For the last few months I have been writing a WordPress plugin called wp-swimteam. This plugin builds on top of WordPress to turn it into an application which can be used to manage a youth swim team. The plugin is hosted on SourceForge and I am using a blog on that site to track the development progress. It is going pretty well, I am having fun working on it as it will be a huge benefit to our swim team which has been driven by a paper process forever.
The other day I committed some changes to my Retro-Dashboard admin theme. There was a wierd situation which only showed up with IE7 and since I use IE7 as my primary browser, it got to the point where it was driving me nuts. The main DIV (wp-wrap) would move up and down by about 10 pixels depending on the focus of the cursor. After a lot of putzing around with CSS I figured out how to make it stop. The lastest version now behaves the same with all browsers but there is more space between the menus and the body content on IE than there is on Firefox.
I went ahead and upgraded WordPress to 2.5.1 even though I don’t like the new Dashboard. It turns out I wanted to use the Email Users plugin with the MacDolphins site and since Email Users needed 2.5, I had to upgrade the MacDolphins site in order to use it. Since the Swim Team plugin exposes the Dashboard pretty extensively to the end user, I decided to see if I could modify the Dashboard so it was more to my liking.
The result of that work is Retro-Dashboard, a WordPress Admin Theme plugin which I released yesterday. It isn’t anything super fancy but it is waaaaaaay better than the default Dashboard (bleh, who thought that was a good idea).
Yesterday I received an e-mail letting me know that my WordPress plugin request for Retro-Dashboard h ad been approved so last night I checked all of the code and supporting files into Subversion. Is it perfect? Nope. Does it clean up stuff in the 2.5 Dashboard which I dislike? Yes. I imagine I will continue to tweak it and use it as a Admin Theme learning platform. Maybe I’ll do a Rock Band theme … Hmmm.
You can find Retro-Dashboard on WordPress.org at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/retro-dashboard/
Like many people, I am not a big fan of the new admin theme with WP 2.5. While somethings (like categories being below the post) I find cumbersome, I can deal with those, it is the visual layout and color scheme which I don’t like.
I am not a fan of web sites that fill the entire browser window all the way up to the edge. I like a little bit of a border – something which says “I spent some time making this look crisp and finished”. Letting sites fill all the way to the edge always seemed lazy to me. And I really don’t like the mish-mash of colors either.
So after poking around for a new admin theme and not finding anything, I decided to see if I could do some simple CSS tweaks to clean up the Dashboard more to my liking. I now have something running which I am reasonably happy with and have requested a project on wp-plugins.org. Hopefully if I am accepted, I will have it available to others, should anyone else want it, later today or tonight.
The 2.5 WordPress release has been out for a few weeks but, I haven’t paid too much attention to it as I was focusing on getting the plugin sufficiently complete to support our Swim Team registation last weekend.
Today I uploaded 2.5 into my development area. Yuch. I really don’t like the color schemes at all nor do I like the “all the way to the edge of the browser” design. I am not sure what to do now – the new interface really clashes with the work I have done on the plugin. I guess it was inevitable but I don’t really feel like dealing wiht it right now.
If I can make some simple CSS changes, that may be ok, otherwise I’ll probably stick with 2.3.3 until after this season is over.