Author Archives: Amalia Klinck-Shearman

What’s Next — Future Plan

Now that we’ve wrapped up the class and I have been able to take a moment to reflect on everything we learned, the trials, the tribulations, the blood, sweat, tears, even shingles diagnosis, I’m really happy I took this class. In looking to the future, I am looking forward to taking some time off from school, class, and code. On Monday, I finished my Capstone class, and I feel pretty brain dead.

With that being said, I don’t want to let Three Cheers Four Food or my new coding skills go to waste! First, I paid for both–to learn and to host the site. Second, I think it’s a pride thing right now. So, below is my plan for the next six months for continuing to learn code and update my site.

[Take a two-week break to do more reflecting and mostly to sleep! This time will be used to give my brain a break from the work and school life, and let myself get reenergized for what’s to come!]

Month 1-2: Refresh myself on the following languages:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • PHP
  • I want to focus on these three languages because they are the languages that I primarily used in the development of my site.

Month 3-4: Start website updates:

  • There were several comments that my classmates made about updates I could make to my site and I want to be able to do complete these. These include:
    • Updating the navigation bar
    • updating the colors and fonts for the custom post types
    • revisiting the custom post type code and getting the information to echo
    • adding pictures to my recipe page
    • creating a plan for content creation
      • for this, I have a personal plan of doing weekly updates.

Month 5-6:

  • Continue learning new languages. I’m interested in learning more about Python as it’s a commonly used language that I’ve heard the web developers use at work.

In conclusion, as hard as the semester was, I don’t want to lose the skills that I’ve gained over the semester. I like the challenge and I think that now that I have more time that I’ll be able to dedicate myself (and with a different mindset). Like learning a new language, you have to practice or you’ll lose everything you’ve learned. SO, that’s my plan! I hope that my classmates can hold me to it.

And here are some pictures of my cat, because she’s magical (Sorry they’re blurry, it’s Apple’s fault):

Long weekend of pizza and coding

This past week/weekend has taught me a lot about the world of coding — hours can fly by without you realizing it. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re completing numerous tasks…you could have gotten no where. For a few hours on Saturday, as I coded with a few classmates, that’s how I felt. That I had done so much work customizing my WordPress site, but was not getting the results I was hoping for. For example, I finally had success creating a custom post type (YAY!!), but after creating the meta boxes (following the guidelines of the Reading List example Greg showed us in class), the meta boxes weren’t working. The information was not being echoed correctly, or at all. That was infuriatingly frustrating. Today, it’s still not working. After putting that to the side, I worked on creating two other custom post types, had written all of the code and was ready to conquer these additional post types (TV Review & Restaurant Review). To no avail, I realized that WordPress doesn’t allow for multiple custom post types. Even after hours of Googling the answer, I haven’t been able to figure it out. Any help is appreciated!

Update on my final project site:

  • I’ve created three custom post types with meta boxes as plugins. They don’t work properly, but i’ve created them.
  • I’ve updated the CSS of the child theme as much as I could to my satisfaction for the layout/display of the site. I incorporated Google fonts, HEX colors, and updated the main menu navigation.

What’s left to do:

  • Continue working on getting the custom post types and meta boxes to work!
  • Adding two plugins: Instagram feed and Contact form
  • Inserting content

The next few days should be interesting. I am really hoping to be able to get the customizations I set out to do done and to successfully complete the project. Below are a few questions I have:

  • How do we add multiple custom post types?!
  • how do we get our meta boxes to echo the information we put in them?

Big shout out to Allie, Jaclyn, and Lucy for all their help this weekend!

Started From The Bottom, Now We’re Here

It has been a wild summer semester. I walked into this class (a week late) with unknown expectations for the class, the semester, and the material. To be honest, my only interactions with code were back when we had AOL Instant Messenger and MySpace and I wanted to customize something on my profile. Now, after being able to take a step back, I feel like I have learned so much more. I definitely would not have been able to learn what I did if I attempted to learn code on my own–I need the hand holding at the beginning to get comfortable. While I still feel like a total noob when it comes to code and coding, I also feel a sense of accomplishment for being able to at least (somewhat) understand HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and JQuery and PHP, and being able to create my own site using developer code. Like, what?! I’ve realized that coding truly is another language and I have a greater appreciation for the internet, dynamic and interactive sites and most importantly the web developers on my team. I didn’t comprehend the work that goes into their daily tasks.

As I look back on the class I think there are a few things that I would change to help my fellow Georgetown students on their web developer journeys:

  • Offer this class during a Fall or Spring semester. I think the extra weeks and shorter class times will make all the difference.
  • Continue using Codecademy. I think that was my saving grace.
  • Start the WordPress project from the beginning. Find a way to incorporate the final project from the beginning.
  • Work through Codeacademy-like lessons together in class. W3Schools helped, but I think being hands on would be even better.

I really enjoyed this class. I feel a sense of pride knowing that I have made it out alive on the other side with only several bumps, bruises, and maybe a few tears later. I hope my coding journey doesn’t end here and that I’m able to continue learning and developing these skills, but more on that in the next post!

The Final Stretch

This week I found myself feeling satisfied and relieved to be taking a break from coding my final project. I went into the last class knowing that I wanted to complete a few tweaks to my WordPress site, wanted to collaborate with my classmates on figuring out the final pieces of code, and coming to terms that I don’t fully understand why my code doesn’t always work. I found myself Googling more than I had anticipated that I would be, and I relied heavily on a number of PHP and CSS code testers to be test my code. At times, I was confused as to if I was making updates to my local or live site…I have a case of “too many tabs open at one time” syndrome. In a way, it was good. It forced me restart my thinking from scratch and gave me a minute to walk away from the code.

Admittedly, I have grown frustrated with the Final Project. I had a feeling I would. I spent SOOOOO many hours trying to get all of the custom post types to work, then getting the meta boxes to work. The frustration quickly turned to anger. I’d be ecstatic if someone could look at my code and find how to improve it so it could echo the information correctly (or at all) the actual post.

Another major shout out to everyone in class the other day. Thanks for helping answer all of my questions!

I’m happy to be able to take a step back from the code. My plan is to quickly jump back into my WordPress site and continuously develop the site, content, and my coding skills. I hope to be able to go back to Code Academy and re-work on the lessons at a slower pace to allow me to soak in the information.

Onward and upward. I hope everyone enjoys the site.



Baby steps towards the Final Project


I’ve had some experience working with software developers and implementation specialists who have explained the benefits of an API. When I worked at Oracle as a Human Capital Management Account Representative, our selling point was Oracle’s open-API standard, or the fact that our applications could talk to virtually anything. In completing the readings from Free Code Camp and WordPress, I was able to get a better understanding of how APIs are used outside of the enterprise software sphere and are used every day by people like you and me. In the past, I’ve heard about REST APIs, but I don’t understand their importance? How would using a REST API on our WordPress site be beneficial to our page? Or, how would this practically translate to our final project?

Update on Final Project:

I’ve finally started working on my final project. It’s been intimidating to say the least. I’ve done all of my work on my local server and haven’t attempted to move anything to the Filezilla application. Should I be actively syncing these two together?

I’ve separately created a CSS file of tweaks that I want to make, but how do I incorporate this into the existing code? Should I create a separate CSS file within my child-theme and have it run last?

My biggest concern is updating the plugins that I wanted to incorporate. How do we do this? Is there a ‘how-to’ document that you’ve found particularly useful online that we should try to follow?

Additional overarching questions:

  • If we are adding HTML, CSS, PHP, etc. to our WordPress site, do we create separate files for these? Where should we be updating the code?

As the final project approaches, I’m realizing how much more time I need to dedicate to the project. I’m starting to think that my final pitch post may have been over ambitious…only time will tell.

Project Management and Final Project Updates

What resonated with me the most this week was stated in the Agile Manifesto:

“Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.”

I want to be able to continue thinking like this as I approach both the final project and future web/digital projects. I tend to overthink things and get bogged down in the granular tactics instead of focusing on the big picture. I overcomplicate and get frustrated. I have to learn to be flexible, take a step back and look at the project as a whole in order to be as successful as I can be.

The Agile Best Practices video had great concepts that I think can be translated for any managing any project—planning, feedback and testing. For the final project, I will need to create a plan, ask my classmates for feedback and continue testing for the user on the front and back-end.

Updates on the final project: I had SO much trouble getting my site to be hosted on my server on my computer. I did see that it slowed my computer down a little bit, but it was not anything too significant. However, I have not had as much time to go into the code and begin updating it to fit my needs. I’ve begun taking pictures, short video clips, and creating content for the site, since I think that will be the easiest portion of the project. Moving forward, I hope to use a more efficient project management tool to keep me on track of small things I can do every day to alleviate the workload and added stress as we finish up the summer semester. Something I hope to be able to keep in mind is looking beyond the front-end and UX of my site and approach the customizations with a problem-solving lens, as explained in our reading.

Word Press and PHP Drama

This week I spent most of my time re-reading through the WordPress readings and thinking about what I should be doing for my final project. Because I hope to be able to build on what I create for the final project, I want to make sure that this is something I can keep up with and that the theme I choose has enough flexibility to fit different types of content (i.e. recipes, reviews, about me, etc.). What I was able to come up with you can find in my updated Final Pitch post, but to give you a synopsis, I want to create a website that is focused on food, but also gives my audience/readers a glimpse into my life and who I am. I want to feature things about myself, what I’m interested in and what I’m doing in hopes to be able to connect with others like me.

What I took away from the readings was the complexity of WordPress. It is not as straightforward or easy as it seems. There are levels of complexity that are giving me a little anxiety knowing we have to navigate WordPress to create the site. On the other hand, as stated in my last post, being able to use a platform like WordPress also gives us a safety net to rely on, which I really appreciate.

For my PHP code assignment, I added a comment box where site visitors could input their name, email address, and comment. I explain in my code, that the comments will all be replied to individually and thus the email address is needed. I want to be able to incorporate this into my final project as a customization. I also want to be able to incorporate liking the content because I think user engagement is most important. That being said, the PHP code assignment was not as easy as I thought it would be. While this might be my favorite code-type we’ve learned thus far, in practice, PHP can be difficult. At first, I was having trouble echoing the different boxes I had created. I Googled my way through it, but I’m hoping to be able to learn it on my own in the future.


  • For the next class, will be going through how to create the repository for our final project in GitHub?
  • Will you walk us through how to install WordPress on our hosting service (like GoDaddy)?

Final Project Pitch

What’s it About: For my final project, I will be creating a combination of a personal site and a food blog. On my personal/food blog site, I will feature posts about recipes I’ve made, tricks I’ve learned along the way, as well as my personal thoughts on a variety of issues (food, TV, shopping, cooking, etc.). For example, I want to be able to include the following on my blog: my resume, my aspirations, an about me section, links to my social media accounts, recipe of the week, recipe of the month, and reactions to popular TV shows. In order to attract a larger audience, I will also curate content from external sources and will be hyperlinking to other sources. My post types will include: blog posts, pictures, videos, and quotes. I hope to be able to customize my site to be very interactive and keep audiences engaged while they’re on my site. While I want to focus more on the backend, I also want to keep in mind the user’s experience.

I’m looking forward to working on this final project for several reasons. First, I have always wanted to start a personal blog of some sort and have never gotten around to it. Secondly, I’m a foodie and totally obsessed with food, the Food Network, Insider, Tasty, you name it. I own more cookbooks than any 25-year old should. So, I want to be able to bridge my various interests and hobbies and combine them into a cohesive site. Finally, in the future, I want to be able to point potential employers to a side project I’ve worked on and developed. I think it will show how the skills I’ve learned both in this class and the Georgetown PRCC program have helped me become a well-rounded PR and communications professional.

Audience: I see my audience being millennial women in the DC area between the ages of 18-25. The way I envision my final project to be should speak to women in the area of a similar age and keep them engaged and entertained for the duration of the time they’re on the site.

  • To build an interactive site with compelling content
  • To bring other DC women to my site interested in reality TV (sorry!), cooking, and food!!
How I’ll achieve my goals:
  • By updating my website with various content that the audience can interact with. For example, creating an integration (or plugin) to my Instagram account.
  • By allowing for the audience to like, comment and share my conent
  • By linking out to other dynamic sites and giving my opinion on recipes and restaurant
  • By incorporating go-to and new DC, VA and MD restaurant reviews
Theme: Kale
Track: ?
Planned modifications:
  • Addition of plugins:
    • 1. Instagram feed
    • 2. Contact Form
  • Creation of a child theme that will include updating the front-end capabilities including the fonts, and layout of the page.
  • Creating 3 post types for different types of content: (these will include custom fields that are applicable to each post type)
    • Recipe
    • Restaurant Review
    • TV Review
**I’m open to any and all suggestions! Let me know how to make this website even better!**

WordPress, PHP, You Name It

Before starting to read the readings about WordPress, I was excited about the upcoming final assignment. I have some experience using WordPress in journalism classes at Wake Forest where I did my undergrad, but I haven’t used it to make something of personal significance. Moreover, it’s comforting to know that we’re not building everything from the ground up, but working off of templates that have been created. I think this will help with making the site more dynamic in nature and focusing on using code to customize the site to fit the subject matter. Not to mention, it takes some of the pressure off of having to think about both the big picture of a site and on a granular level with the functionality. WordPress will make it manageable to be able to do both.

Something that stuck out to me when completing the reading (that are now due the following week), that I think is important is: “Good themes improve engagement with your website’s content in addition to being beautiful.” At the end of the day, while we’re making this website for ourselves, we have to continuously keep the user in mind and ensure that they have a pleasant user experience. Otherwise, no one will want to visit our site. With that being said, in order to do this, I will have to work on both the front and backend of the site to be able to deliver a good site.

It was very helpful to go through each of the readings. It broke down, step by step, what we will have to do, including the taxonomy and naming of the folders. The guides, in particular the Child Themes guide, will be very helpful as we start creating our WordPress sites.

Other important information I noted:

  • WordPress debugging tool
  • Plugin: controls the behaviors of the feature
    • made up of PHP, CSS and JavaScript
    • builds additional functionality to what WordPress themes can already do
  • Theme: controls the presentation of the content
  • Development environment: develop the WordPress environment locally on your server (why we downloaded MAMP) and supplement this with a text editor like sublime or atom.

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the PHP Codecademy lessons. It made sense. I didn’t feel as lost when I was writing out the code because I already understood variables, strings, functions, etc. I hope to be able to work more in PHP and continue developing those skills because it makes more sense.

Q and A with Lauren Soni, Janelia Research Campus Web Developer

Lauren Soni Fraino

Lauren Soni Fraino is a young web developer new on the scene after a career in science research. Her path to web development encompasses the movement toward powerful women, and her experiences with graduate school at Northwestern University, the National Academy of Sciences, and Janelia Research Campus have led her to encompass everything digital.

This interview and my interactions with Lauren make me appreciate web development and web developers more. It is crazy how much work goes into the successful development of a website and one that focuses not only on aesthetics, but also on the user experience. My conversations with Lauren, as a result of this midterm project, additionally, gave me hope for my future in coding and web development. She was able to express her trials with learning how to code and looking at websites in a different manner. One of the things that stayed with me after this interview was that being a “coder” does not happen overnight. It is a long journey of continuously refining your skills. But there is hope–she helped instill that hope in me. Not to mention, she admitted that she, too, scours the internet for code guidelines and examples. So, we are not alone!

The following is a Q&A interview with Lauren Soni Fraino about her experiences entering the world of web development and her experiences working in a digital world.

[Note: the interview below has been adapted for length and clarity]

You’ve had an interesting journey to becoming a web content specialist and web developer. How did you decide to move from science research to web development?

I started off as a biologist, and quickly realized that I was better fit for asking and answering questions quickly within my reach. While working at the National Academy of Science, I realized this newfound aspiration of mine, and began working closely with my team’s web designer and web developer. I had the knowledge and insight of what content would appeal to prospective users, but I wanted to build and design experiences that would meet the user’s needs. This realization is what led me to my current career path—designing and developing digital experiences for those interested in expanding upon their knowledge of basic research within the life sciences.

What advice do you have for new web developers looking to learn the ins and outs of coding in different languages? What’s your favorite language to code in?

As a designer, I thoroughly enjoy working within CSS. I enjoy being able to have content laid out in front of me, and the opportunity to creatively display that content in an engaging way. Often times, this means adding page specific—or even site-wide specific—content in front of me where I can apply styling that will engage a user’s attention and captivate them based upon how I have styled specific content. As a designer/developer, I strongly suggest continuous practice of a specific language, without becoming discouraged by immediate results, to ensure self-satisfaction throughout a project’s duration.

Where do you see the web development and user experience industry in five years? What about your own career?

I anticipate web developers and user experience professional working more and more closely together.  Nowadays, the two practices are disjointed, but in an ideal setting these types of professionals would work closely together. It is the responsibility of the user experience professional to gather and collect specific research to inform the user of a specific digital product, and for the web developer to produce this product. Without this harmonious approach, the two practices would have little contact with each other, and would result in unnecessary spending and product research.

To date, what has been the most interesting web and/or digital project that you’ve had the opportunity to work on?

The most interesting digital project I have worked on has been designing and developing a solution to help meet the needs of exposing our research institute’s advanced imaging center. Throughout this project I served as a designer, and lead digital project manager, to create a solution to pair those interested in working with Janelia Research Campus with a specific imaging tool, such as an advanced imaging microscope. This Buzzfeed-like quiz allowed us to create an engaging experience to pair users with the ideal imaging platform to meet their research needs.

What types of projects do you hope to work on in the future?

In the future, I hope to be a part of a project that focuses upon the user’s initials needs, and designing and developing a project with the user in mind. Often times, various political landscapes and organizational needs will cloud a project’s future. My ideal project would focus on a user-oriented product that would solve for a user’s needs with room for that solution to evolve as the user’s needs evolve in time.

What’s your most visited site? Do you ever get content and development ideas from it?

My most visited website it Because this website shares best practices as it relates to web design and development, I often get inspiration from this website to help shape the design and development of specific projects I am working on.

If you could be any superhero with any superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could be any superhero with any superpower, I would be Wonder Woman with her ability to use her Lasso of Truth to help inform my decision-making processes. If I had this ability, I would use [interviewees] to better inform my design-decision-making. It is a valuable practice to test assumptions on users before having developers devote time to producing a specific solution. If I were able to persuade users to provider their honest opinions of a particular product during initial user testing, I would be able to work more closely with the development team to produce a product that was more in-line with the needs of our users.