Tag Archives: week11

Getting Everything Prepared

For the past two weeks or so I feel like I have been kind of stuck in regards to the final project on WordPress. Having my laptop experience minimal, yet catastrophic, water damage from some rain definitely came at a time that was least desirable since we are coming towards the end of the spring semester shortly. However, I have received my new laptop today and am working towards downloading MAMP, Sublime Text, GitHub and all other files that we have used in this class so far.

For my final project site on WordPress I have been looking into what items I have chosen to do as my code modifications. Personally, I am creating a wine-based site, derived from my deep interests surrounding wine and wine knowledge. I have been looking at different WordPress sites that feature wine, design and such just to get a look and feel of what kind of CSS I want to implement, or at least try to, on my own personal WordPress site. I was looking into some posts made by people from previous semesters who were in this class and posting on their final projects. I came across two others who had used wine as their preferred subject for their final project website and I was hoping to be able to see what they created and compare that to what I have envisioned thus far. Alas, I was unable to find that, but read that they were experiencing issue or difficulties with things such as meta boxes.

Aside from that, I have been looking up how to change the reading list on my WordPress to now a wine list that will better align with the subject I picked. I have written and researched some elementary pieces about wine and specific knowledge so I am excited to brush up and incorporate that into my final site.

Setting up for success

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!

Where do I start

Unfortunately, the anxiety has started to kick in for this final project. Somehow April became my busiest month and I quickly realized why my professor recommended that we make deadlines for steps within each customization. I think the pressure of it being a final project scares me since I found the gallery and HTML project to be huge challenges. However, I am extremely thankful to have gotten through each week with improvement on my understanding of web development. One of the biggest challenges will be figuring out which customization will actually work out. My fear is that I will struggle with all the customizations and not have a good enough web page. Luckily, I will be able lean on classmates and even our instructor for assistance if I get stuck. Who knew that web development would be so collaborative and such a friendly community?

Even though I am pretty stressed about the project, I will try to take one step at a time and review previous class materials and YouTube videos so this web page can truly be my own. Originally, I created a timeline for each customization with far stretched dates to only realize that our final project due date is just around the corner. I think the biggest issue with these self made timelines is that I might be able to complete them if I get stuck on navigating a customization for too long. I guess my solution to that will be to do a little at a time and try every customization in order to figure out which one will work best for my site. I wonder how much time is best to focus on code customization for a day? How do I know if the code customization is the best one for my site? Although I feel hesitant to start, I will take it one step at a time.

Press the Word

I spent this week trying to play around with WordPress. I realized that there are a lot of options available for us to use. There are a lot of existing code, theme, and plugin options that could be added to your WordPress site. There is also the option to code your own and create whatever design and functionality you want. Together, you can create the final full site you desire.

I went back to our readings about WordPress and reread the explanations of the various aspects and features. Through WordPress, you can build a website that meets your unique needs and help you build an online brand.

As I was exploring various customizations to add to my business website, I did a lot of research on how to become a top freelance consultant. I wanted to know how I could optimize my website as best as possible. I need a strategy and a vision directing my services. The first step in the strategy is picking a niche. The niche will reflect real expertise. My niche is doing digital communications in international development and governmental affairs. The second step is to set up a platform to attract clients to your business. The platform is, usually, a website. The website should include an explanation of the services, credentials and some testimonial to back that up.

The self-hosted WordPress site is great because you can have a cool domain name and you can customize it as much as you want with the thousands of plugins and themes available. You will also be in complete control of your site.

A personal website is a very important tool in building a business if positioned well. It shows customers and clients that you mean business. The website should be navigated easily. At the minimum, you should have an “about” page, a “blog” page, “services” page, “contact” page and the links to them displayed in the top navigation menu. Another important aspect of a personal/business website is linking the page to your social media pages. This helps build a real, relatable, trustworthy image of the person your clients are doing business for.

With that strategy in mind, I worked on developing my code customization for the website. I will add social media plugins to connect to my own platforms and make sure they reflect my brand. I want to add a contact me button on the front page that takes to a separate contact form page. I want to create a child a theme in the first page with “about,” “services,” “contact me,” and “testimonials,” with a hovering functionality, and once clicked, it will take us to the designated page.

The first week of final project work…

I spent the weekend working off-and-on on my final project. When I sat down for my first intended work session, I felt immediately overwhelmed. I’ve never taken on a project like this one before. There were too many apps to be aware of: GitHub, MAMP, FileZilla, a tab of local WordPress testing, and a tab of the live site. Not to mention tab after tab of “how do I…” queries.

But as I spent more time on this project, I noticed more and more similarities with the work that I’m used to doing. For one thing, you can’t do it all in one sitting; you have to get up and move, to do something else, walk away and return. For another, there won’t just be one unfinished project; there will be many unfinished sections—the same way you move on to another paragraph when writing, even when you know you’ll have to come back later to tighten the language, add more context, or reassess the flow.

I’ve made some progress, but it was slow and buggy. I was elated to see that I have two functioning custom post types appearing on my life WordPress site. Then, I was immensely frustrated when I couldn’t figure out how to display those post types. I started working on my custom CSS as well, but didn’t get too far with it, because I thought I needed to add more content before I could really decide what properties I wanted certain classes and IDs to display. Back and forth, back and forth.

I’m coming to class with a lot of questions. But at least having questions means I’ve made some progress. Here are a few:

  • I copied the custom post type code from the Reading List example, but I can’t figure out how to add more than one meta box. When I tried simply duplicating the code, I threw an error on my test site: “invalid post type.” Undo, undo. Save. Walk away.
  • I have two custom post types built into my live site now (yay!): one for event posts, and another for job posts. I was hoping I would be able to use CSS to differentiate these posts visually, but when I refreshed my site, I couldn’t even figure out how to display these different posts! Research, research. Over my head. Save. Walk away.
  • I also have some wish list items that I imagine would be relatively do-able, but won’t focus on too much because I’m not sure they’re feasible with our timeline. But I’ll ask here, anyway: I would love a feature that would connect the data from my “event date” meta box to a calendar widget elsewhere on the site. That way, each event would appear both as an independent post, and as part of a collective calendar. Is this possible? And how hard would it be?

So many questions…

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.

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.

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.

Reduced Speed Lane

At this point during my process I was starting to feel a little nervous. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish this project the exact way I had envisioned it in my head. Reading through other people’s analysis post, I was not sure that this was going to be even worthy of turning in. So I went back to the drawing board and tuned into Codecademy. The small refreshers help to inspire me to get back into a believing in what I could do. So I started with, what would I want someone to see about me from this website.

The first thing I went to add was my resume. What other way does everyone get a full scope of the work I’ve done and also a sort of view of what I wanted to do with my career path. So I went to see how to embed a resume in my website. The only problem with that though, a resume is always changing and so how annoying would it be to consistently have to replace the code in my website every time that my resume changed. So I express this problem to my class mate, Jess, and she mentioned how she embedded her google docs link for her resume in her website. Instantly I was inspired, so with a little bit of her aide, she was able to teach me how to put my google doc resume into the website. Voila! A problem was solved and there was some progress.

The next thing I found for people to see the person I was, was to see who I was on social media. There is no more important tool in the world than social media. With this thought process I then decided to add my LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. I’m not active on Facebook or Twitter, but I would be an obvious liar if I claimed not to have one.

I was still looking for one last modification, and what came with that was a newsletter. I enjoy writing so why not have someone get my thoughts on a bi-weekly basis?

We’ll see how it turns out…

Progress (Sort of)

My site is coming together. Well, sort of. I have a lot of pieces floating around in cyberspace. The biggest piece, however, is my first customization: the interactive map. I downloaded the Leaflet map plugin, which uses an open-source JavaScript library for creating interactive maps. The API is pretty well documented, but there are some things I couldn’t figure out.

Once I input the shortcode to create my map at the location I wanted it and then created the marker for one of my sites, I was able to figure out how to program it to include photos on the markers. But I quickly realized that I did not understand the interface. Before I installed the plugin, I was convinced that I had missed the mark and that none of my customizations would be code customizations because they could all be done with plugins. When I started the work, I figured out that you can type code into plugins (duh). Then, I realized I don’t understand the relationship between plugins and APIs.

Troubleshooting my map plugin helped to give me a basic understanding. I know that a plugin contains groups of functions and is written in PHP. I know that the Leaflet map plugin uses a JavaScript library. This part confused me. When I was writing code for my map, I was confused about which type of file to create in Sublime Text. I settled on JavaScript but as I was typing my code, my mind wandered to if I should create HTML and CSS files to accompany it. At that point, I knew I was overthinking.

Though the map plugin boasts about its well-documented API, it’s still a little hard to understand for me as a beginner. It has lists defining elements, events, methods, and options, (?)  but I get confused about what exactly to type since programming is very specific.

I also had problems with issues with FileZilla. When I tried to connect, I kept getting an error message.

I have one lingering question. What is the relationship between an API and a plugin?