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After weeks, err.. months perhaps, of procrastinating about installing the mimbo theme, I finally went through with it. KodeeXII.Net blog is now running on the Mimbo theme. Thus, allow me to first say thank you to the theme creator.

Thank You Darren Hoyt, for this wonderful theme.

Mimbo is a magazine style theme. As you can see, it’s not a typical blog layout where all posts are displayed sequentially according to the date it was posted. This theme lays it out rather differently. It’s sort of segmented into different areas of which displays only posts in the respective categories. Each segment or area is also displayed in a slightly different style.

Mimbo ThemeThe default layout is segmented into 4 distinct areas:

  1. Leading Stories
  2. Features
  3. Other Category blurbs
  4. Sidebar

The good thing about this theme is that, both layout and style are truly separated. The layout is defined in php files. Styles are configured in css files respectively. Thus, should you need to change either one, you know exactly where to change accordingly.

Say you want to change the main layout. To do so, all you have to do is open up index.php in your editor (even notepad will do) and start changing. Should you need to modify some styling – say the H3 style. Then open up style.css and edit away.

Some knowldge on PHP and CSS is probably required when modifying these files. However, don’t let it stop you. Should you not have the guts to crack it up, then just head on over to the mimbo forum. There’s plenty of guidance in there. An abundance of help from people who are more than willing to assist you. Just join the forum and ask away. Be sure to ask courteously.

Setting up the theme is pretty straight forward. Just copy the files into WordPress’ theme folders and voila, it’s accessible in the WordPress Admin. Of course, you’re still required to modify some settings. Suffice to say, it’s not a difficult job to do, although you do need to mingle with some php codings. The changes can be performed from within WordPress itself, thus no programming tools are required.

No programming experience at all? Don’t fret. Just open up Darren’s posting on installation. He guides you to the details effectively with screen shots and stuff. His guide explains where and what to change to make the theme work on your site. Basically, to get things to work, all you need to change are some numbers in the index.php file. You need to obtain the respective category id from WordPress and insert them into the respective locations in the index.php file. Once that is done, the theme is very much working already – to a certain extent.

Mimbo Custom FieldsOnce you’re done with configuring the php file, you’ll see that the theme runs. You’ve got all your categories displayed in their respective segments. However, it lacks the images. To make the images appear, you’ll need to edit your entries. The images are defined in Custom fields of the entries. Of course you’ll need to upload the images first.

You can use WordPress to upload your images. However, to do this, you’ll have to modify some settings. You have two options. You can change WordPress’ upload folder setting to point to the default mimbo theme images directory – that’s where it looks for images in the theme. Mimbo Image UploadYou should only do this if you are starting a new blog. Otherwise you may face problems accessing existing uploaded images (I think).

The other method i by modifying the hardcoded folder setting in the layout files. Change them to point to your WordPress upload folder. This is my method of choice since I like to manage my uploads from within WordPress and I don’t like the idea of uploading files directly into the theme’s directory. I like my uploads to be in the WordPress’ upload directory. This ensures that the uploads are not affected should I decide to change theme in the future.

Alright, now that you’ve configured the image locations and added the images into the respective entries, your theme should be working as it should. Then you noticed that the images you’ve used does not really fit the layout. Hmmmm.. Well, the theme requires that you use specific sized images. Otherwise they will look rather odd.

Here’s how I size my images. For the Lead Story (segment 1), I use the image thumbnails. WordPress creates two files when you upload an image. The original file and also a thmbnail of the file. To access the thumbnail, just add “thumbnail” before the end of the file – “filename.thumbnail.jpg”. Of course, if your images are small, then using your image itself might just suffice. I opt to use the thumbnail as they are all the same size – uniformity.

The Feature (segment 2) has a specific size requirement. The theme (unmodified) requires that the images for this segment are sized as 255 x 88 images. Thus, to do this, you may need access to a photoshop like software to resize your images accordingly. I use Paint.Net on Windows to do this.

For the Category Blurb (segment 3), I utilize the same method as in the Lead Story. I use the image thumbnails. Again, this is for uniformity in the theme. You are free to use your own method of defining your image sizes. Test it out yourself.

I faced a couple of errors when implementing Mimbo to my site. Luckily the errors are caused by the same problem and they are documented by other users in Darren’s blog. Hmmmm.. can’t seem to recall what the error was. Can’t find the fix either. Oh well, will have to update this some time later when I get around to find the actual error message.

Alright, I think I’ve covered enough of Mimbo for this posting. Will certainly post more about it in the near future. I will also be tweaking and turning this theme further. Will also have to keep up with Darren. He just recently released a new version of Mimbo. Hahaha… Yeah, I’m on version 2.1. Should have checked his site out before installing. As I said, in the beginning, it took me a while after downloading the theme to actually installing it.

Oh yes… it’s December 12th, today right? Well… Happy Birthday to me then… hahahaha…