Well, I did it. I created a site! It was not the flashy site that I envisioned when I began this class, but it is a site that I created on my own. I was not able to create everything I wanted due to personal and structural limitations. But I am incredibly proud of myself, when I wanted to quit or find any Tom, Dick or Harry to pay to complete this assignment for me, I pressed through and did it myself. And though I am sure it looks like it and is not the site I described in my pitch, it is mine. I fell behind in the beginning of the semester and never fully caught up but I am glad that I took the time to learn on my own and outside of class time to be able to have a functional knowledge of the material and concepts. Creating this site taught me a lot about myself. First, procrastination will kill you, it is not a trait that you can allow to remain. Procrastinating made this project much harder than it needed to be. I also learned that it is ok to ask for help. I am a very independent person, I typically work well by myself and usually know all the answers. This was one of the very times where asking for help was critical to my success. I am thankful for my peers for all the help and advice they gave me both during class time and random times I stopped them and asked for help. I also learned the joy you feel when you create something from scratch. In the instant world, we live in there are very few things that we create from scratch without the help of a template or a base, everything from brownies to resumes. So it felt really good to see my site go from a blank website with the picture of a plant to something a little more colorful.
We are getting closer to the due date of our final project, but I am still having some difficulty with somethings. Fortunately, I have been able to add a little color to my child theme. I tried to add color to the theme both though adding the color code to the code files but also on WordPress. I am not sure which of the two made it work, but I am not too concerned I am just excited that my site has a little color and no longer reflects the sterile walls of a nursing home. I have also decided to incorporate a poll as a plug in. I am pretty excited about this addition to the site, because polls are one of my favorite things about Instagram’s latest story update. So of course, it would be the perfect addition to my finsta site. I have looked up several different strings of code for online polls, some of them do not exactly align with the things we learned in this class, but I plan to use a piece of each of them to create sort of a Frankenstein of polls. I am also thinking about incorporating a ‘poll’ tab to my side bar modification if I can get the code together. If I am able to combine the poll code and make it work, I would like to have a page of a bunch of different polls people can take. Some of them would be your typical four option poll and others would be two option polls, sort of like a ‘would you rather’ poll. My theme also calls for a header without a menu bar, so I am going to try to see if I can incorporate some of the new fonts I downloaded to used there. If anyone has any suggestions about either of those things, please let me know. Help would be greatly appreciated.
Very slowly but surely, I am making progress on my site. I have decided to stick with my ‘nursing home’ theme and try to spruce it up a bit. Some of the things I plan on doing is downloading a few different fonts and try to incorporate them into the child theme’s code. Also I plan on going into the style sheet and manually changing the color code of certain traits of the site, like the side bar, menu bar text and site buttons. I have done some research and looked at some sample code for other sites that I was able to find online, and it seems easy enough for me to tackle. One thing I have learned is, anything that seems simple enough probably will be the exact opposite, but I will still try. The one thing I am afraid of is trying to do too much manipulation to the child theme and it break and then therefore so will my site. I have also been looking for some possible modifications to incorporate with my site. I haven’t committed to any of them just yet but I am leaning towards changing the sidebar and a possible ‘contact me’ plug in. I am not particularly sold on that plug in, so if anyone has any good plug in suggestions, please let me know. Also if you know any ways to tweak a child theme and not have it break, please let me know. Right now I feel like very unsure about tweaking it because I always get an error message in my code. Should I make my changes in the files that came with my child theme when I copied it (.html, .css, .etc) or should I create new pages and then replace the old ones? None of the sites I have read mention anything about it.
So, one of our tasks this week was to add our final project site from local hosting, just unique to our computer, but to outside hosting, so that everyone could access it. This has been an uphill battle for me, I think partially because I never fully grasped the concept of hosting and multiple servers. So, it was not something I knew how to do, and I also did not know enough to ask the right questions, because I struggled a bit with the terminology. Thankfully both Jess and Prof. Greg were able to recognize my struggling and help to walk me through how to set up my hosting so that I could share my wonderful site with the world. Outside of having difficulty with hosting, I also had difficulty with a few other things with my site. My beloved child theme did not turn out exactly like I hoped. I thought I chose a parent theme that had a template which allotted for lots of space for color and photos, but I actually picked one that is kind of bland and reminds me of a retirement home, which most definitely isn’t the vision I have for my final site. Currently I am trying to do some tweaks in the code, but not too many because I do not want to break the theme. But I do want to make it more reflective of my personality. I am also trying to remember what was the name of the ‘Book List’ Prof. Greg told us about in class, I would like to create one as a modification to my site. I have googled almost every ‘name + book list’ combination and have not had much luck. Speaking of modifications, if anyone has a modification suggestion they think would work for my site or a child theme I should adopt, I am open to any and all suggestions.
My final project pitch, a finsta blog, has been approved and I am super excited to really dive in. This assignment is really going to put all the knowledge I have learned this semester to the test, so that also makes me a little nervous (and my eye twitch) because I not too sure if have mastered everything we’ve learned just yet. But, nevertheless she persisted. For this assignment, we have to make at least three modifications to the site. Since, I am a visual person I am going to try to modify and or add things that change the look of my site. The first way I plan on doing that is through a child theme, that way I can manipulate the entire ‘theme’ for lack of better word of my site. My personal e-portfolio, that I use outside of this class is powered by WordPress.com, and it took me a whole to learn how to navigate that and get it to do what I want (and I am still learning some things) so it will be interesting to see how well I am able to command WordPress.org. Currently, I view WordPress.com like bowling with bumpers and .org without. I have been reading a bit about child themes, and every site along with Prof. Greg has made it seem like it is a very doable task, even for beginners so I guess I will be truing it out. Along with including a child theme to my site, I also plan to include several different plug-ins. Right now, I am not sure what kind, but based on my research that seems to be something else I can add successfully given my skillset. Unlike my peers, I am not using my site as an eportfilio, but a blog. So, all the posts on my site will be blog posts and memes with funny captions and possibly a few rants, just because who doesn’t love a good rant. All in all, I think I have a solid game plan to begin working on my final project site.
In class we started talking about serves and I must admit I was particularly lost. My friends often describe me as a 45-year old soccer mom, because I am not super tech savvy, so the concepts of having one host on your computer and another one somewhere else stumped me a bit. I think after asking a bunch of questions in class and searching on Google, I may now have a basic understanding. This week we also turned in the midterm, which was the only assignment so far that I have felt confident in or passionate about. Mostly, because web development is not really one of my strong suits, but writing is. I also found an AMAZING subject, Kristen, who made it easier in general. Speaking with Kristen definitely helped me understand web development more. Typically, I see things as black or white, either you have the skill, or you do not. But, Kristen helped me see that you cannot look at web development in that way, because even in her role as a full-time developer, she does not know everything and is constantly learning new things. Which was a big relief to me because I was starting to feel like a lost cause, and that I would never get it. I also really enjoyed this project because it expanded my ‘web development network’ to include more than just my professor, now I have someone else to ask to explain concepts to me. Actually, one of Kristen’s explanations about development really made sense. She described a web site as a restaurant, where the customer is the visitor, the waiter was the front end and the kitchen was the back end of the site. I think that analogy is something I’m going to always remember because everyone goes to restaurants, so it is pretty to remember and apply to web development. Also, since I had such a great time completing this project, I am excited to see the people that my peers interviewed for their projects.
This week we worked on creating galleries on GitHub, which was something I thought I understood in class but lacked the same confidence when it was time to do the assignment. Thankfully, some of my classmates paid better attention and was able to explain everything to me. I am still working on becoming familiar with GitHub since this is going to be something we rely on heavily for our final project. I am pretty excited about the midterm assignment because researching, interviewing and writing are some of my strong suits, so I plan to do really well on this assignment. How I found the subject of my midterm is actually pretty funny, I searched ‘web developer’ on LinkedIn and was scrolling through people who mentioned that phrase when I came across a particularly quirky post. As a visual learned and Hallmark and Lifetime movie buff, I instantly saw the words come to life in my head. As she described the day she decided to become a coder, she was in her pajamas covered in floor from a baking mishap. The story instantly intrigued me, so I connected with her and sent her a message asking to meet with her. Outside of her possible movie opener as a hook to her LinkedIn post, she interested me because she did not have a background in coding or engineering but within a year she was pretty successful in her career as a web developer. I connected with her because I have literally no background in coding or web development, but it is pretty inspiring to see someone who is where I am today, last year has really made web development her passion and career. I won’t tell you much more, because I don’t want to spoil my assignment, but I am excited and think everyone else in the class will enjoy it as well.
Just when I thought we were done adding languages to our toolbelt, we did it again. This week we added jQuery to our repertoire. When we began adding languages, I mentioned the fact that one of the things I was having difficulty with was distinguishing or keeping up with all the different elements without a code function. I can now say, on the fourth language, I have a great handle on elements. Which is great because jQuery uses something called the DOM tree as a way to distinguish elements, which is much more confusing than the indention process used by the other languages. We are also using different symbols in this language, parenthesis is used instead of brackets, so that’s another thing I have to remember when code switching between languages. That was one of the first humps I had to overcome in this language, because I kept using brackets and could not understand why I kept getting error messages. Throughout the rest of the lesson on Code Academy, I started to get a better grasp of the goals, through my ‘old faithful,’ trial and error. Usually, with the other languages, I have decided if I like a language or not pretty quickly, but I am not sure how I feel about this one in particular. I did struggle making some of the style changes early on, but I can see how this language could be helpful through the Code Academy (i.e. the online store activity). However, like all the other languages, I will have to take my learning past the classroom and research some more about it. I see how it can be considered helpful for other developers, but I want to see is there any other uses that could benefit me in my final project site (finista blog).
This week we began working with CSS on Code Academy and I am pretty excited. I am a very visual person, so I like all projects I work on to be visually pleasing—visuals are actually the first thing I work on when working on a project or presentation. So I am excited that we will be learning how to style the text and features that we create using HTML. During the lesson I did experience some difficulty trying to differentiate the difference between HTML and CSS when on the same document. Well more so, how to create functioning CSS within an HTML file. After a few failing attempts on Code Academy I was able to figure it out, well not figure it out, but get a better working understanding. Also, a part of our lesson this week we started learning the basics of creating a website using what we’ve learned so far with HTML and CSS. At first, I thought we were learning very basic things and it would be a long time before we actually knew enough to create a functioning website, but I was wrong. That was actually a pleasant surprise and a bit of an incentive to pay attention a bit more, because what we are currently learning isn’t just boring basics or busy work that has nothing to do with web development but actually the real deal. This exercise was a great opportunity to put some of those new CSS skills to work. My goal is to really use that a lot for my final project site, so I would like to spend some more time learning some CSS tips and tricks. So, this week I’ll probably Google somethings to see what other people recommend or have done to achieve their desired site ‘aesthetic’ and also use the ‘command+inspect’ tip that Prof. Greg showed us for some of my favorite sites.