Tag Archives: final project

3, 2, 1…

Even though the project’s deadline is approaching, I feel like I’m still stuck in one place and not moving forward. Setting up the WordPress and other actions undertaken by me in the preparation process took me much longer than they were supposed to. Moreover, getting back to the previous lessons and learning the skills we should have mastered already makes the assignment frustrating and confusing – a complete opposite of what I imagined it to be last week.

I still have issues with the child theme, especially the edits we need to make and plugins we are required to implement in our website. My questions related to this matter are the following: are we supposed to use WordPress to make basic edits (such as background color or image) to our website? We learned the fundamental skills of HTML and CSS – now we are not supposed to use them, but instead rely on a few clicks and selection buttons?

To conclude, I have a small request. Namely, I would be very grateful if the deadline for the final project would be moved to April 28th, since rushing through the code and incorporating the Easter break chaos into the entire equation might result in even more confusion. Even though at this point I already accepted the fact that my website won’t be a piece of art, I still strongly rely on its usefulness and efficient user experience. I believe there is still a lot of work ahead of me, including watching tutorials online and finding helpful resources online that could eventually be beneficial to my workflow.

Couldn’t Get Much Sweeter

I just love the moment when my creative ideas await to be written and the excitement kicks in as I begin a new project. This is how I felt this week, even though I hadn’t had the opportunity to write a lot of code. When writing every single line by yourself, you become familiar with the whole structure of a website – making it easier to find what might be creating an error or a design glitch.

Something I found helpful is to leave line comments and write documentation throughout the development process. I will try to make this a habit, as some other assignments this term have taught mehow easily it can get confusing when you come back to the code, try to adjust it or implement an entirely new function. Hopefully in the long run, the comments/commits will improve my productivity and help in case there is a need for modifications in the future.

Well, gaining knowledge and learning skills required to build a proper website can take a significant amount of time. However, this is what will make my code somewhat unique and teach me how to become a knowledgeable user within the web development environment.

Each and every single line of code that would make the “It’s Susan’s Thing” website alive will be written by me and through my own way of thinking. Thus, I await the feeling when I accomplish this new step – and with it will come the sense of thrill and pride. I believe that creating an effective and attractive website on your own can be a lot like that. If you can enjoy the process as much as the final product, then that makes the sense of accomplishment all that much sweeter.


This week’s lesson into API and JSON took some digging to understand, but it was helpful to have analogies. Picturing an Application Programming Interface as a waiter in a restaurant that takes requests and tells a chef (or system) what the customer wants is interesting. I haven’t considered really how we use applications and devices to access databases and make requests, at least on the level of depth that I know now.

I am still working to understand both, but it’s definitely a lot less murky than before this week.

As for my final project, I’m still hashing out which three customizations I want to use, and I’m thinking ill just end up using all seven that I noted as possibilities in my updated post. I actually am also taking some of the photos for the galleries this week, and am excited to have the skeletons of everything placed on my website.

I still have to go back to I believe it was lesson / week seven (?) to relearn the shopping cart customization. My site is hopefully going to utilize both the PHP search option, short comment box and shopping cart as the primary user-interactive functionality.

I’ll also say that this class (and particularly this project) has gotten me more into the habit of checking the code behind websites I think are aesthetically pleasing, clean, user friendly and not too “busy.” I can bring a short list of possible customizations I’ve seen on other sites to class that I would want to explore whether they’d be doable for this project.

A Thoughtful Approach to Better Design

This weekend I began working and deciding upon the content I want to include in the final project, i.e. “It’s Susan’s Thing.” When building a website, I will have to keep in mind that the content (such as images, text and embedded materials) tells a story I want to present and the concepts I would like to share with my audience.

While tackling a project that I was never faced with before, in some way it becomes an educational experience. Therefore, in order to successfully complete this assignment, I will need to do research and educate myself so that I know what the best tools are and what languages might I have to revisit in order to create an effective website.

By learning the basics of web development in this course, I was easily tempted by the ease of finding ready-made pieces of code available online. However, by doing this, I would not be learning, but rather just manipulating code that essentially could be called cheating myself. This would also reduce the amount of effort I otherwise would put into gaining new knowledge. I don’t want to do that. I want to build a website based on my own inspirations and preferences. Every part of the design would be included there because I thought about it, and hopefully will meet my own level of expectations. Also, I won’t allow myself to be afraid to think outside the box and experiment with different techniques – achieving specific customizations sometimes requires courage 🙂

To conclude, I believe that building one’s own website from the very first line of code, forces to seek knowledge to achieve a given vision. You push yourself to research the required functions, which keeps you going forward, especially when searching for new ways and techniques to write and improve the code.

PHP vol.2

This week was quite different in terms of the coursework for the Web Development course. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the class on Wednesday because of another class that took place on the same day. Fortunately, thanks to the classroom recording I was able to catch up on some relevant concepts. Also, the little “student support group” helped me to complete the assignment on time, with most of the code working on the actual webpage. However, there’s still a lot of work ahead of me, especially if I want to include some more interactive components on my website for the final project.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my final website will have a blog/news format, where I will upload different types of content. For this week’s project I was able to figure out how and apply my knowledge of PHP in order to add forms. As it turned out, one of the most unique features of PHP is the way it handles HTML forms. Based on what I have created for this assignment, I would be able to include forms that could potentially help me to make my website more interactive and user-friendly. For instance, I could create a message box, where a user could leave a message for me in regards to the content I would upload there.

To conclude, a good benefit of using PHP is that it can interact with many different databases. I am excited to participate in the class tomorrow, since I still need some more practice as it comes to combining PHP and HTML languages. I would also want to learn how to create a stand-alone PHP file, instead of including everything on the HTML tab. I feel like this knowledge would be beneficial, since having both scripts on the same “page” turns out to be confusing — especially if I want to make edits to a specific part of the code.

website – Musician’s Haven

What: I want to create an internationally respected musician’s hub that provides reliable information and reviews on instruments and other gear for beginners to professional performers.

Who: My audience would be musicians or aspiring musicians looking to purchase gear. It’s terribly easy to waste money on items that you either don’t need and waste time putting off things you do need. I’m hoping to have a few dedicated “contributors” which would serve as a middle ground between Reddit and Wikipedia where site visitors could get reliable information.

Why: I’ve spent a lot of money over the past 9 years since I started playing music. If I knew what to buy and what not to buy, I’d be alot better off. Similar to used cars, I think having a “go here, do this, don’t do that,” resource for newbies would result in fewer people purchasing lemons.

Code customization:

  • I will include a search bar with PHP
  • I will include a gallery at the top of the home page, and a different gallery on each page
  • I will create a “shopping cart” for bookmarking items with JavaScript
  • I’ll use CSS to style the pages
  • I will have an embedded 16:9 format video playing at the bottom of each page demoing some instruments (depending on what page it is)
  • ill create a search bar using PHP
  • I’ll embed a Twitter feed

—- More specs below—

Above the fold front page automatic slider (4-5 images) of different types of gear (acoustic guitar, bass, microphone set-up, etc.)

Below the fold two column review section (featuring an image of one instrument and a user’s highly rated review of the instrument)

Top right “shopping cart” that would essentially be the “bookmarked instruments” personalized and accessible from your login)

  • Home
  • Acoustics(guitars, bass)
  • Electrics(guitars, bass)
  • Other instruments(ukulele, cello, viola, violin, etc. etc.)
  • Vintage gear(includes every aforementioned category but only features higher quality and very expensive gear. Some will be repeat posts in this page)
  • Price guide

The review section would include the MSRP and the average selling price online (Ebay, for instance) to give the user an idea of how much they should reasonably pay for said instrument

Each page would have an above the fold slider with 8-9 images of instruments that in a traditional cms would be easily refreshed with newer content throughout the month.

As for more details on features, I’d have changing text overlaying the images on the sliders, along with neat button navigation that starts from the beginning. I don’t believe we went over this in class, but I want to know how to create an easily accessible pop-up comment/Leave a message feature. (screenshot attached). It would give users the ability to leave a comment about something they want more information on, whether it’s an instrument we’ve featured or one that we haven’t.

Personalized Web Expression

As we all are surely aware, a short, memorable domain name can make the difference between creating a successful Web presence and getting lost in cyberspace. We are all a brand in some way. We present ourselves to the world, and for me (as a PR major), having one’s own domain name makes that individual look professional. Especially, if you want to create content that attracts attention of a specific audience, you should ask yourself the following question: if you’re not willing to pay the money to register an appropriate domain name, why would your readers think you’re putting enough effort into creating valuable content? More than anything else, a domain name can increase awareness of your brand. If the URL you have chosen corresponds to your company name, it reinforces your brand, making it easier for customers to remember it and find their way back.

After this week, I consider NameCheap as an all-in-one website solution, which allows you to buy your domain, host your site, and purchase any necessary add-ons, all found in one place. It is pretty easy to navigate through and use this hosting service, however, I had a minor problem with one of the steps. Thus, I had to chat with their support team and was able to figure out the issue, which helped me to submit the assignment on time.

During last week’s class we have learned how to set up a self-hosted WordPress on our laptops and hosting services like MAMP. As of right now, the final project is quite confusing and a bit overwhelming. However, what we did and the material we went through in class on last Tuesday was very helpful, since I wouldn’t have been able to do it by myself.

Time to Reflect

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.

Final Project Woes

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.

How Many Tweaks Until You Break a Child Theme?

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.