Category Archives: 2017 Summer class

To infinity and beyond!

Reflections part III

This class has been a whirlwind. I might have said that before, but it deserves saying again. I’m glad I have these skills–the basics. I know what a markup language is. I know about abstraction and the incredible importance of having a community of fellow coders–people who are trying to figure it out and are willing to discuss (except, something tells me that real coders aren’t like that) and the vast importance of semicolons in the right places.

It may seem silly, but I was amazed at the amount of similarity between learning coding and learning a language. Repetition, repetition, repetition. I did think it would be more like math, but it is so much more like a puzzle or just understanding the basics to know what works with what and why.

I hope to continue learning these languages. I’d like the concentrate on CSS, HTML, and JavaScript–front end stuff so that I can continue to work on better versions of the site I created. I mentioned in one of my more recent posts how I hope to focus on other subjects. I’m also very excited to be taking the data visualization class–maybe I can combine all these elements to tell a story more effectively. I’d love to create my own custom slider with JavaScript, and learning to use PhotoShop and the rest of the Adobe creative suite for the visual elements.

This class really revealed how much more I want to learn. That was both eye opening and daunting. There are so many things I want to be able to do well, so that’s going to take some effort on my part. I’m thinking of looking into one of the local workshops or bootcamps so I can continue to learn more about the languages I mentioned. (I was disappointed that the “hard way” series doesn’t have any visual books about yet!)

I think the best way for me to continue learning this stuff is simply to have a project or two that I continue to putz with and work on. I’m happy to have learned about all these new resources so that I can try and make the ideas in my head come to fruition.

Thoughts and Questions

The project has been finicky, but things are rolling right along.

I’m worried about being able to successfully manipulate the slider plugin I’ve chosen, “MasterSlider”–it’s kind of fussy. I’ll go in to change certain things and then the changes don’t show up. (Edit: I sent them a message to ask a question, but they didn’t reply until about five days later. So. A note for customer service via WordPress plugins!)

I’m also concerned about each of the pictures being the correct size, so that they aren’t totally blown out of proportion or blurry or some such. I’m having trouble finding a way to make them “full screen” without them being totally blown out of proportion. Honestly, in retrospect, it might be helpful to build the slider completely from scratch, but at this point I simply don’t have time.

My final finicky issue is the text, which is somewhat related to the picture issues. Again, with the slider plugin I downloaded I should be able to add text directly to each slide, but it’s not working. So, I’ve gone in to another application in an effort to add text over the slides. But, I think it looks sort of clunky. And there aren’t good options for text overlay so that they’ll be able to show up over the pictures.

I also had to go in and resize each picture individually through a data compressor type thing I found online, because each picture was too big for the WordPress media library. Another frustration, but I think I’ve found a solution without having to compromise the quality of the photographs.

Looking Ahead

After taking this class I have a newfound respect for web developers, their knowledge, and patience. After spending countless hours this semester whether it be on Codecademy, W3Schools, or coder blogs, I have only skimmed the surface. The thing with coding and really any technology-related material, it is always being modified or multiplying in functionality.

With that being said, I really feel like to move forward in coding, I should revisit the basics. My plan would be to go back and redo the Codecademy tutorials. During the class, I have class on Thursday nights and then coached on the weekends so on Saturday and sunday nights I would be cramming to make sure I would complete the modules on time to send in. By doing so, I think I rushed my brain and it wasn’t able to fully digest the information being thrown it’s way. Now I did learn a lot, don’t get me wrong. But throughout my final project I would have to go back through Codecademy and re-do some of the modules to remember the right steps to take on certain coding elements.

After taking my time and fully redoing my Codecademy models, I would love to keep my website that I created for my final project updated and add more design elements to it. I think that coding is a skill that is hard to come by especially in the PR industry, and I would love to showcase what I know while creating access to my digital portfolio.

Other than that, I might look into another Codecademy-type of online learning, however- realistically, I will probably stick to Codecademy.

Thanks again for a challenging but educational semester.

What’s Next?

This class was definitely a challenge. I was not sure I would make it to the end, grades are not out yet so we will see, but the prospect of making a site for my dad got me through. He absolutely loves it and wants to add a picture of us to the “About Us” page, which was suggested by someone in the class. Like I said a few posts ago, I’m not sure if I want to continue doing web development.

This has been an educational experience and I enjoyed doing the more cosmetic coding. But there is something unpleasant about JavaScript, jQuery, and PHP. If I continue developing skills in this field, I would need to go back and spend some time reviewing these languages because these are the ones I want to work with.

I will take some time to recover from this semester, my last one at Georgetown, and then start my learning again. I will be supplementing the courses on Codecademy with those on the Odin Project. They seem to offer free projects and the opportunity to actually build things. I’ll let you know how it goes.

A big thing I want to work on is creating a working contact page from scratch. I still have not figured out how to make it link to a “Thank you” page and still email the message to the account’s email. Especially once I change it over to my dad. I want to continue working on this site, create more content and possible make it a little more interactive if possible. I’ll be working on the host site, along with my learning and probably start both in October when I return from traveling.

I hope to be relatively proficient, if possible, by December or January, so that I can write code more quickly and efficiently.

Moving On and (Hopefully) Up

To continue my progress with code, I’ve broken down my future goals into three sections:

First, I would like to continue to maintain and build on my site. There are three features I would have liked to have on my site but didn’t get to working on for the project:

  • I would also like to incorporate Google Analytics into the site to track my visitors and am giving myself until September 6th, at which point the site will have been live for a month, to have this figured out.
  • I would also like to add a subscription button to my blog and am giving myself until September 6th to do this.
  • Currently, my custom meta boxes still won’t register and save spaces, and I am being generous and giving myself until the end of September to fix the issue.

In general, I would like to continue learning programming languages and brushing up on my code skills. For this, I am committing myself to two goals right now:

  • I would like to use Codecademy to learn the basics of Python. We’ve talked a lot about Python in our class, and it seems fairly common and useful to know. There are twelve lessons in Codecademy’s python course, and I am once again giving myself a generous amount of time to finish them. I would like to make my way through the entire lesson by the end of October (Tuesday, October 31).
  • I would also like to continue brushing up on my JavaScript and PHP skills because I feel those were the two languages I struggled with in particular over the course of this class. However, I don’t know the best way to go about doing this?

Lastly, a couple of weeks ago, I attended a Women Who Code event here in DC and, even though I’m not sure if I really qualify as a woman who codes, I really enjoyed the experience and would like to continue to stay involved with this organization. I want to commit myself to attending at least two WWC events a month. I attended an intro lab in early August and will be going to a Lambada Ladies event on August 24th.

Continued (Slow) Progress on the Site & Lots of Trial and Error

This week I was so enthralled in writing my code I forgot to write an analysis post! I spent most of my day Saturday and Sunday working on my code and, although we are getting closer to a working product, I am definitely not as far along with my assignment as I usually am a week out for the due date. I have spent hours researching, testing code, trying new approaches, and reading about different WordPress features that may serve a helpful purpose, but there are still a few pieces of my site that I can’t get functioning properly!

Specifically, on my “Request a Recipe” form, I was able to get it working perfectly on my local site (woohoo!) but now the form is not appearing on my live site. I have downloaded the necessary plug-in, triple checked the theme I created, ensured the permalink is accurately linked, and yet the form will not appear on the site. I am sure I will dance around the room when I finally figure out how to make this work, but at the moment it is very frustrating and disheartening because after hours of work, I am no closer to a solution. On the slideshow front, I have found a great tutorial on the code that I am currently working through (the four previous tutorials I tried to follow lost me half way through the programming) and although I have not finalized the slideshow, I am hopeful I will be able to achieve my goal! I am proud of what I have accomplished thus far and do feel like I have learned a LOT through trial and error, I just wish the hours I have put into the site were more apparent in the final product.

I think one of the frustrating things for me was realizing that some of the work I did on my home site did not function properly on my live site due to technical changes (e.g. I wrote my child theme based on the theme my local site was using, not the updated theme I picked for my live site) this meant I had to update all the content and repeat a lot of work I had already done, which made sense logically once I realized the issue, but was frustrating in the moment. I think this project has been a steep learning curve, but it has forced me to learn a lot about WordPress layout, functionality, local sites versus live sites, plugins, bugs and site testing, and several other odds and ends that I did not expect to understand in such a short period of time. Hopefully I will have a fabulously functioning website by this time next week, but if not, at least I’ve learned a lot!

Addressing the Confusion

This week was a crazy week for me. I was in Philadelphia for the Asian American Journalists Conference and did not work on my project as much as I would have liked to, which means I need to be as productive as possible this week with my web page.

As Greg told me in my last blog post, I need to figure out how to override and add the CSS into my child theme and go directly to the plugin.

I still need to figure out localhost problems. Since my website has a lot to due with audio, I need to embed my Soundcloud links onto my website. It is really frustrating considering that my localhost also was not working 2 weeks ago. There’s so many roadblocks sometimes in this unknown world I decided to venture into.

I have not been coding nearly as much as I should. It’s going to be crunch time for me. I plan on adding more CSS, embedding the Soundcloud audio, and choosing my child theme. It’s confusing doing code sometimes without the help of Codecademy or an HTML validator. I’ve been trying to navigate FTP FileZilla with everyone emailing each other back and forth. It’s been helpful, but I’m hoping to make more progress this week.

It’s nerve-racking and confusing. I’m so confused sometimes by this project, but I’m hoping with hard work, I’ll be able to accomplish what I need to do.

Overall, this week will be the end-all-be-all and I hope I can do everything I can to make this project truly great. I know that anything worthwhile will have lots of challenges, and I have plenty here so all I can do is my best.