Much of my weekend was spent getting the pieces together to be sure my site will come together well. I’ve been going back through old stories, pulling together photos and videos, and making sure the relevant metadata comes with the content (things like dates and captions).
I’ve been rediscovering WordPress too — the plethora of themes, plugins and possibilities are exciting. It’s getting me geared up to do my own site, yes, but think about how these tools could be useful in the professional world too. Many nonprofits I’ve worked at need help with this sort of thing!
This is all to say I don’t feel overwhelmed with all the tools and technologies we’re trying to pull together to actually make this thing — FileZilla, WordPress, GitHub, Sublime Text, MAMP…the list goes on! But of course, my biggest anxiety comes from actually building these plugins. I’m constantly worried that whatever I start to build and enter granular commits for will end up not working in the end.
I feel fortunate I have some friends who have web development experience I can bounce ideas off of and take advice from. And that my classmates seem to be going through the same anxieties!
As the deadline for our final projects drew close I have to say I had mixed emotions about my site and the progress I had made. On the one hand, I did not complete one of the customizations I set out to achieve. No matter how many articles I read, plugins I studied, tutorials I followed, or videos I watched, I could not get my slideshow plugin to function properly. This caused frustration, disappointment, and left me feeling quite defeated.
On the flip-side, however, as I sat there wracking my brains for ways to fix the plugin, I realized I had learned more than I ever thought possible in a 10 week window as relates to web development and coding. I knew how to check the connection between my local files and FileZilla to ensure things were transferring properly; I figured out how to create a Site Manager connection that automatically logged me into my page each time I opened FileZilla; I learned to understand the error messages that popped up on both my local and live site – what do these messages actually mean and what do I need to do to solve the problems; I figured out how to create a child theme and get it to work properly; I created a functioning form that emailed data to my personal email; I knew how to download Plugins and get them working; I was comfortable with all aspects of WordPress and site layout, from posts, to pages, and categories, to media, and pretty much anything in between; I figured out when something wasn’t work how to check for bugs in my software and, although I have yet to fix the code, I have identified that my slideshow plugin is somehow impacting the ‘featured image’ section of my posts, making it impossible for me to link photographs to the slideshow; and lastly, although I did not fix the problem, I was able to read tutorials and understand the basics of what they were saying, whereas at the beginning of this class I truly felt as though I was reading a different language.
I think, in retrospect, I may have bitten off a bit more than I could chew with trying to create a customized slideshow plugin that would connect to each of my posts as this involves so many different and complex (at least complex for me) pieces of code. Nevertheless, I can say without a doubt I gave this project my all – I spent hours upon hours over the past month reading, practicing, researching, and occasionally screaming at my computer and I am proud of all that I have accomplished and learned through this course.
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.