Salamanca Cathedral by darco at

Re-Theming WordPress with Castilia

First came Arras.  Then Presswork.  I have now moved on to Castilia, which is a nice clean theme.  In particular, it uses featured images on single pages with a minimum of hassle.  It has significantly more pages than Presswork but is well-documented.  There is a nice customization tool that is installed on your Appearance menu.  There is a paid version as well but the free version was plenty for what I needed.

I’ve made some minor changes, primarily to the CSS.  The home page defaults to showing the full post (the_content(”)) and I prefer to just show the excerpt.  You can change this by making a copy of the post.php, name it post-home.php and changing the line:

<div class=”entry clearfix”>
<?php the_content(”); ?>

<div class=”entry clearfix”>
<?php the_excerpt(”); ?>

Instructions on making this separate page to control the home page are contained in the Main Index Template (index.php).

Castilia also defaults to using pages and categories for the primary and secondary menus, which I prefer over having to create custom menus or relying on specific categories.  But I have used themes in the past that rely on a featured category and I don’t want to have that in the secondary menu.  It is easy to change by going in to the menu-secondary.php file and adding an exclude (everything in bold, immediately following the last equals sign) to the end of the category listing function:

… orderby=name&show_count=0&use_desc_for_title=1&title_li=&exclude=859‘)

You need to find the ID of your category to go where 859 is above.  Go to your Categories list under Posts.  Find the category you want to exclude and hover your mouse over it.  In your status bar, you can see the ID.  The exclude limiter supports multiple elements so that you can exclude more than one category.

The cascading style sheet is really cleanly done.  The theming tool that is installed has an integration tab where you can drop in your own custom styles.  I found that, where I had a lot of deeply nested styles on previous re-stylings, the styles in Castilia are really clean.  Of course, the nesting could just have been caused by me not knowing what I’m doing!  I’ve started to use the inspect element function on Google Chrome (right click on the Web page and choose the last item on the menu that pops up) to identify the particular style to tweak.  It is similar to functionality in Firebug.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.