Adventures with Chyrp Lite: theming 🐦
Out of the box, Chyrp Lite gave me just about everything I needed to rebuild my blog from the broken pieces of WordPress, but it gave me something else as well: functionality similar to Tumblr, which I find that I like very much. It even includes two themes that are described as "tumbleblog" themes. I especially like the theme called Umbra, as I have always liked dark themes, though I may still change some of the background colors. For example, I may want to modify it so that the background is blue like my main website and the template that I wrote for making basic websites. Still, the default theme called Blossom and the similar Topaz theme had some elements I found missing from Umbra and Sparrow, which are the "tumblelog" themes. I really like how the tumblelog themes have the navigation bar across the top, but I find that they don't show my pages. Not to worry though, it is very easy to modify them.
One thing to note is that the first time I tried to modify a theme by adding my site description as a subheading at the top of the page, the modification didn't appear. I even logged into the server and tried restarting my web services to no avail. I found out though that the reason my modifications were not appearing was due to the fact that my theme layouts were cached. Once I removed the cache folders, my modifications appeared correctly, and the caches never came back. From that point, the elements I wanted in Umbra that are in Blossom were very easy to add. All I needed to do was to first copy Umbra's main folder to a folder of a different name, edit the info.php file to differentiate it from Umbra in my list of themes, then copy the parts of the sidebar that I wanted from Blossom and paste them into my modified Umbra. Now my pages and categories show up on all pages and posts, just as they did in Blossom and Topaz, except across the top instead of going down the side, and my related posts show up underneath the categories on post pages. I decided not to copy the recent posts, since the index page is already showing the five most recent posts, so I don't feel like I need to show the links across the top to posts that are already linked on their titles. Related posts looks useful on individual post pages though, so I kept that feature.
My theming modifications are not complete by any stretch, but this is much easier even than what I did back in the day with Tumblr, and the software is still in active development. I mean I've visited the git repository more than 5 times over the past couple of weeks, and every time I look at the latest commit, it is never more than two days old. As I write this post, the latest commit is 18 hours old. So I'm confident that my new favorite blogging software will continue to be developed and maintained for a good long time. I also have my choice of database back ends, easy theme customization, post types similar to Tumblr, exactly the extensions I need that are all tested and known to work, very little I don't find useful, Markdown posts and pages, categories and free-form tags, screen reader accessibility right out of the box, a nice comment system included, complete with a moderation queue, locally generated text-based math captchas to prevent spam instead of the dreaded image verifications or third-party services, just about everything I could want in a lightweight and compact package. To sum it all up very nicely, I ❤️ Chyrp Lite 🐦