[wp-hackers] 3 column theme

Andy Skelton skeltoac at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 7 02:31:16 GMT 2005

Matt wrote:
>I noticed today that, in terms of layout, everything we have on the themes 
>page is almost exactly the same. Any suggestions for really excellent 
>3-column or other non-menu-on-right themes?

Okay, for real this time. This is not for the faint.

I remember a passing thought from last night while browsing my iTunes 
library. Something about a three- or four-panel navbar at the top, either 
AJAX driven or loading the whole menu and using hide/show functions, that 
could drill down to any post, page, category or archive in several ways 
without leaving the home page. Then the main box, a single column below 
that, could be populated by AJAX when you click in the panels.

Here, I'll develop the idea with some examples:
Blog -> // The usual front page, with options in the second panel. Click 
Blog -> Months -> // Now the third panel lists the populated months. Click a 
Blog -> Months -> Jan 2005 -> // Now the fourth panel lists the Jan 2005 
posts. Click one:
Blog -> Months -> Jan 2005 -> New Year // Now the main box shows the post.
Blog -> Categories -> // Obvious.
Blog -> Authors -> // Ditto.
Blog -> Sorts -> Length -> // Show shortest or longest posts
Blog -> Sorts -> Visits -> // Most visited, least visited posts
Blog -> Sorts -> Comments -> // You get the picture
Blog -> Sorts -> Alpha -> // I've never seen this done. Ever.
Blog -> Sorts -> Attachment size -> // Use your imagination
Blog -> Pages -> Alpha ->
Blog -> Pages -> Topic ->

Now, why do they all start with Blog? Drop the first panel if all you want 
is a blog. But look what you could do with four:
Pages -> Topics -> Travel ->
Pages -> Authors -> Andy ->
Pages -> Sorts -> Alpha ->
Photos -> Albums -> Summer Camp ->
Photos -> Tags -> Geek Dinners ->
Photos -> Sorts -> Aperture -> // Seriously, this could go ANYWHERE.
Wiki -> ???
Store -> ???

This is way out of the mold for blogs. It looks far more like a CMS, but 
isn't that a good line to blur? The panel can be as small as 80px high and 
still work. It can even be minimized into a single line or icon, leaving the 
blog looking like a regular blog if you like. Just without the sidebar. It 
should also degrade gracefully for non-JS users.

Now, WP is in no way optimized for this kind of selective content loading. 
It could be, but not by a theme alone. A very clever script could be devised 
to handle the AJAX requests independently of index.php, staying slim by 
require()ing only the necessary core files; Count My Clicks already does 
this to a degree. The same could also be accomplished with a lot of core 
redesign but it would have to be so thorough, it wouldn't be WordPress 
anymore. Or it would be 2.0  :-D

Sound like fun? This whole idea just occurred to me. Anyone is free to run 
with it. I am interested in working collaboratively on such a project so 
keep me in the loop, okay?


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