found drama

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Ortho 1.0

by Rob Friesel

Almost exactly two years ago, I first unveiled Ortho, the home-rolled custom WordPress theme that you see here.  It is named in part after the character Ortho Stice from David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest and is also a vaguely tongue-in-cheek, slightly punny nod to the squared-off corners that graced the original design.

With this “1.0” revision, I have tried mostly to go for some refinements.  I wanted to “widget-enable” the theme, I wanted to clean up some of the code, and ply a few other tricks to open up my future options a little bit.  I did my development primarily in Safari (with a soft-spot for Firefox) and tried to play nice with Internet Explorer.  I found that though IE7 is not nearly the nightmare that IE6 continues to be, that it still has a startling lack of support for many things1; IE6 is still a nightmare but I gave myself a hard cut-off of two hours — anything that couldn’t get fixed or made to gracefully degrade got hacked out.  I conceded to use conditional comments but that was in the interest of ousting old * html hacks.  I looked at Ortho in Opera just for fun and in the two minutes I spent browsing, found that nothing obviously needed attention — not that I get much traffic from Opera users.

Some other handy technical notes for the web nerds out there:

  1. I actually bothered to run my CSS through the YUIcompressor 2.4.2.  The gains were very very small but it was still a fun exercise.
  2. I still hate CSS sprites which is part of why I’m not using them here.  Also, because I’m (er…) between graphics editors right now and had no effective means of making them.
  3. I’m using the Google Ajax Libraries CDN-equivalent for the code jQuery here on  It takes some of the load off the server.  And should help for one of those tiny incremental decreases in load time.
  4. I’ve kept Ortho in Subversion for the past two years and it has paid off well.  Though when it came time to deploy this site live, somehow a bunch of conflicts managed to make it into the master style.css file (despite the fact that I’d told SVN they were “resolved”) and that caused some panic for a few minutes.  Blargh.

Anyway, I think things turned out well.  Now that it’s up, it looks like I need to fix the trackbacks but I’m otherwise quite pleased.  Hopefully the transition went smoother for you (dear reader) than it did for me.  But anyway, should look nicer, read a little easier, and so on.

  1. E.g., :last-child selectors, anyone? E.g., Unicode support, anyone? []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night; weekend homebrewer. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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