WordPress is a pretty amazing platform, but there is definitely a lot of things to explore under the hood as it related to theme development. Most everything can be done within PHP with the appropriate CSS styling to complete the look.
I’ve been able to take the basics of the old site and replicate that under WP, the CSS is going to take a bit of work to tweak though. It has actually been a while since I’ve updated the old site and really paid attention to how things looked. The old site was quite a few years old, and technology has moved ahead over the years, but mostly where I saw this being an issue was with display sizes and resolutions. Newer displays are sharper with higher resolution, and much of the old site seemed far smaller than it was originally meant to look.
So, lots of tweaks to how everything is sized and fits on the screen, but it’s definitely coming together.
One of the great things about WordPress is that there is a lot that theme developers can do to allow for customization. I’ve been testing out a lot of themes just looking to see what other authors have done, colors, fonts, etc. The more I see others doing, the more options I want to try to make available in my new theme.
Under MovableType, this was all just a matter of editing the CSS file and you had a whole different skin on your site, with WP, you have a GUI interface at your disposal to make these changes reasonably effortlessly. Once the coding for those controls is done, that is… LOL