This blog is built using Kevin Fricovsky's excellent django-mingus project, which is mainly a set of standard pre-existing reusable apps with some templates and a bit of glue to hold it together.

Although it's quite usable out of the box, I found - inveterate hacker that I am - that there were several things that I didn't quite like in the project as it was. So I changed them (isn't open source great, laydees-n-genelmen). At some point I'll fork the project on github and upload the changes, but for now here's what I've done.

Firstly, mingus forsakes Django's built-in comments framework for the external Disqus project. I didn't really fancy signing up for another service - especially as I'm not expecting vast numbers of comments on this blog. It's quite a simple matter to reinstate the comments - the relevant template code is included in the post_detail.html template included with the basic-blog app which mingus extends, so I just needed to copy and paste it into the mingus version. Then add (r'comments/', include('django.contrib.comments.urls')), to, django.contrib.comments to, run a syncdb and it's all done.

There are however a couple of missing pieces here. basic-blog doesn't include templates for the comment preview and post confirmation, so you just get an unstyled white page. Simple to fix: add a comments directory with a base.html template as follows:

{% extends "base.html" %}
{% block content %}{% endblock %}

By default the post-confirmation page doesn't include a link back to the original object, leaving the user nowhere. So an overwritten posted.html in the same directory fixes that:

{% extends "comments/base.html" %}
{% load i18n %}    
{% block title %}{% trans "Thanks for commenting" %}.{% endblock %}    
{% block content %}
  <h2>{% trans "Thank you for your comment" %}.</h2>    
  <p><a href="{{ comment.get_content_object_url }}">Return to blog</a>
{% endblock %}

The last issue with comments was that there was no indication on the index page of how many comments each post had. This is a standard feature of blogs, and a bit surprising it wasn't there - perhaps it's a consequence of using Disqus. Anyway, the solution was to add the following to templates/proxy/includes/post_item.html:

{% if object.content_object.allow_comments %}
{% get_comment_count for object.content_object as comment_count %}
<div class="comment_count"><a href="{{ object.content_object.get_absolute_url }}#comments">{{ comment_count }} comment{{ comment_count|pluralize }}</a></div>
{% endif %}

I also added a style rule for the .comment_count class in base.css.

So much for comments. Now, layout. I couldn't help thinking that the default layout had the main area to narrow and the right-hand column too wide. Luckily the templates are based on the 960 Grid System css, so it was easy to change the central column to use the grid_11 suffix_1 classes, for a width of 11/16 and a gutter of 1/16, and the right-hand column to use grid_4.

The final issue was to do with markup - that was a bit more complicated, so I'll leave it to part 2.


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