Over the line

Redesigning the looks of this blog

~3 min read in opensource

It's been a long time since last I showed some love for the UI of this blog, and after a day of modifications I'm pretty excited about the outcome :w00t:

So, what has changed?

UI redesign

I like simple things and I always wanted the same thing for my blog. Few years ago, I had come across a static site built with jekyll and loved its simplicity. My new theme is heavilly inspired by http://uberspot.github.io, hence the name I decided to give it. This nice feature of rotating pictures with every new visit isn't implemented yet for pelican, but it's in my plans.

Vincent Bernat's blog has also been an inspiration and you'll see many css styles taken from there, for example the table of contents. Apart from design patterns, he is writing some very cool stuff so I urge you to follow him.

I prefer the light themes over the darks ones, but not too bright. The background is taken from subtle patterns, an awesome site that has many patterns to choose from. I went with paper fibers and I like the outcome so far.

The main font used is Merriweather from Google's webfonts and was inspired to use by Vincent's blog.

Code blocks are styled after Mozilla's Developer Network, here is a sample taken form here:

var foo = 42;    // foo is a Number now
var foo = "bar"; // foo is a String now
var foo = true;  // foo is a Boolean now

pygments is used underneath and I picked the friendly style.

Blockquotes are restyled to use sharp edges and a light orange color:

Look, let me explain something. I'm not Mr. Lebowski. You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. That, or Duder, or His Dudeness, or El Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

New plugins used

Pelican has a very active community and its powerful structure make it dead easy to add a plugin or even write your own. Head over the pelican-plugins repo and see your options.

For the time being I chose to use three plugins that add some pretty nice functionality to the UI and UX.

Being a static site, the only way to add some search functionality is by using javascript. Thankfully, there is a jquery plugin that does exactly that and is named tipue search. Some nice guy provided a pelican plugin so I took a shot and used it.

There isn't much information in the docs how to set it up, but after a little search, I found some articles that explained it in depth.

neighboring articles

The neighbors plugin adds next_article (newer) and prev_article (older) variables to the article's context.

As you'll see I added some nice bowling pins icons to show you the way :)

post statistics

A really nice plugin is the post_stats which calculates various statistics about a post and stores them in an article.stats dictionary.

Now you get the average time to read a post, and if you hover over it, you also see the total words written.

Source code

As always, the source code is available to take a look and hack on. I haven't yet submitted it to the pelican-themes repo as I need to sort some things and clean it up a bit.

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