Category Archives: 2019 Spring class

The Feeling of Accomplishment

Many times throughout the project, I would become extremely frustrated when I tried several times to perfect a customization and the outcome wasn’t what I wanted. My customizations ended up being 3 custom pages, a contact form, a map, 404 error page and a gallery. I think the custom pages were my favorite part of the project because I enjoyed having the ability to manipulate the page to my liking and utilize some of the code we learned in previous lessons like JavaScript, HTML, CSS and PHP. However, when I didn’t use a custom page, I ended up having errors. For example, I tried to customize the homepage on WordPress and it said I already trashed the coffee photo and the old contact mini page. I hoped that when I made my site live, these issues would disappear. However, you will notice that when you scroll all the way down on the home page, the coffee photo and fake contact page is still there. Classmates, I would love any tips or advice on how to get rid of this!

The customization that took me the longest was the map. Oh, this darn map! This sucker took me several days to do because I had to watch tons of videos and read articles to accomplish what I did. One source didn’t work so I ended up combining lessons from different sources. Ultimately, I came up with the code that you can see on my repository. I wanted each pin to have a pop-up information box when I clicked on it. However, the information box would only pop up on one pin. 🙁 I tried changing variables since I had 6 pins, but then the whole map would disappear. The map was really difficult since there were many moving parts like making an API key and pulling out the longitude and latitude.

Finally, the last issue that I had was making the contact form work. I thought it would when it went live, but then my thank you text appeared at the bottom of the contact box. Then, when you submit all the info, it takes you to an error page. I would love advice about this as well.

Although, I ran into a few difficulties. I am strangely energized to keep working toward fixing these issues and self-studying code. I thought I would say goodbye to web development after the final project, but I feel like I have learned so much that I can’t give up on the knowledge I have so far!

Oh, and one big apology for the amount of ‘freaking out’ emails that I sent to Greg this past week.

Making the Deadline

All semester, Greg reiterated the importance of meeting the deadline, even if the final project isn’t perfect. This weekend, I met the deadline; and my final project is far from perfect.

But I’m happy about where I’ve ended up this week. is a good start for what may someday be a widely used resource for current students. It features a job board and events page (my two custom post types) that will streamline information from various sources within the school and across the university and its corporate partners. I look forward to demo-ing it for our class to get their feedback not only on my project, but also on the resource itself. (Please be kind!)

I’ve created a custom 404 error page and custom error messages for when users use the search function. I’ve added Georgetown-branded styles using a CSS stylesheet and a child theme, and added two custom post types that receive different information via metaboxes to ensure that each custom post type (events and jobs) display uniform and complete information. The goal of this project was to create a user experience that simplifies and consolidates information for students.

I’ve learned a lot.

Of course, there are still bugs. I had a hard time getting the data in my custom metaboxes to save, and sometimes the data doesn’t display on the front end of my page templates. For some reason, the live site doesn’t look exactly like it did in the local environment. Some of my modified reading-list code is messy. And, of course, the whole thing could use a better design eye than mine.

But, given the time, I think I could fix these problems—I feel more comfortable reading other people’s code on GitHub and Stack Exchange, and I understand how the pieces of my website communicate with one another. I can articulate where the problems are. I’m still a novice, but I’m beginning to feel comfortable speaking this language. Here’s to another week of refining, and a finished project we can be proud of!

I can’t wait to see everyone else’s project.

Deja Vu

So for this past week, amidst everything coming to the end of the semester, I have been completing the setup and installation on my new laptop. At first, things were going swimmingly — I was downloading everything I needed on my computer to pickup where we had left off for the WordPress final project site.

I did this by scouring the class syllabus and schedule to make sure that I had everything in order. However, some of this setup we had completed in class (which was wonderful) and I had minimal to no memory of what specific files to download or link or create databases for. I ended up Googling solutions and instructions for step-by-step setup and was feeling pretty abysmal until I read that MAMP is inclusive of phpMyAdmin and Apache (duh). So I spent a great deal of time exhausting a search of how to download these things that were already taken care of, it was relieving but frustrating.

When setting up my WordPress development environment, I was posed with the same problem I encountered when Laura was substituting — my child theme was not appearing. I redid the entire process about four times. I did read that there is a “Going Live” set of instructions via Smashing Magazine and I think that this will serve as a solution to my confusion. At this point I needed a break from continual failure and will try this tomorrow and move forward by starting on some CSS I plan to implement.

I have been rewatching the video from Laura regarding child themes and the reading list plugin, and by doing so I am starting to find a little bit of clarity (yay) as this projects comes to an end. For some reason there was a disconnect in my understanding as to how GitHub and WordPress related to one another for the project, but now I realize that it is just being used to document my progress as I complete it. Anyways, heres to finishing strong and sorry for the multiple emails, Professor Greg.

The Final Confession

For the past week I spend a lot of my time sitting in coffee shops and searching for inspirations for my website. And I don’t mean by staring blankly at a cup of coffee in front of me, but rather through an extensive research, going back to Laura’s recordings and finding resources online.

After some thought and a lot of trial and error, I ended up creating 2 custom pages and an additional one that I later customized as a 404 error page. Moreover, I was able to create a contact form and with some adjustments I think I was able to make it work properly.

The lessons I have learned is that if you don’t taste the real flavor of web design, WordPress might seem like a piece of cake. However, it is a statement that could not be further from the truth. The system is very sensitive; make one little mistake and your entire site can stop working and you are left with the pulsating anxiety of a white, blank page.

Also, you cannot fully rely on the parent theme, as by following a template you are not really creating a unique online presence.For example, with custom pages I used for this website, one gets to choose certain aspects of the design that could potentially meet the needs of the visitors and also integrate the programmer’s personality into the design. For achieving this purpose, I used CSS: I could choose colors, edit fonts, their sizes and layout.Unfortunately, in many cases templates don’t give the control you might want to have. Thus, a customized site allowed me to choose what I want and the way I want it to look like. Still, there is a lot of work ahead of me, however, for a first time I believe I did a good job.

Finishing up

This week and last week I’ve been doing a lot of reorganizing for my site. But I’ve been mapping out/writing pseudo-code offline due to login issues on the backend with my site. I remember having a similar issue before when our guest lecturer was in, and the problem was that I had two WordPress accounts and I believe I started writing the child theme code into the local host that wasn’t connected to the domain.

Regardless, I look forward to getting that issue addressed at the upcoming class and continuing with my work, as I hope to finish it by this weekend.

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.


Learning and re-learning

I’m officially at the “just keep going” stage of a big project like this. It’s been hard (but getting a bit easier as it goes on) to compartmentalize the project in my head. I am a very linear and visual thinker, and things like recipes, instruction manuals, building projects come easily to me, and I’m consistently underestimating how long each step is taking me.

Little problems with the mechanics of my plugins are popping up every now and again, and the fixes almost always come from finding somebody online who have made some similar mistake and reading up on how they’ve fixed it. This is a workflow that I’m still getting used to. The real anxiety comes when I feel like I’ve followed instructions to a T and something just doesn’t work…ugh.

On the other hand, I’m having a fantastic time pushing my styling. I’ve done some sketches and designs for the overall feel, and even if it doesn’t come together exactly how I envision, I’ll be happy because at least I had a direction. I know enough about myself that I can be successful when I create as I go, but having an end vision especially when talking about design language is a more surefire bet.

Overall, I’m feeling tentatively optimistic, I’m looking forward to workshopping and in the end, actually having a working website that I can say I put together pretty much fully myself. Although I’ll take as much time to do it as I can get!

More and more everyday

This past week, I worked a lot on one of my plugins. I wanted to make sure I have that done and ready so I am able to work on the other plugin and child theme. The “post types” page that Greg shared in class has been very helpful to me. There are a lot of different features that WordPress offers. I have been learning through trial and error, which has been helpful to figure out what works and what does not.  

While working on my final project and personal website, I wanted to add as many features as possible. One idea that I had was to add my LinkedIn feed to my website. It would pull in my posts on a regular basis. I wanted to start posting on LinkedIn on a daily basis, in which case it would show up on my website. I want to customize my daily posts on LinkedIn and include daily advice and tips on how to optimize social media content.

I want to create a strategy and a vision for my website. What am I trying to gain out of the website? Am I going to focus on conversion rate, brand awareness, business growth? Am I going to try to promote my business on social media platforms? I also need to modify my social media platforms to make it more professional or I could launch new ones that reflect my business and work. 

This week, I also want to reflect on how helpful this class has been the past three months. While I do not have a lot of deep knowledge of coding, the general knowledge that I have gained from the languages and my ability to somehow make sense of a code when I see one has been really helpful in my job. I am able to inspect pages and figure out where links go and where the information on the site goes. I am also able to to understand when people talk about embed codes and the back-end of a site. This has been helpful in carrying out conversation even if basic and I have been happy about that. When I started class in January I did not even know the different languages of coding and now I am much more knowledgable even if at a basic level.  I am not sure whether or not to continue the learning process, but maybe I will delve deeper into it in the future.

Step by Step, right?

As the days go by, I am started to freak out because it is almost April 21 and I am not where I would like to be!! I have been making a huge effort to dedicate chunks of time to my final project. However, I feel like most of my time has been semi-wasted by reading about customizations and plug-ins online and then freaking out that there isn’t enough time to accomplish all the things I want for my site.

However, I have been trying to utilize the timeline method that our instructor recommended in class. Instead of writing down big picture tasks, I have changed my tasks into smaller steps so that I can have something ready for Sunday. For example, I did my research for each of the customizations, but decided to start plugging away with some of the content on the WordPress side so I can add the plug-ins afterwards. I am not sure if this is a good idea, but I hope it works out.

Overall, I am really looking forward to this workshop on Tuesday. I wish there was one last one, but maybe I can convince some classmates to come in another time this week to have another final-project cram session. I think tomorrow will be a great opportunity to bring in all the questions I can think of and some of the concerns that arise so I can take advantage of asking my classmates and instructors for help.

For some inspiration and guidance, I decided to check out previous posts about the final projects from the other classes in the past. One of my customizations is the interactive map and it looks like the plug-in worked for one of the students in the past. I’m looking forward to taking a stab at that, but scared I will run into Firezilla issues as students have highlighted.

Not so happy ending thought though….what if I am that student that can’t produce a good enough site? Guess we will see if I can pull through! Crossing my fingers a miracle happens!


PSA: Clear Your Cache

This was another week of bits-and-pieces work on my final project, I’m starting to feel more organized about my workflow, and can better articulate for myself specific problems I want to solve (and specific features I want to add). I’m sure there will be a long wish-list at the end of this project. In fact, there’s a wish list at the end of this post. But I also want to share two tips I learned this week.

Add content for clarity

Even though the site content isn’t a huge part of the assignment, I started having trouble assigning custom CSS to my skeleton site. Filling out the menus and adding a few posts for each post type not only boosted my confidence, but gave me a better sense of what the final live product will look like. Plus, you might find that you don’t like some of your custom theme choices when you see them en masse.

Clear your browser cache

I spent a good amount of time trying to troubleshoot my custom CSS. I would save my Sublime Text file, refresh my test site, and nothing would change. Finally I realized that the data on my test site was cached! Duh! I cleared my history on both browsers that I’ve been toggling between (Firefox and Chrome) and was relieved to see my latest changes finally visible. The final check? I opened my site on my phone.

Questions for the next workshop (minimum viable product)

  • My custom post types are working, but I’ve noticed that the data entered into the metaboxes doesn’t display on the post. I’d love to make those visible and searchable.
  • I made a custom 404 error page by copying the PHP file from the parent theme and adding custom content. I’d like to be able to use the same content for the error page that appears when a search term can’t be found, but I’m not sure where that code is…

Wish list for the future

  • A PHP/jQuery connection that would automatically add new “event” posts to a separate event calendar.
  • A method to organize events by event date, and to remove past events.
  • A “new!” indicator for job posts fewer than two weeks old.
  • Multiple admin levels for use by a team of people, preferably with some built-in approval workflow.