// Internet Duct Tape

WordPress Theme Review: Chaotic Soul, Tarski, Unsleepable, K2-Lite

Posted in Technology, WordPress.com Tips by engtech on November 07, 2006

This is installment #5 of the WordPress theme review. My goal is to provide a clear document of the themes for the WordPress.com community. I also want to report all theme bugs to improve the experience of WordPress.com community. Support this project by linking to http://engtech.wordpress.com/tools/wordpress/wordpress-theme-reviews/ on your WordPress.com blog.

The themes released in October 2006 for WordPress.com have some features in common: they’re all fixed width and none of them display the author name (so not good for multi-author blogs).


Chaotic Soul is a very well-done theme. There’s only one bug I could find with it, and that is more a stylistic choice than anything else (search box gives no indication that it is a search box). Categories aren’t displayed on the main page, and that could be considered a Pro.

The only issue I have with it is that it’s a dark theme and there isn’t very much whitespace between text — this makes it hard to read for people with visual disabilities. I’d love to see a version of this with a white background, larger font, more whitespace between text, and a distinct colour choice between the text body and the link colour. That is my personal preference though.

If you like dark themes then Chaotic Soul is easily the best WP.COM has to offer at the moment.

PROs: Custom image header, Widget support, Page templates

CONs: Dark, small font, text very close together


I was very excited about Tarski until I noticed one glaring problem: WHERE ARE THE COMMENTS? Seriously, I couldn’t find a single comment on any post/page on my sample blog. The example blog by the theme author shows comments, so I’m not entirely sure what is going on.

PROs: Custom image header, Widget support, Page templates, Navbar

CONs: Headers look the same, missing next/prev posts, no comments allowed?


Unsleepable has very distinct links with high contrast from the text on posts. I am always surprised more theme designers don’t do this. What is the point in having linked text if people can’t see it? Conversely, I really hate how links blend directly into text in the sidebar. It’s a great theme except for the funky bug with right aligned/left aligned images.

PROs: Widget support, Footer with widget support, Links very distinct from text, Post excerpts on category pages

CONs: No custom image header, no page templates


K2-Lite is a good theme except I really hate the way the navbar looks, but other than that this is a good theme. The only glaring bug is that if you use heading1 anywhere in your posts it will not display. This won’t be a problem for most people.

PROs: Custom image header, Widget support, Links very distinct from text, Navbar

CONs: No page templates

The pick for best theme out of this round is much harder. They’re all very good (definite improvement in theme selection), but I’m going to have to give it to Chaotic Soul because it is the only one without any bugs (other than issues some readers might have with font size/contrast).

After the break, the huge table that compares the theme features and lists their bugs (which is really the meat of this review).

How this works

There are two tables. The first table is a Summary that gives the information people are most interested when comparing themes. The second table is Details and it lists all of information I think is important for comparing themes.

Clicking on (?) will open up a new browser window with the Help Page. It includes descriptions and screenshots of what I’m talking about with every row.

Occassionally you will see bug###. Clicking on it will take you to the bottom of the page where there is a description of the bug including screenshots.

Themes were only tested with the latest version of Firefox. Internet Explorer 6 has too many CSS bugs.

Summary

Major Features (Summary) Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Date reviewed (?) Nov 11 06 Nov 11 06 Nov 11 06 Nov 11 06
Screenshot (?) Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot
Theme Sample (?) Example Example Example Example
Theme Author (?) Bryan Veloso Benedict Eastaugh and Chris Johnson Ben Gray Various Artists
Layout width (?) Fixed (760 px) Fixed (720 px) Fixed (780 px) Fixed (780 px)
Custom image header (?) Yes Yes No Yes
Number of sidebars (?) 1 1 1 + widgetized bottom bar 1
Widget support (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Page templates (?) Yes Yes No No
 
Useability (Summary) Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Max image width (?) 490px 510px 500px 500px
Wide images behaviour (?) Chop Run-off Squish Squish
Sidebar image width (?) 200 px 180 px 130 px 220 px
Blockquote shows paragraph breaks (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
HTML tag style bugs (Posts) (?) None None bug059 bug063
Image display bugs (?) No No bug061 No
Display old comments when Off (?) Yes bug057 Yes Yes
HTML tag style bugs (Sidebar) (?) bug056 No No No
Bullet for Unordered Lists (Sidebar) (?) Some No No No
Numbers for Ordered Lists (Sidebar) (?) No Yes Yes Yes

Details

Text Appearance Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Text under Firefox (?)
Text under Internet Explorer (?)
 
Resolution Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
640×480 (?) No No No No
800×600 (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
1024×768 (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
1280×1024 (?) Yes No Yes Yes
 
Theme Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Screenshot (?) Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot
Theme sample (?) Example Example Example Example
Theme author (?) Bryan Veloso Benedict Eastaugh and Chris Johnson Ben Gray Various Artists
Layout width (?) Fixed (760 px) Fixed (720 px) Fixed (780 px) Fixed (780 px)
Theme background (?) dark grey white white white
Theme (cont) Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Theme text (?) grey black black black
Theme link text (?) white cyan pink red/blue
Links are *very distinct* from text (?) No No Yes Yes
Links are *distinct* from text (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Visited links are different colour (?) No No No Yes
Visited links blend to text (?) No No No No
Theme image (?) No No No No
 
Main Page Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Max image width (?) 490px 510px 500px 500px
Wide images behaviour (?) Chop Run-off Squish Squish
Post titles capitalization (?) as typed as typed as typed as typed
Next / prev page (?) Yes No Yes Yes
Edit post from front page (?) Yes Yes bug058 Yes
Dates above/below (?) above post above post above post above post
Date can be changed (?) Yes No No No
Main Page (cont) Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Displays author (?) No No No No
Author name is linked (?) No No No No
Displays categories (?) No Yes Yes Yes
Categories above/below (?) No above post below post above post
Comments above/below (?) above post above post below post above post
Show excerpt instead of post (?) No No No No
Show excerpt on category pages (?) No (doesn’t show post either) No Yes No
Main Page (cont) Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
HTML tag style bugs (Posts) (?) None None bug059 bug063
Blockquote shows paragraph breaks (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Horizontal rule (HR) is styled (?) No No bug060 bug064
Pre text has horizontal scroll (?) No No No No
Image display bugs (?) No No bug061 No
Image has margin (?) No No Yes Yes
Image has border (?) No No Yes Yes
Wide table behaviour (?) Chop Run-off Run-off Run-off
MORE tag (?) Continue reading ‘TITLE’ Read the rest of this entry >> Continue reading ‘TITLE’ Continue reading ‘TITLE’
 
Single Post View Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Sidebar displays (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Next / prev post (?) No No No Yes
Permalink URL (?) No No No No
Trackback URL (?) No No Yes Yes
Comments feed URL (?) No No Yes Yes
Single Post View (cont) Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Comments (?)        
Displays edit comments link (?) Yes bug057 Yes bug066
Displays trackbacks different than comments (?) No bug057 Yes Yes
Display old comments when Off (?) Yes bug057 Yes Yes
 
Header Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Blog name (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blog tagline (?) Yes Yes No Yes
Custom image header (?) Yes Yes No Yes
Top navbar support (?) No Yes Yes Yes
Navbar has a Home button (?) No Yes No Yes
Navbar works with many pages (?) No Yes No No
 
Sidebar Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Number of sidebars (?) 1 1 1 + widgetized bottom bar 1
Sidebar location (?) Right Left Right Right
Sidebar title capitalization (?) As typed Uppercase lowercase as typed
Sidebar image width (?) 200 px 180 px 130 px 220 px
Wide images behaviour (?) Chop Run-off Run-off Run-off
Sidebar (cont) Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Sidebar widgets support (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sidebar widgets bugs (?) bug056 No No No
HTML tag style bugs (Sidebar) (?) No No bug062 No
Bullet for Unordered Lists (Sidebar) (?) Some No No No
Numbers for Ordered Lists (Sidebar) (?) No Yes Yes Yes
NOTES (?)        
 
Single Page View Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Sidebar displays (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Page comments (?) Yes No Yes Yes
NOTES (?)     Selected page is highlighted in the sidebar. Selected page is highlighted in the sidebar.
 
Page Templates Supported Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Archives (?) Yes Yes    
Displays page text (?) No No    
Displays categories with archives (?) Yes No    
Links / Blogroll (?) Yes No    
Displays page text (?) No      
Sorts by categories (?) Yes      
Image replaces link name (?) Yes      
NOTES (?)        
 
Sidebar Categories Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Number on same line (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Do not display empty categories (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
 
Blogroll Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Sort by categories (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Image replaces link name (?) Yes Yes Yes Yes
 
Custom features Chaotic Soul Tarski Unsleepable K2-lite
Colour themes (?)        
Sidebar orientation (?)        

 

Chaotic Soul

  • bug056: Sidebar: search box gives no indication that it is a search box or how to use it.

    .

 

Tarski

  • bug057: Comments are never displayed on single post or single page view. Comments never display regardless of the “comments off” setting.

    .

 

Unsleepable

  • bug058: Edit posts: the pencil image displays but clicking on it doesn’t do anything.

    .
  • bug059: Posts: nesting unordered lists <UL> and ordered list <OL> will keep the bullet from showing up in the nested ordered list.

    .

  • bug060: Posts: horizontal rule <HR> is styled not to display.
  • bug061: Images: Images aligned to the left have a different margin/border than images aligned to the right.

    .
  • bug062: Sidebar: link colour is the same as text colour. Impossible to see links.

    .

 

K2 Lite

  • bug063: Heading1 <H1> is white text on a white background. It isn’t visible.

    .
  • bug064: Unordered lists <UL> that are nested underneath ordered lists <OL> will show up as ordered lists <OL>.

    .

  • bug065: Posts: horizontal rule <HR> is styled not to display.
  • bug066: Comments: There is no quick link for editting comments (there is an edit link for trackbacks though).

    .

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One Response

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  1. engtech said, on November 07, 2006 at 10:50 am

    Please leave all comments here.

    It’s a lot easier for me to follow all of the theme review comments from one place. :)


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