crazy for a while, and I very much enjoyed it; but its retirement is timely, if not overdue.
Kubrick, by the way, was born in the summer of 2004, which makes it almost
five six years old this year. I would never have thought it could have lived for this long.
Thanks Stanley. And sorry.
It being Kubrick appreciation week, it seems fitting Matt let me know that somebody went ahead and named their dog after Kubrick. Not the man though, but the WordPress theme I did!
Kubrick is named after the default Wordpress theme, Kubrick! It’s a really nerdy way of naming our new pup, but my husband wanted to name him with something that’s related to web design and development. #
I talked briefly to Matt yesterday about kubrick two, where he mentioned that WordPress 1.5 would be going on within a day. And lo and behold, despite the lack of an official announcement on the devblog, you can now serve yourself to one slice of premium blogging solution over at the WordPress Download page.
This of course also means that WordPress now ships with a brandnew template, namely Kubrick. There is one minor thing that I wish I had had the time to fix: this version of Kubrick doesn’t welcome returning commenters, only people who have logged in… But such are the losses of a secretive scheduling.
I have however made enough headway into kubrick two, for it to see release probably before the week ends.
Congratulations to the team, great job guys and gals; Binary Bonsai is now a fully armed and operational 1.5 blog. Ph34r m3!
I know that there are a few minor remaining issues with Kubrick (like this), and it is my intention to roll those changes into the final v1.3.0. I try to keep up with the forums, but I’m bound to miss something once in a while, so here’s my plea to you:
If you come across a flaky piece of code, or if you have suggestions that would fit into the scheme of things; let me know, and it’ll go into my todo pile. Furthermore, just so you know, the 1.3.0 will be based off of Ryan’s excellent work and include a good deal of code strains from Freya. Now you know :)
Here’s a question for you, Kubrick users: Should I have the sidebar appear on all pages, or keep it the way it is now?
PS: Shout out to Jens, who helped me with some SQL magic yesterday. You’re so the money!
Over the weekend, the Binary Bonsai flickr group rounded the 100 member mark and counting. If you haven’t already, please by all means add a screenshot of your Kubrick site to the group pool. Thanks.
PS: With this post I have created a new category, called Milestones. Also, I’ve now added my del.icio.us feed to the sidebar, under Clippings. It’s messy just now, but I’m just testing to see if it works properly for the launch of 4.
PPS: If you experience old entries suddenly cropping up in your aggregator these days, it’s for the same reasons.
I am growing busier and busier, and it would seem that by some degree of irony, the days are getting shorter and shorter. In fact, I have never felt as out of time as I do now. A pity too, as I have never had such a lust for indulging in different endeavors as I do now. So to retain my sanity, I’ve had to make a few prioritization’s in regards to what my day is spent on. These may or may not affect you.
Kubrick is, as you may have gathered, very popular. Which I of course am happy about, since it must mean I did something right.
But by now 70-80% of my incoming mail is related to support questions on Kubrick. These mails can be roughly categorized into three categories. 1) Various Support Questions, 2) Praise and 3) Bug Reports. Of the three, I get mostly 1’s, a good deal of 2’s and finally not a whole lot of 3’s.
Ironically, my primary interest lies in the exact opposite direction. First and foremost I want to know what’s broken and what can be done better. After that, I like getting praise, but – and this’ll sound cold, but it’s honest – after a couple of hundred people telling me that I did a good job, like with most other thrills, it slowly looses its potency. Which leaves the ‘various support questions’, which I have pretty much no interest in dealing with. Shock! Horror!
These questions range everywhere from “How do I change Kubrick to have 3 columns” over “How can I integrate ProductX into Kubrick?” to complex ‘multi-questions’ that would require days to answer properly. When I first released Kubrick, these questions were fun to do. I knew the code by heart and found it nice to have a challenge all of my own to deal with. But I just don’t have the time, and to be quite frank with you, the interest in dealing with all these questions any longer.
I know how it is to be in a situation where an answer to a question would get things moving again, so I can fully appreciate people’s eagerness in seeking out help for their blogs. And also I can fully appreciate that as the author of what is at its heart an open source project, I also have a responsibility to confused users.
But I feel that enough hours have been put into helping people along and in taking the precautions needed to have Kubrick stand on its own, that I can slowly start to take my hands off of the project and put it out to sea.
I wrote two requirements in the readme that comes with Kubrick. The first is WordPress and the second is: “I’d recommend that you know at least a smidgen CSS, XHTML and PHP. I have done all I can to make sure things work out of the box, but there are countless factors I can’t foresee, and so it might be necessary that you’re able to make the necessary adjustments.” I did this, to underline that people should expect to rely on themselves for making the needed changes.
Bottomline? I’ve had a lot of fun with Kubrick so far, and it’s been a great experience for me to both write and publish, with a lot of very valuable experiences that I am already relying on in other aspects of my life. But I have to be honest to myself about it, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that I no longer will be able to answer every single support question that I come across.
The Official Kubrick Support Forums are still open for business, and I still keep my eye on them every day. But I won’t be answering every unanswered question that I come across, which I have otherwise attempted thus far.
It is a staggering amount of questions that are either a) answered by the person him-/herself within 24 hours of asking it, b) a lot of questions could easily be answered with a quick glance at the WordPress wiki, c) a few people have little idea how complicated some of their questions are in terms of structural changes and what not and d) WordPress has a fantastic community, which has been incredibly helpful in helping me carry the weight of Kubrick’s support questions. I won’t mention names in fear of forgetting someone, but you know who you are, and your time is the most valuable donation I could get.
As I mentioned when I put out 1.2.6, I still have some ideas for improving Kubrick, and I intend to weed out whatever bugs left in it and see it released for WordPress 1.3. Ryan Boren has done a downright astoundingly cool job of porting 1.2.5 to work with the new theme manager in WordPress 1.3, and I suspect this will be the version that ends up being labeled 1.3.0.
As I have also noted on the about page, by the contact form, I won’t answer support questions mailed to me any longer. With one exception, which I’ll get back to in a second.
The reason is three-fold. 1) because of what I’ve written above, 2) because an answer to a single person is a waste of time when that same answer could be archived in the support forums where other people can stumble onto it and finally 3) a lot of very cool people hang out around the support forums, and they have often proven both faster and more thorough than me.
The exceptions for support mail, are when we’re dealing with a bug report or a donation. I want as many bug-reports as I can get, to make Kubrick as good as it can become.
I never expected donations, nor did I do Kubrick in hopes of making money off of it (in which case I could come up with a range of other more profitable things to do). And the generosity shown by the people who have chosen to use the donation button on the Kubrick page have really overwhelmed me. I mean here’s a product which you could get for free and do with whatever you want, and you don’t have to pay a single penny.
And still some people are generous enough to donate.
That has really taught me a lot about human nature, not to mention hopes for future, more commercially minded online endeavors. In turn it has also motivated me to front the cash for a range of shareware programs that I use, as well as making a few albeit minor donations to for instance the furthering of Firefox.
Because of this, I will continually support people who’ve been kind enough to donate (helping me work wonders for my neck).
I’m looking forward to wrapping up Kubrick and starting new projects. Thank your for your help, your time and your donations. Upward and onward.
Binary Bonsai Version 4 is 85% done.
This is not a ‘major’ release. All changes were made in about an hour, so don’t expect anything major. This release fixes an Internet Explorer 5.5 problem, where the text would look a bit screwy. Also it is now up to date with a security problem in WordPress, which was fixed recently in release 1.2.1. If you are currently using a version of Kubrick, you should be sure to make the following changes:
In index.php on line 293, change
Otherwise, these are the changes from 1.2.5 to 1.2.6. Please point all your support questions, should you have any, towards the Binary Bonsai flickr group. Thank you very much.
- Internet Explorer 5.5 Fix:
wp-layout.css– body –
- Internet Explorer 5.5 Fix:
wp-layout.css– #page –
- Print layout fix: index.php – line 12 – added:
- Search security bug from WP121:
index.php– line 293 – changed
- Search security bug from WP121: kubricksearchform.php – line 2 – changed
- Removed parameter from list_cates: An old leftover from my own site. I’ve got no idea how it made it this far :)
- Removed max-width from CSS: The use of
max-widthon line 316 in wp-layout.css, was causing some people to be confused when they posted images larger than 450px, which is the width of the main column. To minimize confusion I have removed it.
- Fixed URL problem: I previously got the site URL from
bloginfo('url'), when what I should’ve done was
echo get_settings('siteurl'). This will fix instances where your site has a different root than your WordPress installation.
- Returning commentators: Made comment form in
As I promised, today should be the day that finally sees the Kubrick theme set into the open. I’ll of course do whatever I can to make it as standards compliant and cross-browser compatible as I can get away with, but I do expect minor errors to crop up once it gets into your hands.
So I’d appreciate it, if you would let me know of any errors you find and/or additions you make that might be of interest to other people. I can’t guarantee that I roll them into the theme, but the more the merrier.
Update: Actually, I’m going to name it 1.2.0, following the version numbering of WordPress, and incrementing the last digit when making changes.
Also, My apologies for the server being down, it seems that my host decided that today was the day where the IP’s get moved around. This of course results in me not being able to do a damn thing about the Kubrick theme for the last 3-4 hours. Luckily I’m all but done.
As I said a few days ago, the Kubrick Theme is alive and well. In fact, I have in a sense been working on it throughout the weekend. So I do hope that you will forgive me the longer-than-anticipated wait, but I want to make sure that this thing is right from the get-go (I hate ‘patches’, they never propagate as far as the original.)
As you can see from the checklist, I have nailed almost all of the things that I had on my to-do list.
So as soon as I get to the bottom of the two most pertinent issues on that list, what’s left for me to do to get Kubrick out to you guys is a) cut out all the Binary Bonsai stuff from the CSS and XHTML pages, and b) decide what exactly this theme should contain.
To be quite frank, there are many many things that WordPress does ‘out of the box’, that I don’t agree with. Many of them rather small things (though I really don’t have much left over for the default design, sorry), but nonetheless. The question is if I want to put myself in the place where I bundle a bunch of plugins (or maybe just throw them all together in one super plugin) with the theme for functionality’s sake, or if I go the way of the meager and make do with what’s in the box.
“Give us an example Michael!”
I’ll give you an example then. WordPress doesn’t have any way of showing latest comments, something that I would consider a vital function on something as people oriented as a blog. I have personally lobbied long and hard to get this functionality into the core, but I guess if you want something done… be a coder. Which is fair enough.
But the point is, I don’t really know where I want to draw the line. On one hand, I don’t want to dictate to you, what you should have on your blog. But on the other, you would have chosen this theme, so aren’t you sort of asking for it?
What’s the line for themes? Should it be CSS, and that’s all, or do you – as I – think that some of the default setup that comes with WordPress is so atrocious that overrides it should be hardcoded into the theme (like the dates.)
Please use this entry to tell me what you think.
I’ve added a few more items to the list of trimmings I’ve made around here. All things, so far, that I have wanted to do for a long long time. Somehow I found that over the last few days I’ve been able to work extremely focused on this site, and I’m afraid that by doing so I have neglected a few other things, such as content. But you’ve gotta build the boat before you load it with people, right? At least, that’s the way it works in Civilization 3.
So for you people waiting for the Kubrick theme, fear not, since that design and this, are basically the same, all this code clean up will be good for you too.
Here is a list of the things that I have yet to do. One of Rikke’s friends is staying with us until Sunday, and I’ll have a good deal of time until then to work on this, the list of things yet to be done.
- Archives: Archives have been vastly improved, but still needs a little work.
- Gallery: Just like the photo gallery, the other gallery needs to work better. I want to try and integrate it into WP and use it as a CMS, but I don’t know if that’s possible…
- Categories: The categories are a mess. Too many, too diverse, too imprecise.
If there’s something that’s been annoying you, or something you would like to see more of, now’s the time to chime in.
So close. If you would like to test this theme for Wordpress 1.2 for me, get in contact with me.
Update: The first beta is literally just out the door. Thank you for all your mails, I am quite overwhelmed :)