Finishing my final project site was the best feeling. When I loaded the final versions of my Sublime files via FileZilla and clicked over to my live site and they actually (mostly) worked, I was shocked and relieved. I was — and am still — a little bit in awe of myself.
I am pleased with what I was able to create for my final project site. As I mentioned in my last post, my modifications included creating a custom post type plugin, rendering a custom metabox, and creating four fields within the metabox that I was eventually able to get to save. I also did a fair amount of CSS styling, including changing the fonts and colors on my site title, subtitle, widget headings, post headings, and body content. I also changed the color of my site’s main navigation bar and put it in a fixed position at the top of the page so that it stays there when you scroll down the page. Lastly, I changed the static and hover colors of the various buttons on my site and added Strava and social media button plugins. Although I wasn’t able to create the lightbox slideshow and featured post carousel that I had initially pitched, I am proud of what I was able to accomplish. If you had asked me 10 weeks ago what a custom post type was and what the steps were to build a plugin, I would have responded with a blank stare. I now know how to create one, or at least what to search for on Google in order to do so!
I’m planning to continue working on my site after the semester is over. I’m hoping to acquire some Adobe Illustrator skills in the coming months so that I can create a custom logo to feature in my site header. In the meantime, I’ll probably make my site title font a little smaller and also reduce the size of the header as a whole. I might also go with a more minimalist color scheme for my site by making my navigation bar the same color as my background.
Looking back on this class as a whole, it has truly been a lesson in problem-solving and troubleshooting. I was already a big user of Google before enrolling in this class, but I can honestly say that I have never Googled so many things in such a short period of time. As the semester went on and my knowledge and understanding of the different coding concepts and programming languages increased, I found myself having an easier time finding the answers to questions simply because I knew what to Google. Not knowing what to search for or where to look as I struggled to build my jQuery slideshow back in June as well as during the early stages of my final project work was frustrating. I quickly learned however, that there are so many resources and forums online that have people asking the same or similar questions. At times, it was reassuring to know that I wasn’t the only one struggling with trying to figure out how to do something.
Thinking back to the very first Codecademy lessons on HTML and CSS, I can see just how much I’ve learned in a short period of time. I went from only knowing how to make a font bold in HTML to creating divs, styling classes in CSS, and using WordPress hooks to create different functionality within my site. The WordPress platform as a whole is something that intrigues me a lot, and I plan to continue exploring all that it has to offer. I learned that there is a WordPress meet-up group in D.C., and I may attend one of their meetings in the future to see what I can learn from more experienced developers.
One suggestion for future iterations of this course would be to start focusing on WordPress earlier in the semester. While I was able to eventually figure out most things on my own, I think it would have been helpful to have a better idea of how WordPress works before I jumped into creating my final project site. I had to do a lot of reading and researching to figure out what hooks and actions were and how they worked within WordPress, and I think that teaching those things and other WordPress-specific concepts earlier in the semester might help future students.
Overall, while I was certainly frustrated at many points throughout the summer and often felt like I was reaching a dead end no matter how hard I searched for an answer, I am grateful for this experience and for being encouraged to dig for answers and find solutions on my own.