Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

WordPress 3.3

WordPress never ceases to fascinate me. With each version upgrade, it gets so much better, it makes blogging so fun all over again. Sure, once in a while, I’m disagreeable with a couple of changes. But the improvements often outweigh the little setbacks that I’ve no qualms about updating my WordPress installation. Every time a new version is announced, I just upgrade without thinking.

The latest version 3.3 has made a bunch of usability improvements. The most important one, to me, is the new drag-and-drop media uploader to add content, such as photos, to a post. I always try to incorporate photos to my post, and the old interface was, at best, cumbersome to navigate to get at content in my computer. The new drag-and-drop interface makes it so much simpler and straight-forward.

The version 3.3 announcement also describes a bunch of other changes which I’m sure will be particularly welcoming and useful to new users of WordPress. When I first started using WordPress in 2007, I would not say it was complicated to use then. However, WordPress has gotten a lot more feature-rich since. To a new user, the things you could do with WordPress could be mind-boggling and overwhelming. So it’s a good thing that version 3.3 remembers about new users, making sure they are not left too far behind.

Recently, I’ve realized that when I write, I like to do so with a visualization of how the end product will look like. Yes, that’s what we’re all used to: Microsoft Word is a WYSIWYG editor. But I thought I could focus on content first, then fix up the grammar, style, layout and other stuffs later.

It turns out that while I can hammer out main points, I find myself always needed to visualize the final product. For example, I’ll be thinking about what photo to incorporate. Or how the page will be laid out.

So what happened recently was this. I was trying to write a draft of a blog post for Omy.sg in Microsoft Word, then later upload it to the Omy.sg blog site. Microsoft Word is still a visual editor right? Well, I somehow terribly unproductive. It’s not that I don’t know or don’t like using Microsoft Word. I’ve written plenty of documents with Microsoft Word. But this one was going to end up as a blog post on a website. I kept wanting to visualize how it would look like on the web.

I gave up doing the draft in Microsoft Word, and just wrote directly on the Omy.sg blog site. I had wanted to do the draft in Microsoft Word first so that I can work while being offline (i.e. disconnected from the Internet).

Back on the topic of this WordPress site, I’ve been making some theme changes recently. I’ve been wanting to do so for like a whole year already, but just never got around to doing it. Progress is still slow, but you’ll see the front page is now laid out quite differently. I’m trying to achieve a blog-magazine sort of look and feel.

This is a hand-coded theme. Just like my last theme coding project, I just couldn’t find any ready-made ones that I like. Oh, I’ve given up, at least for now, trying to code this to be generic and universal enough for the theme to be released for public download. It’s just too much hassle. So it’s sort of totally customized to my site specifics.

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