Tumble-Hybrid: The Perfect Personal Website Format

In my opinion, a tumblelog is an excellent format for a personal website. It allows you to quickly post photos, conversations, video, text, quotes and links without a lot of overhead.

Tumblr is a great service that allows users a large amount of customization of the their tumblelogs for being a hosted service. Several sites have brilliantly integrated Tumblr into their static and dynamic sites for their blogging needs.

When redesigning my family website, I seriously considered this route. That is when I realized a few drawbacks on things I wanted available on the site.

  • No built in search
  • No built in commenting system
  • Lack of archives

There are ways to get around the first two items.

Then after reading Ben Gray’s article on implementing the tumble-hybrid approach into the Texpattern CMS. I thought this would be a great format to develop and use. Allowing me to post some quick posts and lengthier content that allow comments and be easily accessed through archives as well.

The whole point of a Tumble-Hybrid is to free yourself up from the over-produced weblog and experience more real-time life and living, which you will now log of course. Writing paragraphs upon paragraphs of pure punditry is time-consuming, distracting, and sucks the life and fun out of this medium. Besides, who are you writing to anyway?"

Shawn Anthony

With this said, FamilyGeek is now running a tweaked version of Sandbox. The display of the “tumbles” is primarily controlled by the CSS and the dynamically generated semantic markup of Sandbox. I did however, edit some of the core files for my needs. I plan on doing more edits to the php to remove things I don’t really need. It makes more sense to me than having so many “display: none” attributes in the CSS.

This not meant to be a tutorial on how to achieve this format on your blog. Others have already done that better than I can. Therefore, I am going to just point you in the right directions.

Shawn of Lo-Fi Tribe and Ben Gray of openswitch have both posted how-to articles on how to edit the core theme files to create a tumble-hybrid with WordPress. BTW, both of their sites look amazing too.

Plugins that can assist in the implementation of a tumble-hybird in WordPress:

  • Tumblefeed reduces your feed into only one feed item per day. This single feed item includes all of the posts for that day.
  • Quick Post allows you to quickly post text, images, photos, quotes, and videos to Wordpress.

Themes that are already built to provide the tumblelog look and feel:

You may also want to check out gelato, a CMS that is almost exactly like Tumblr. However, the same drawbacks I listed for Tumblr hold true for gelato.