I’m currently redesigning my Stuttering is Cool website. Not something I planned to do right now but I have no choice (long story short: my previous theme got broken). So I have a tight deadline to finish this redesign and the challenge is it involves designing my own theme in WordPress from scratch. I’ve customized existing themes before but never built one up from zero.

I’ve always found customizing existing WordPress themes a lot more hassle than I had anticipated. Either a theme ended up not being widgetized, had glaring shortcomings (like no word wrapping), or the style sheets were from Mars. I just don’t have the time nor patience to thumb through someone else’s work that may be a lot more time consuming than necessary.

That’s when I decided to submit, bear it and take the time to learn how to build from scratch.

I used TextEdit for the css and Nvu for the html. I prefer to code by hand as it keeps me sharp and WYWIWYG software ends up being more of a crutch and decreases productivity. I want to improve my knowledge of cross-browser/platform css and hand coding, as always, is the way to go.

Taking baby steps is the only way to keep me sane when I’m pressed for time:

1. Design the site in Photoshop. Done. I ran into a creative roadblock with the navbar however, since the design (and coding it) isn’t dependent on the look of the nav, I decided to leave it for later when inspiration strikes.

2. Code the css and test on all browsers. Done. Either I was influenced by my guardian angel or God had mercy on my soul, the css worked ok on all browsers within a day. With the exception of a minor IE 6 blemish (minor?). I didn’t want to halt the project just to accommodate IE 6 so I decided to leave it for very last since I can always create a separate style for it.

I’ll be blogging the rest of my baby steps as I go along. My step/phase 3 is to transport the code into WordPress each php page at a time. I chose to do phase 2 outside of WordPress for productivity’s sake. I am thinking of trying out the demo of Coda for this phase as it was recommended by @gobo. I don’t find the TextEditor and NVu combination productive. More on that later.