Mar 282008

We’ve been busy here at Deep Sand over the past several evenings, and you will probably notice one  of the biggest changes right away, as we have implemented this new look to the site. We really loved the older theme, “I Feel Dirty,” and it’s still there for us, but this Zeke 1.0 theme offered a great look, along with some newer features. We also worked on what goes on behind the scenes as well, and while things are pretty much back to normal as far as you’re concerned, we still have a bit of work to do.

A key change you won’t see directly was an upgrade of the WordPress Software that drives our site. We went to the most current version 2.3.3. A version 2.5 is already past due, and we probably would not upgrade to that for some time anyway. It always takes some time for all the bugs to get worked out. However 2.3.3 brought some significant performance gains, and much better security, along with the integration of some features we relied on here at Deep Sand via the plugin infrastructure. All-in-all, site management should be a bit easier now. 

Behind the scenes, we did a major cleanup of the Deep Sand database. Over time, as we have used various different plugins and other components, a lot of information in the database becomes unused. To figure out just what was required, we built out the site using the new version of WordPress in order to determine just which database tables were required. This will just reduce the size of our backups, and maybe speed up performance a little bit.

We also did a major project that involved consolidating the directory structure for the photos and graphics you see around the site in our posts. This meant a lot of manual work that took the better part of two long evenings. Again though, this should make backups and site management a bit easier. Chalk that up to lessons learned.

Nearly all of the plugins we use had to be updated along with the primary software update, so there was all the time of downloading those, and reading the documentation to determine what steps would be required to upgrade each of those plugins. You can see a list of the plugins we use by clicking here.

As we brought Deep Sand back to life this afternoon, most everything came right back to where we had left it. However, nothing is perfect. The page that generates our listing of the Movies I Own is very highly customized at the code level, and I have some work there to figure out the layout schema for this new theme.

UPDATED: (2008-03-28 20:27:50) Only a little work was required to get the Movies listing working as desired, so that’s perfect now. 

I had avoided updating the polling plugin for some time because the author made changes to the database structure, but didn’t include a routine to update the old database to the new structure. Some of it I have figured out, but not all of it, so for now, our archive of polls is missing, but I hope to work on that over the weekend.

UPDATED: (2008-04-01 09:06:33) After some testing, I decided to switch from the Democracy Plugin to the WP-Polls plugin by Lester ‘GaMerZ’ Chan. He has written a number of very solid plugins, and his Polls plugin offers some capabilities not offered by the Democracy Plugin. I’d checked out this plugin a couple of years ago, but it was cumbersome to install and configure. It’s now matured nicely, and is much easier to manage than the Democracy Plugin.

Otherwise, we’re pretty proud of how things turned out, and I hope this will motivate me to post more, and you all to comment more. Also, should you find a bug or something not displaying correctly, please visit our Deep Contact page and send us a message. And take our poll and let us know what you think of the new design:

Let us know what you think of the new Design for Deep Something.

  • Not sure. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Back to the drawing board. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • I'm OK with it. (8%, 1 Votes)
  • It's Great! (92%, 11 Votes)
  • Switch back to the old one. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 12

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Thanks, and Happy Blogging.

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