weblog of rommel talavera pascual

The MIMBO Theme

This theme can turn your WordPress site from a blog to a magazine style content management system (CMS). It is not as easy to use as a regular theme, but configuring it is half the fun. 🙂 A working knowledge on CSS, PHP and some idea on how the WordPress themes are built is very handy.

The preparation I did to switch to the Mimbo theme involves:

  1. Choosing a category for the left-side of the home page frame. Make this your favorite category as it involves a lot of work to highlight these posts.
  2. Choosing categories for the right-side of the homepage. Only the most recent post will appear in the home page.
  3. Preparing 255×88 images for the left side posts
  4. Preparing 51×51 images for the right side posts.
  5. Writing my first lead story with a corresponding 269×178 image.
  6. Choose a featured category for the side bar. A list of titles will be generated for this category – so it’s probably best for your second favourite category.
  7. Write customised excerpts for the featured posts on the right frame – not required but makes your home page look great.

Then the next part is to edit the index.php as described by Darren Hoyt, the Mimbo theme creator. After I got the basic layout working – the fun begins.

  1. Modified the sidebar.php to get rid of the Ad and Sponsor section.
  2. Revised the index.php to show a title and excerpts if there are no 255×88 images associated with the post. This gives a bit of randomness on the left and allows you to write in that category without worrying about an image. It can always be added later. If your interested contact me for a copy of my final index.php.
  3. Removed the commented section in the single.php to allow trackbacks and RSS, and also to allow admin/users to have an easy way to edit blogs. Fixed some bugs in this code, perhaps the same reason why it was commented out in the first place. Also adjusted the style.css to fix problems in its display.
  4. I’ve also increased the font to a much readable size.
  5. Added Avatars in comment.php
  6. Customised the footer.php

What I like about this theme – aside from the fact that few users would probably use this theme because of the relative complexity of its initial set-up. (This makes your site slightly unique). The main reason for choosing this theme, however, is to control how posts can be highlighted. In a regular theme – your more recent posts would be in your home page and older post are age out into archives.

Through the use of categories, you could resurrect old posts to take prime spots in your home page – for example – I created a category called “FROM THE PAST” and it occupied a small area in the right frame. I’ve also created a category called “BLOB”. This is for posts that are simply ramblings and notes. In a normal theme – this would take the prime spot when first published, demoting any interesting story to second place. Since BLOB is not in my featured category – the post will only be shown in the list of RECENT POST and will not take center stage.

UPDATE: I’ve extended the right frame to include a category with multi-posts in it. I’ve chosen my TECH TALK category for now as I have lots of posts in this. (14 Mar 2008 : I took this code out, in favour of showing the recent posts as 4th division in the contents area.).The code still needs refactoring but it’s currently working. My next project is to incorporate some of the widgets found in dKret theme into Mimbo.

UPDATE:Added the standard comments code in the page.php template then created a Guestbook Template. Revised archive.php to have a full display of posts for Author’s Archive page. Revised the comment.php for pages without any comments. There could also be an error in get_sidebar() function of WP – the category is not passed correctly making the posts category to be always 10 (in my case at least). Not keen to revise the base WP function at this point.

To Do:

  1. Optional 2-Column Sidebar
  2. Optional 3-Column Footer
  3. Smart Navigation on Single Pages – this means links to previous and next date, archive, category or author post (Simple Navigation added – 1 Mar 2008)
  4. Detect duplicates in the index.php when displaying home page [is_home()]. This would allow a feature story to have sub-categories without being printed twice in the front page
  5. Optional Secondary Footer

10-11 March 2008 – Added a custom banner designed by Jeanne. Added RSS feed links in the navigation area. Finally understood the programming done in dkRet theme so I was able to add a 4 column-footer. Also subscribed to Feedburner, an idea suggested by RIS.

14 March 2008 – The beauty of the Mimbo Theme is that it allows you to highlight your favourite posts and categories. It is a great theme, but it can be very restricting on the number of items you can include on the sidebar without increasing the number of featured items to balance the overall length of the page.

As my blog is not really a magazine, I miss the ability of having the recent posts getting some prominence in the front page. Therefore, I decided to modify the theme to include recent posts right after the features. It still have one problem – I still have not discovered how to include a navigation links to continue traversing the rest of the older posts.

15 March 2008 – Added a dkret style date stamp on the single.php and index.php. I’ve also frozen all my modifications on my copy of the Mimbo 2.2. theme and forked it out as my theme. I don’t think I’d be publishing it though as none of these are my original codes – just incorporating some features I like on other themes into this.

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22 Responses »

  1. So how did you change the font size? I’ve been messing around w/ the Mimbo theme tonight and can’t make it change. I am used to just regular pt sizes, not the em that this thing uses. I would like to change the content – as in the body of the post (I can figure out the headers) but whenever I make a change, the whole font size is increased overall… If you can offer me some tips, I’d appreciate it.

    • In the style.css, change the #page – font-size to 0.8em or which ever size appropriate to you. In FireFox, there’s a plugin called FireBug which allows you to change css values on the fly to see how it looks before you commit it in your real CSS.

      Another problem I experience, is that the CSS does not always refresh – so you could be changing values and it does not seem to have an effect. What I do is to browse the URL of the CSS and force it to reload.

  2. Fellow Darren Mimbo user. Nice steps to adjusting Mimbo. I feel I have enough content now. It’s time to tweak. First. How do I edit header file get my Feedburner-generatedRSS link + icon slightly to the left of my Google search bar? The feed is confusing because the RSS i symbol in FireFox or Safari URL window has a different URL than my Feedburner generation. Will I lose subscribers? I really wan them to go through Feedburner link which I’m trying to place near my Google search bar. any advice?

    • What you need is to put a Feedburner Plugin. You activate this in your site and configure it to rechannel your comment and/or post RSS to Feedburner.

    • On your question on how to move the RSS Icon a little to the right you have a code (perhaps in your index.php) to add this feedburner icon. The code look like this:

      <img style=”border: 0pt none”
      alt=”” src=”http://www.feedburner.com/fb/images/pub/feed-icon32x32.png”/>

      add margins like this:

      <img style=”border: 0pt none ; margin: 0px 0px 0px 50px;”
      alt=”” src=”http://www.feedburner.com/fb/images/pub/feed-icon32x32.png”/>

      The semi-colon ‘;’ between the border parameters and margin parameters are important.

  3. Can you teach me how do you do your footer

    • You will need to modify the footer.php and the functions.php code of the Mimbo theme to add these widgets. I got the idea from the dkRet theme but I guess any multi-widget WP Theme will have these codes . Download one of these themes (or the dkRet) and have a peek on their code – that’s how I got mine to work.

      If you need help, let me know. I can share my revised theme but would need to clean up some hard coding I did to speed up my site.

  4. hi rommel,
    do you think we can talk on the msn, it’s easier for me to communicate with you

  5. I am having trouble getting a header above my mimbo theme. Any help on how to do this right would be great

  6. How would I make mimbo look like a regular blog on the index page?
    Like you did with the “Recent Posts”.

  7. I tried chaning the index, but the sidebar gets moved below everything when I do.

    • also, I’m still not sure how to change the font. I notice the sit ibankcoin.com uses some variation of mimbo but when you go through to a story, the font is much larger than mine. How do you change the font of each post like that?

      • To clarify what I mean is, when I change the font in style.css it just makes ALL of the font big… I just want the individual post without having to blow up the font of the entire page

    • Yo may have to change the overall size of the page to prevent this. But I guess you’ve figured that out already.

  8. Hi. Your posts are so helpful. I was wondering if you could help me–I want to post two images (side by side) in a post, but I can’t figure out how?! Thank you!

  9. Hi!

    I just want to know if you know how to modify the left sidebar of the theme so that not only the FEATURED CATEGORIES will appear but also several widgets that I needed to add

    Thanks a lot!

  10. Still working on my Mimbo site. I got most of it to look how I want it but I’m now working on the footer… any chance you’d share your footer.php?

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