Just when I thought it was finished, I had 10 issues on my site. I was so glad to be done and then boom. 10 issues.
One of the most frustrating mistakes I made in my the post-development stage when I was attempting to fix my issues was editing code on the actual live site instead of in sublime text.
When I fixed my issues, I bypassed the customization feature. I clicked edit to access the code and I got a scary warning message telling me of the impending doom my site would face if I opened the code (format may be lost, etc.). This time, I bypassed the message. I made all my changes. I looked at the website and everything was shifted and unaligned. I tried desperately to restore the site to before I bypassed the message, but to no avail. I actually just shut my laptop and decided not to show the website to anyone ever again.
Now, I know the issue is that I should’ve edited in the files and in Sublime Text. Thankfully, my site’s format went back to normal and my website is worthy to be shown to other people again.
I’m proud of the work that I’ve done, though. I can actually say I’ve taken some tangible skills out of this class,
My biggest challenge with my final project was that WordPress made everything seem too easy. I get it, programmers are lazy. Every time I tried to make a customization, I found out that there was a plugin that did all the legwork. Also, there was a customizer (pretty sure it came with my theme) that worked through all the code and gave me a scary warning message when I tried to access the code manually. I was brave and bypassed it, which allowed me to customize the front page code.
Most of my code ended up being shortcode (that I did still customize) so I felt like I didn’t do the work on my site. My interactive map, which I feel is the pride and joy of my site, took the most work. I spent a lot of time inputting the photos, creating markers and linking to photos. I could not figure out how to make the photos on the markers bigger, so I had to settle with linking to larger photos. Between creating the map and the child theme, I feel like a real coder.
Overall, I found myself scrambling to create more customizations. Some things I incorporated were social media feeds, my interactive map, my resume, a custom meta box that allows to select which publication an article was written for and a contact form. My favorite feature on my site is the hero video. It makes me feel like my site is very modern.
Aside from the difficulties I had throughout the process, I have one major issue. My site still isn’t up because I can’t access the SFTP client. 🙁
Once I input the shortcode to create my map at the location I wanted it and then created the marker for one of my sites, I was able to figure out how to program it to include photos on the markers. But I quickly realized that I did not understand the interface. Before I installed the plugin, I was convinced that I had missed the mark and that none of my customizations would be code customizations because they could all be done with plugins. When I started the work, I figured out that you can type code into plugins (duh). Then, I realized I don’t understand the relationship between plugins and APIs.
Though the map plugin boasts about its well-documented API, it’s still a little hard to understand for me as a beginner. It has lists defining elements, events, methods, and options, (?) but I get confused about what exactly to type since programming is very specific.
I also had problems with issues with FileZilla. When I tried to connect, I kept getting an error message.
I have one lingering question. What is the relationship between an API and a plugin?
This week, I was challenged. I’m sitting down to put together a list of what needs to be done for my site, because I am lost without a to-do list. Every week, I feel like there is another step to the process that blindsides me and I don’t know where these steps fit into what I’m doing.
As I began the readings about API, it began to make sense. I think all of the readings make sense until I have to actually implement what I read into my work. I know that an API the part of the server that receives requests and sends responses. I know that it is what the user communicates with. The WordPress handbook helped me to understand how it relates to my site. It could be used for front-end interactivity in WordPress.
The first thing on my to-do list is to create and incorporate my child theme into my regular theme. I’ve chosen Mesmerize for the theme. I need to do deeper research and reading into what exactly needs to be in my child theme. I know that the purpose of its creation is to be able to make changes in the theme without compromising the core of the WordPress theme. Next on my to-do list is to make a list of the code I need incorporated into that theme.
Overall, I think the biggest challenge for me is visualizing what needs to be done, followed by actually doing it.
This week, I struggled with PHP. I think it was more of a conceptual struggle. I didn’t know what to add to my homepage with PHP. I thought of it as a background language. I don’t know how to differentiate between languages that have functions that just spit out an answer, and languages that have clear functionality. I don’t understand the functionality of PHP. On web searches, I discovered how to make it spit out a date, and I saw that people used it to create forms but not how they implemented it into a page to do something.
Anyhoo, I added some PHP functions that I saw on the Internet and felt could be useful but didn’t see how they’d incorporate. However, on another web search I found resources like this one that showed me a couple different uses.
Something that stood out to me in the readings today was the design thinking piece. I thought it was especially interesting because at ONA, one of the workshops we participated in was focused on design thinking. We were brainstorming different disciplines within journalism. We wrote each discipline on a sticky note, and then categorized them. Later, we tried formulating a new way to tell a story incorporating four stories from different categories. That workshop was helpful for me because having the problem and the solutions set out in front of me made them so much easier to conceptualize.
I thought it was interesting that designers have been harboring their way of thinking and the rest of us are just now catching on because some of it gave a new name. The piece and my experiences at ONA both made me want to delve deeper and find more creative ways to tell stories as a journalist.
This week, I had a tough time thinking of what I want my final project to be. I definitely needed a refresher on the languages I’ve learned and what I can do with each. It’s also been an experience learning what I can do with plugins and with PHP.
I felt like I had a lot of ideas, but also no ideas. Creating the portfolio site feels like a metaphor for my life. I have a grand vision, but the details are fuzzy. I want my site to be a revamped version of my current e-portfolio that gives a holistic view of Daja, the person (rather than Daja, the journalist).
I’m interested to see what I can do with plugins. Eventually (can’t promise it’ll be with this portfolio site), I hope to build my own plugin. The functionality is what excites me about web development. I guess if I became a web developer, I’d focus on front-end development (if not full stack). This class has really expanded my thinking.
I was looking back on the course description this week and something that stood out to me was “we do want you to come away with some coding skills and greater technical fluency.” Eight weeks in, I feel that I will definitely walk away with greater technical fluency. I find myself examining everyday processes that I see when I browse the internet and being that annoying friend that tries to explain how everything works.
Cheers to new knowledge.
What/why: For my final project, I’d like to create my own personal portfolio to capture all that I’ve worked on thus far in my career. I feel that it would make me more marketable because it’d be much more effective if I put my skills to use and have something presentable for what I learned in this class, rather than just slapping it onto my resume.
I currently have an e-portfolio on WordPress. I’ve also created a niche site on WordPress about the Harlem Renaissance. The challenge of this project will be to find creative ways to spice up the way I present myself. I could put the basic things I already have on this one, but I want to challenge myself to add some bells and whistles that showcase my new skills.
I will be doing mostly front-end modifications.
- On the travel page, I will also create a photo gallery, similar to the one we made in class.
- I will create a contact/inquiries form.
- I will add my social media feeds.
- I will incorporate the Click to Tweet plugin to allow users to share my content.
- I will incorporate a newsletter plugin to keep my readers updated.
Audience: The audience would mostly be recruiters and colleagues, specifically in journalism. I want to show them that I am a versatile journalist with a diverse skillset.
URL will be dajaehenry.com.
My initial thought after learning more about WordPress was that I need to take it off my resume. What I know about managing WordPress is comparable to taking a French class and trying to speak Haitian Creole. I knew WordPress as the site that hosted my e-portfolio, blogs I once had, and a niche site that I created about the Harlem Renaissance for a project once. I know how to upload content into WordPress using the themes and templates, but I didn’t know anything about hosting a website, which is what I thought (think?) journalists are referring to, after having countless lectures about creating our e-portfolios on WordPress because it’s the industry standard. Now, I know that there are even more levels.
We’re at the halfway point (or near it, at least). Just when I thought things were going great and I was excited to put what I learned into action, it all blew up in my face. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on jQuery but this week, it slipped through my clutches.
Here are a couple things I learned:
- If something doesn’t sound familiar, ask for help immediately. Don’t assume it is just another way to say something you already know.
If you couldn’t tell, this week was challenging. This video helped me a little, but I still couldn’t quite get it and I still don’t know exactly what it is that I don’t know.
Here are a couple specific questions I had:
- What am I doing wrong when trying to increment that makes all of the slides come back up?
Anyhoo, jQuery will not take me out without a fight. I’m coming to class with my pencil ready, and my mind clear.
Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect for my midterm:
Diana O. Eromosele is a software developer at Newsela. She is also the founder/developer of categorizedtweets.com, a tool that sorts politicians’ tweets out by issue so constituents can easily take a quick look at what they care about. When she’s not busy coding, Diana also teaches web development languages. She has a journalism background. Look out for my profile to find out how/why she made the switch!
The midterms are in. The gallery assignment was rough and left my confidence a little shaken.
However, writing the midterm restored a little confidence in my ability to get into development. My subject, Diana O. Eromosele, had a journalism background but switched careers (for the second time) after noticing that the journalism world was changing and there might be no room for her.
Her confidence and determination made it seem like a real possibility to get into that field, or at least learn some more basics. She used her coding skills to build an application that categorizes politicians and influencers’ tweets by issue. Because of her unique perspective, she was able to create a tool that was helpful to change a social atmosphere.
Just imagine what kinds of things we could be building if we had diversity of thought in that white male-dominated field. I don’t know what I thought web development was before, but I had it all wrong. I never realized the power in knowing what’s “working underneath the hood,” as Eromosele put it.
If an urban girl from New York City with a liberal arts background can do it, so can this New Orleans girl. I want to leverage that power, not only in journalism but in social change. I don’t know how yet, but I just know I feel like the wool has been pulled over my eyes for far too long.
I’ve also been using the principles I’ve learned in this class in my everyday life, especially the DRY principle. I’ve found countless ways to automate the things I’m doing and it’s been very helpful in this stage of my college career. I’m a senior with e-board positions/campus involvement, an editor of the newspaper and I’m taking 17 credits, on top of being out of town multiple weekends throughout the year. It’s been vital to create processes that make my jobs easier. Thinking like a web developer has been my saving grace this semester.