MNML, A TumbleLog Style WordPress Theme

A Preview of The WordPress Theme MNML
Automattic, the folks behind have a great quote on their company site, “Blogging is too hard.” I totally agree.

Why did you start your personal blog anyway? You wanted a place online to share things you found interesting and occasionally write a longer article, maybe even a rant. Right? Did you want to start a magazine site with 40 categories carefully arranged on a complicated home page? Or did you want a blindingly shiny site that looked like it had been attacked by a pack of floor buffers? Probably not. Did you want something simple and cool looking? Something easy to post to? Something that looked and worked like the tumblelog-style WordPress theme MNML? (What’s a tumblelog?)

Maybe. Let’s take a closer look at it.

View the live Demo or Download MNML.

Content First—Literally!

The first thing you’ll notice about MNML is the header—it’s now the footer! I think this is a great layout for a smaller blog where you don’t necessarily want to highlight reams of old content. If you’re more concerned with the immediate, highlighting what’s important to you right now, then the MNML WordPress theme might just be for you. But don’t forget, there are still search and archive pages! Your content isn’t lost.

Quick Posting At The Speed of Thought

When the Prologue theme first dropped, I zeroed-in on the in-theme posting ability it showed off. Right away I thought, “I want that!” Well, now you can have it too.

A preview of the MNML quick-post form

When you’re logged in, the quick-post form will appear at the top of your index page. Neat, huh?

Now, with MNML it’s crucial that you have a category called “Asides”. This category + the quick-post form + and the MNML stylesheet are going to give you some nice minimalist-looking aside posts. This is what makes MNML a tumblelog. Think and you’ll get what I was going for.

Fans of the Prologue theme will notice I’ve added a series of links to the form, a link to the fuller “Write Post page” in the backend as well as links to sign out and visit your profile, exactly like what’s found at the top of the Dashboard. I may not build a quick-post form into every theme but I’m definitely going to consider building those handy links in.

Find out how to add quick-posting to your own WordPress themes.

Progressive Enhancement

The IE6 version of MNMLProgressive Enhancement might not be the right word. Regressive Punishment? Okay, wait, maybe it’s not that bad! What I’ve done with MNML is send a separate stylesheet directly to your IE6 visitors (click on the image for a closer look). It’s actually not that bad looking. And at the very least, it certainly fits into the MNML style.

Notice the link in the top right of the header? “Still using Internet Explorer 6?” This is not an affiliate link. All it does is refer your IE6 readers to the download page for Internet Explorer. IE7’s not that bad and I figure it’s easier to convince someone to upgrade the same product rather than switch to a completely new one.

Don’t like the link? Remove it. It’s fine by me.

And speaking of Progressive Enhancement, your Safari readers get a nice little text shadow on the Blog title. You’re welcome.

Get Found and Be Heard

MNML is based on The Sandbox making it safe and search-engine optimized for WordPress. On top of that, I’ve made a few more tweaks, recommended by Chris Pearson, that will help you get heard and help you get noticed.

MNML Isn’t So Minimal, Is It?

I guess MNML isn’t so minimal after all! On top of all that, MNML is GPL licensed. That means it’s free and free forever. Do with it as you please.

One more thing about the styling: while MNML is a Tumblelog style theme it isn’t a tumblelog theme exactly. It does have an aside category but it doesn’t have any other special category styling. This is intentional. I want posting to be easy. I don’t want you to have to use and remember special formatting for each post. MNML, and tumblelogs in general, are supposed to make blogging more fun. Not more of a pain.

Have at it!

View the live Demo or Download MNML.

Author: Ian Stewart

Canadian, designer, dad, and dork. I work at Automattic on .

128 thoughts on “MNML, A TumbleLog Style WordPress Theme”

  1. This is an Awesome Ian! I will definitely be using this for my personal blog. It’s straight to the point — no games, no gimmicks. I was a little skeptical about having the header replace the footer, but with MNML it definitely seems logical. Plus, traditionally, there always seems to be similar types of content in both of these areas; makes sense to consolidate. Prologue is also a great feature. I was just reading your article about adding it to my own blog, but this one looks so nice that I will be sparing myself the time. Thanks and Great work!

  2. Thanks, Ptah. I think I’m going to have to spend a day or so digging into the WordPress codex though, and seeing what I can do about adding on to Prologue. Support Forums, here I come!

  3. There is a little issue with the formatting of asides. If a post is on the front page and displayed as an aside (and has more than one line of text), the text of the first line comes out wonky. This wouldn’t be a problem, but it makes it hard to click on a link that is on the first line of an aside post. See my homepage for an example, as the demo page doesn’t have a aside with a link on the first line.

    Is there anyway to fix this behavior?

  4. Thanks for letting me know about this, Chris. I’ve updated the file and a corrected ZIP is ready for download. If you’ve already made some modifications to the theme and you just want to add the fix, open up style.css and find .entry-content on line 193. Add the following:


    That should fix it.

  5. Thanks for that quick fix, Ian. I really appreciate a theme designer fixing issues promptly, as many release themes and then refuse to provide any semblance of support.

  6. Ian, another fyi. The MNML theme displays weird in Firefox 3 right now. Items from the index are shown on top of the bottom header. Not something that is an issue right now, but just wanted to let you know.

  7. To clarify, it is actually only post text that is displayed on top of the bottom header. The text in the sidebar and post titles do not cause an issue.

  8. Weird. I wouldn’t have expected a problem in Firefox 3. The soonest I can look at that would be tomorrow, Chris. Thanks again for the heads up.

  9. Got to it early. MNML updated and ready for downloading. A little position:relative here a little z-index there and everything should be fine.

    I hope.

    And wow. If I didn’t depend on four or five awesome extensions I’d be using Firefox 3 right now. It’s perfect.

  10. I like this theme very much.

    noticed that Alignments other then align=left are not working for me in the post.
    I would like some elements of my post to be centered.
    Is there anything that could be changed or that i could change to make it work?

    thanks in advance

  11. The image alignment is class based. You’ll need to use alignleft, alignright, center. I’ll be updating this for WP2.5 to also use align-left and align-right, the new defaults.

  12. Now that the release candidate for WP 2.5 has been released, when will we see the update to this theme?

  13. Ian, the issue with the link on the first line of an aside is happening still (with your current MNML download). I am only noticing this, though, if there is an aside that is the first post.

  14. I created an “Asides” category, but whenever I write a quick post, it’s labeled under “Uncatagorized” and displayed as a standard post. What am I doing wrong?

  15. Ian, I was working off a version I downloaded yesterday. I’m not sure when you changed the download. It would be helpful if you changed the version number in the style.css file to note the changed version (I know its easy to forget that, I’ve done it before).

  16. Anyone else having weird rollover issues in the sidebar — when I roll over any of the links in blogroll or categories, all of them highlight.

    Any ideas on why? It’s Firefox

  17. Huh…OK.

    Feels like non-standard web-ish behavior to me, so I’ll poke around in the code to sort it out.

    Nice theme, by the way. Thanks.

  18. One more request… a different color or something for the administrators comments on posts/pages. That would be ideal, and I just noticed this theme doesn’t have that.

  19. Ian, I made sure I am using the version 1.1 of MNML, still having the issue with the links in the first line of asides. The links seem to have a very small clickable area. Thanks for your assistance.

  20. Feel like testing some code, Chris? Try adding position:relative to the asides in the stylesheet. Like so:

    .home .category-asides * {

    Let me know if that works.

    I swear though, the next theme I release is going to shy away from bonkers CSS!


  21. Ian, that code appears to work. Also, I fixed the issue with the lack of author comment highlighting. People can add something like this to their style.css file:

    .bypostauthor {
    background-color: red !important;

    You can change the color to whatever work for you.

  22. Finally! Thanks, Chris.

    Re. author comment highlighting: I couldn’t think of a decent solution for MNML that fit. Otherwise, I would have included it.

  23. I agree. There isn’t a good color to allow for it. It might work with author comments being on a white background, but then you would have to change the white text in the author comment meta/details to some other color.

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  25. love the theme…. i am well involved in this theme on my site so i don’t know if it would be good for me to update.

    but one question, how can i remove the quick post box from above the pages once logged in to my admin?

    thanks for any help

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  27. You so crazy! I love the ideas and I need them stuck as I am in more conventional ways of thinking about theme structure. Header in the footer? Yes, why the hell not?
    By the way, clicking on the demo leades to an error message about wordpress-automatic-upgrade/wpau_helper.class.php

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