Sunday, December 4, 2005

Welcome to the Bolinfest Changeblog

I suppose the first thing to announce in the changeblog is, well, the changeblog. The About section already covers the purpose of this blog, so I thought that I would share some of the details about setting it up.

The word on the street is that if you want to host your own blog, WordPress (what I'm using) is the way to go. LiveJournal has more features, but it looks like a nightmare to install if you're not comfortable with Perl-CPAN, which I'm not. For a long time, Movable Type seemed to be popular as well, but its web interface has always seemed slow to me, and they now ask people to pay for software licenses if the blog has multiple authors, so I'm done with them.

Anyway, getting WordPress up and running wasn't so difficult. I found a theme that I liked, for the most part, and I really didn't want to spend too much time customizing it, but it had this bullshit in the sidebar:

Default search box using Connection theme

How could anyone ever do a search using a box that small? The advantages of a wide search box are fairly well-known, but I see junk like this in many blog themes, not just those designed for WordPress. As you can see, I moved the search box to the top of the blog to give it the real estate it deserves.

Unfortunately, this required some Web hackery to get things lined up correctly in Firefox as well as Internet Explorer (IE). The HTML for the search area looks like this:

<input type="submit"
value="<?php _e('Search'); ?>" />

So I added some CSS that looks like this:

#searchButton {

* html #searchButton {
margin-bottom: 2px;

IE has this interesting quirk such that it recognizes, and gives priority to, styles that start with * html whereas Firefox does not. As you can see, this allows me to tweak things so to get the search widgets to line up just right in each browser.

I'm not sure what this looks like in Safari, but you Safari users should be running Firefox, anyway! (My empathy for the user only goes so far.)

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