WordPress blog with customised themes and plugins. Over the years, I have either modified the themes and plugins of other authors, or have created my own from scratch, depending on the effect I needed to achieve.
I started playing around with blogs in about 2004, and set up my first live WordPress installation in 2005. Initially I was satisfied simply experimenting with the available themes and plugins, but eventually I wanted a more unique style, and some specific plugin functionality that I couldn't find in the plugin library.
My solution was to begin developing my own theme and plugins. My general principle is not to reinvent the wheel, so where possible I tried to find a theme or plugin that most closely matched what I wanted in terms of style, and then make modifications to it. Sometimes this was very successful, but other times it wasn't. Many of the themes available were very badly coded, and did not produce anything close to valid, well structured output. I switched tack to writing the base code for the page myself, and then just adapting the specific styles from other themes into my site.
With plugins, I usually found that I was able to take a plugin and modify it to suit me. For instance, I use the Evermore plugin to automatically add a tag after the first paragraph of each post. This means that in search results and on the home page, only the first paragraph is shown, along with a link for the user to click to read more. However, I wanted the first post on the first page to always be shown in full, so I modified the plugin to include that functionality. While I was writing my thesis, I wanted a plugin where I could enter my latest word and page counts and have them displayed in the blog. There was nothing similar to this in the plugin library, so I created my own.
Rangitoto Theme 1
Thesis Status Plugin
Rangitoto Theme 2
Rangitoto theme post header details
Rangitoto theme subscribe sidebar widget
Rangitoto theme footer
Content First Theme
Content First page styles
My own themes are always a work in progress. I intermittently add to them as I come across a really good idea I see on the web and want to incorporate it into my own blog.