In addition to screwing around with templates and making errors, I tried to change the look of the blog. This requires working, however, with something called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets); this buffaloed me for a while until I spoke with a colleague–who knows much more about this stuff than I–who gave me a book and some encouragement. I then figured out how to add custom CSS to the default template, and changed the font to Ariel, and made the header for each entry smaller, and made the little letters in the banner a bit bigger and the big letters a bit smaller. Overall, I don’t expect anybody would notice these changes, but I think they make the page less blaring and a bit more inviting.
Also I wanted to make a link from this blog to my other blog on teaching and to Brother Steve’s and Brother Dan’s blog. I screwed around trying to do this for a long time, until I noticed on the main template page something called “widget feed.”
Once I discovered that, it was easy to make links to the aforementioned blogs. You can see them over on the right. It’s easy now for me to keep track of Brother Steve’s blog and Brother Dan’s.
Those were the main changes–not much I guess–but they took me a while to do.
This stuff is complicated. As far as I can figure it, in making a blog, one is working with at least three different levels of code. Good old HTML. Then CSS for working with the look of a page. And then in my case MT or movable type to build the site. And in addition there’s something called PHP. I don’t know anything about what that does and don’t want to. Right now I know just about as much as I want to know about this stuff.
And in a week or so I will have forgotten all of it.
When I shifted this blog to a new site, I also upgraded the blog platform Movable Type.
This shift brought with it a whole bunch of stuff I don’t understand. Things with potential I suppose for something, but not if you don’t understand them.
So I have been futzing around.
In the course of doing so I seriously disabled the blog on two occasions. I noticed that the “archieve path” for the category “entry” was blank. This didn’t seem right since all the other categories under that particular heading had an archive path. So in an attempt to fix the situation I pushed the “refresh templates” button. That had the effect of replacing my newer templates with older ones and wiping out entirely the changes I had made to the blog in the prior three or four days.
I almost gave up at that point and said so be it. But I found the energy and the memory, surprisingly, to rebuild what I had previously created.
Then, while attempting to make a URL or link between my main blog, this one, and something called an action stream, I noticed that none of the links on the page were working. None of the entry links I mean. Like those you can see to the right. Click on a recent entry and it comes up in its own page. But none of that was working. Though the links to external blogs (Dan’s or Steve’s) were working. But effectively the page was dead.
This lead me to my original concern. Why wasn’t there and should there be an “archive path” for the entry category. I went to the entry template and screwed around. Then down below the code itself I something called template options and one of those options had to do with establishing an archive path. I clicked that and bingo the archive path was restored and all the links went back to working.
Whatever little I have learned about the more technical (albeit superficially technical) aspects of making web pages or working with a blog I have learned in this way.
Old and familiar trial and error. The problem with learning via trial and error is the error part. Errors take up time and on top of that as you try to correct the errors via trial, you can compound the error.
But I wonder if that isn’t how most people learn whatever the really learn. But there just isn’t enough time in life to make all the errors.