A Drastic Change

So today I decided to upgrade to WordPress 2.9.2 (I'd been running 2.7 since forever), and unfortunately it broke K2, which is the theme I've been using since I switched to WordPress years ago.  K2 was a solid theme, but it started getting rather unstable I thought, so it was hard to get a good release.  And it's really heavy, bloated with JavaScript, and just wasn't what I wanted anymore.  However, with a busted site, it wasn't the time to go theme shopping.  A little digging around the WP core showed that they'd deprecated (and then changed the API of) the attribute_escape function, and K2 depended on the old behaviour (automatic spreading across an array).  A couple quick patches and things were back on their feet.

Being the idiot I am, I figured I may as well upgrade K2 (since it would have those same fixes I made, along with other related ones I didn't catch), and that went horribly.  Their 1.0.3 release pretty much failed, and is even more bloated than before.  So now, with an again-broken site, I went theme shopping.

Fortunately, I'd just received a couple recommendations on a K2 replacement, and Theme Hybrid with the Life Collage child theme appeared to be relatively close to what I wanted.  So after tossing that in, I again had a non-broken site.  After another hour or so of CSS hackery atop the Life Collage CSS (but just the Hybrid HTML), I again have a site I'm relatively happy with.  Unfortunately WordPress doesn't let child themes extend other child themes (only "root" themes), so I couldn't get all the Life Collage HTML goodies (at least without copying), but no great loss there, I don't think.

As an added bonus, the theme supports dropdown menus for the top nav (based on subpages), which is something I've wanted for my project list for a while, but never got around to building with K2.  So one less project I have to do, and that's always a good thing.

The only remaining major issues are that there doesn't seem to be a no-comments template for pages (which is unfortunate, I think), and WP apparently did away with the recent posts sidebar widget (no idea why). [ed. They didn't get rid of it, they just changed it to be a 'postbypost' archive widget.] I'm not sure I'm going to stick with Life Collage's base styling, but I'll probably stick with Hybrid as a root theme.  Both are a little id-heavier than I could wish for, but they've got pretty solid markup which makes styling pretty straightforward.

Just for the sake of completeness, the other couple suggested theme replacements were WP Framework by Ptah Dunbar and Thematic by Ian Stewart.  Of the three, Hybrid looked the best out of the box, I thought, though they were all very similar.  It also happened to have prepackaged child themes, which was a win for me with the state of my site at the time.  But even without that, I think I'd still have picked Hybrid.

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