WordPress themes via Microsoft Expressions

Workspace in Design

Workspace in Design

As a project today I worked with Microsoft Expressions studio to create a theme for PAY. The theme is based heavily on the default Kubrick theme provided with the WordPress package.

I used the default theme as an exercise to learn more about how WP themes work and how they are crafted. The tools I used to investigate theme construction are Microsoft’s Expressions Studio 2 and Notepad ++.

I mainly used Design to construct the page structure. Design operates very much like Adobe Image Ready, Photoshop and Illustrator. It lacks the versatility of the three Adobe products but makes up for them with focus and ease of use. I’m surprised how quickly I could achieve the look and feel that I desired.

There are some limitations I have found. The main limitation is lack of gradients with alpha transparency. I would like to create highlights using a lighter color to transparency. The workaround is to end the gradient with the background color. This will present problems with future projects. If the background color is a pattern or another gradient, I will not be able to use the workaround. I will continue to work with Expressions, maybe my workaround is not necessary.

The other application I used for development is Notepadd ++. This is swiss army knife of text editors for Windows. Basically it will suit any programmer’s needs. It may not be light weight like VIM but it knocks the socks off of UltraEdit, Crimson Editor or MS’s notepad.

I was able to hobble the theme together with the above tools in about 2 hours. I think that is impressive. Given that I do not have any experience with Expression Design beyond today. I’m a heavy user of Notepad++, so there was not a learning curve.

Keep a look out for more changes to the theme. I will be working on the following issues.

  • Footer
  • Heading styles
  • Color scheme of text and column headers

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