Author Archives: Solomon Abo

Future plans

What can I say! the past few months have been a learning curve for me, getting out of my shelf to try something new. The experience has not only been academically challenging, it has also been intellectually rewarding.  I feel like I have gained significantly from taking this leap of faith to try this class.  Thanks to Greg and everyone who shared a tip or an idea on the countless things I was confused about. I took the class only to be able to run my own website, but I feel a part of me wants to hold on and explore and learn as much as I can in a rather fast changing field of journalism, it won’t hurt to have something to fall back on, and this could really be a thing.

As I highlighted in my last post, I do intend to revisit each of the programming languages we went through in class to increase my fluidity and repertoire. Codeacademy, Khan Academy, W3School, and YouTube — especially mmuts who has a lot of lessons on almost all the programming languages we studied in class. I also intend to interact with a lot more web developers who have accomplished a lot more in the field for insight on how to make my way around. A significant part of this process will be to use by skeleton website as learning tool to get familiar with ropes. So please try passing by to check the latest on my website 🙂 make suggestions on how I can improve it.


I read through all the feedback you gave on GitHub and the great resources you guys recommended. Just like Oliver Twist I am asking for more resources that will enhance my skill as I try to learn as much as I can for the future.


Finishing touches

Last week’s website presentation and review for me have a been a reflection and brainstorming on how to make the changes to the many thoughtful feedback from everyone. Obviously my website is far from where I intend it to be, and will require a lot of tweaking and updates to get it to where it should be. I do, however, remain optimistic as we wrap up the session about my prospects in the field, vis a vis how to build on the lessons from the class into my future works. Key areas will be to revisit the lessons (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery and PHP) through out this session and to solidify my understanding into the areas I need to cement my understanding. I intend to subscribe to some of the self learning resources that we used for the class like Codecademy, Khan Academy and a host of other reading materials we were introduced to.

It’s been a bit of a challenge figuring out why my contact page won’t show, I know there’s a problem with connecting to the page, I created a a folder and linked it via the folder but to no avail. The funny thing is that I do have an understanding on how this works, but struggling to put the pieces together. I guess that forms part of the developer’s experience.  At this point I remain resilient and optimistic despite my inability to figure the most basic things out.


This is just the beginning

The final project has really been a great eye opener to what the programming experience is like. I chose to work on a news website for African related stories and little did I expect the complexities and uncertainties ahead, but it has all proven to be worthwhile. For my code customization, I sought to develop a breaking news tab with motion text, a top stories tap, main and current story tab, and a contact form. I tried to create a subscribe tab and a country profile search bar with some in built code, but ran in to a few challenges. I was wondering and rather needlessly on how to get the text moving in my breaking news tab until I discovered the <marquee></marquee> from, a great resource for every programmer. I also realized that, just like learning language, the more vocabulary one have the more confident you become. My fears were born from a lack of information on most of the tasks I had taken on. Scanning through the many resources on W3School, I noticed the huge deficit in my HTML, CSS, and PHP vocabulary.

I stumbled on a few challenges, like consistently getting a 500 error on my live site after importing the files from my localhost, which gave me a headache for a while until the next day. Also I realized after transferring the files to the live site that most of my CSS failed to display. I don’t know why, but I will be working on it and will be grateful for any ideas from everyone. Getting rid of the default images proved futile.

Looking back from the beginning until now, I have rich information in an area I had no interest or idea of ever venturing. I remain optimistic about the prospects for the future; hence, “this is just the beginning” caption.

Connecting the Dots

My focus during the weekend was to get all the pieces together and at least get the basic HTML and CSS done for my custom code, but to no avail. The Twenty Seventeen child theme for some reasons will not appear in the WordPress dashboard for activation. I tried deleting the old theme and created a new one, scan through numerous tutorials online and it still won’t show. It’s been pretty frustrating, and I feel like I didn’t get much done in my other assignments because I was determine to get this done. I figured if I was omitting something, at least a second eye will spot the error, so I compared notes with Sarah, and everything seems fine.

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s workshop to solicit ideas from everyone on what worked for everyone or otherwise. I have a pictorial view on how to put my ideas on the site, so I can’t wait to get this error rectified for the subsequent work to be done.


Ouch! I’m over thinking this!

After last week’s class, I have been searching everywhere for ideas on code customizations I could incorporate on my website. I have frankly been nervous about my final project, for reasons I am yet to understand. Firstly, I think I have been overthinking what really will pass as a customize code, hence my questions on what constitutes a customize code in class. Funny enough, Greg explained and I wrote this in my notes that “anything you do with HTML,CSS or PHP at either the back end or front end.” I understand how HTML and CSS  works, not that much versatile with PHP, so why I’m I so nervous? I guess not to screw anything up.

Hey, Tony! I need ideas

After several futile search for ideas for my news website, I ‘WhatsApped’ an old web developer  friend, Tony, for ideas on the latest trends on news websites. He shared a few tips — most of them I find too advanced and not my independent idea. I was brainstorming this morning about the project, and realized I could use HTML and CSS to create my main and sub news tab, could add video to my videos on HTML for my video news and do a few other things just drawing from the lessons from HTML and CSS. Yes, I have been overthinking this all these while partly because  of all he things we’ve learned over the period.


The waiter analogy in the first tutorial set the meaning and function of APIs as clear as could be. I have always maintained that the use of everyday activities as references remain the most effective form teaching. Henceforth, that analogy will remain in my mind when I see the services of a waiter. I was so amazed about the power of the REST API and its possibilities. I will have to revisit most of the explanations at a later time to cement my understanding and its usage. But in all, the concept seem fairly simple and straight forward. I have been watching a few tutorials about the powerful symbiotic relationship between APIs and JSON. I was particularly impressed with this resource on REST API concepts and examples and how to make a API request ( I tried a couple of websites but got this error message.

   "error": {
      "message": "An access token is required to request this resource.",
      "type": "OAuthException",
      "code": 104,
      "fbtrace_id": "HuZcagOScRx"

Command Line: The hacker’s screen!

I have seen the black screen umpteen times in movies and several advertisements online. The dark-backgrounded text interface often depicts some computer geek doing something that seems serious. I had no idea of the existence of the command line on my computer, let alone know about what it does and the power it has in controlling my computer.

The video from Coding is for girls at the top of the reading is beyond impressive. Her onion layers illustration (hardware, operating system, applications and the user) was spot on. I tried following the prompts and instructions on creating directories and deleting them from the cmd and that frankly made me feel a little powerful. I guess I have always thought hackers are powerful, or maybe not. The whole experience was new to me, but equally exciting. The part I didn’t quite get was why do I still see the practice and test folders on my desktop after giving a command to remove them.

Midterm developer profile

For years Vivian Do lived with her parents and two sisters, who were keen to have professions in the IT field due to their dad’s long and successful career in computer engineering. In 2014 Do enrolled in a computer science program at the University of Maryland College Park, a path that eventually led her to become one of the youngest web developers in her class.

From the onset, Do and her two sisters — Christina and Jess — knew their life would be different from the others kids in their Towson, Md. neighborhood.  They explored with computers and other pieces raided from their father’s work. Do’s two sisters eventually chose a different path as they grew up, but she was determined to do something in relation to computers.

“My two sisters went into the health field and I choose a different path,” Do said. “When I was younger, my sisters and I always liked — I guess — the more guys toys like the video games more so than dolls. So I guess early on I knew I like more boy toys.”

During Do’s years in high school, she was mainly attracted to computer language courses and programs. She eventually continued to pursue her interest by taking some classes from some community colleges.

“I took some courses in high school and community college and those are hard, but I kind of like the different of thinking that you need for coding,” Do said.

A high school JavaScript course ultimately solidified her decision to pursue computer science, and later, web development.

“When you are coding there’s a different approach to it and I think that’s what intrigued me about coding,” she said. “You have to actually switch your mindset to be able to do it.”

Prior to starting her computer science program at the University of Maryland, Do noticed her lack of interest in the electrical aspect of computer engineering. This meant, she wouldn’t be able to do same job as her dad.  

“In the beginning I wanted to do more engineer stuff because I like building things, but I realized I didn’t like the electrical sides and that’s how I became more computer science base,” Do hinted.

The transition from computer science to web development begun at the University of Maryland —  searching for student run programs and learning new computer languages by herself. Despite being a full-stack developer Do prefers working the front end. She says programs like HTML, CSS and JavaScript more than harder languages like Python and others.

“[I’m] not a big fan of those because those are more geared towards back-end and engineering languages,” Do said. “HTML, CSS are like markup languages that aid me in my work. JavaScript has logic in it, it has functions, and variables that kind of thing. It has aspects like the back-end developer engineering languages and it’s geared towards web development.”

The other reason she prefers HTML and CSS is because they are little bit more intuitive and easier to learn. The other programming languages, she says, gave her a tough time at the onset, but with persistence they became easy to work with.

“For me the hardest thing was the coding, when I first started learning coding,” she said. “I actually hated it and it took a long time to grasp it, but after a while it became cool. And so even though learning JavaScript can be really tough, you keep going at it and it will eventually click.

“It just takes a little patience. If you like to do it just keep getting at it because there’s a huge demand for it as the field keep growing.”

During her time on campus, Do worked as a web designer for the Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Scientific Computation (AMSC) program at the University of Maryland. She was hired to remake their less interactive website more intuitive and efficient to attract more students.

“They had so many links, but the links weren’t set up right,” she said. “Most of the files did not make sense so they wanted it to look nice and attract new students. I had to redesign it and develop it. I used a content management system called Joomla but to customize it, and used HTML and CSS as well.”

Do just secured a new job at the Booz Allen Hamilton, where she will consult as a front-end developer and designer. She will be working with a team of UI/UX designers and developers, and will be using React, Angular, and other UI libraries to create an amazing user experience. She will also learn how to provide accessibility for all users by developing a web system that is easy to use, saves time and resources, and works across browsers, platforms, and devices while meeting accessibility and security requirements.

For more about Vivian Do’s work, read her bio here


Rethinking – Design Thinking!

Apart from the WordPress documentation and the customizing features — from the header  media, to adding still images and videos to the the front pages of a website, color customization, among other creative features — the instructions seem fairly straight forward.  I was, however, wondering how incorporating the programming languages like HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, jQuery etc will be — maybe I am just overthinking it.

The traveler with the stone soup!

The most interesting read was from the piece on design thinking and how a mere change of an old concept could alter public perception of it. The “traveler with the stone soup” allegory was brilliant and precise in helping to demystify the somewhat esoteric view of “design thinking.” Frankly, I fall within the ranks of the many who viewed design as an after thought and not a solution mechanism as the writer intelligently opined.

I didn’t quite understand the codes on GitHub part, I tried checking the content of a few of them and the skipped to the next readings. The agile best practices link went straight to the Plural Sight website. I’m not sure if that is the right page, so I googled the Agile best practice video on YouTube. The principles behind the Agile manifesto and their desire to employ the best practices promote the best relationship between the human experience and software, is admirable.

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan”

After all, programmers do care about the impact and member experience of their clients, contrary to the general perception.

Updated Final-pitch

ACROSS AFRICA “Telling The African Story From The African Perspective”

What: For my final project as mentioned earlier, I am going to develop a unique but interactive news website that will focus mainly on stories about Africa’s culture, politics, arts, business and other pertinent stories from my beautiful continent.

Why: This will provide an alternative to the usually different stories we hear from Africa’s wildlife and how a rare lion or elephant was found. While those are important and significant stories from Africa, often the culture and lifestyles of its people is either ignored or rushed through.

Who: I am excited to see how far this will go in reaching out mainly to  Africans in the diaspora and anyone interested in African stories.  I am looking forward to build a website like this or better.

Code Customization

1 Code Customization 1 (TO-DO)

  • What – Main News tab
  • Why – will add versatility to the content on the website and leave the viewing control in the hands of the viewer.
  • How – Use Pseudocode/HTML, CSS
  • Timeline -Research code, feedback review, modification and finalize.

2 Code Customization 2 (TO DO)

  • What – News Ticker
  • Why – To be able to display multiple headlines at the same time allowing audience get a sneak peak into other news items while reading other stories.
  • How – HTML/CSS
  • Timeline -Research code, feedback review, modification and finalize.

3 Code Customization 1 (TO-DO)

  • What – Subscription form
  • Why – To help gain insight into people who visit the website and get user feedback for potential improvements.
  • How – Use a Pseudcode
  • Timeline -Research code, feedback review, modification and finalize.

4 Backup- Breaking News/Happening now

5 Backup -Trending News on Social Media

6 Backup-Video News