For the last couple weeks of the semester, I am just going through the final pieces of getting my WordPress up and running. After getting my new laptop, I had so many issues — primarily, it was dealing with the back-end installations. It was really difficult to move forward feeling that even if I had customizations done, I would not be able to visibly see as I made adjustments to code. I had on my local site the themes I wanted, posts, a customization of a wine list instead f a reading list. I tried exporting my local host as a file into my downloads folder, then going to my WordPress site via my domain name from the admin page, accessing Tools, then importing the file that I just exported.
However, I was not able to see anything except for the posts that I made. This was frustrating to say the least, so in order to be able to have something for others in the class to look at, I did go onto my live site from the domain and made some adjustments and slight customizations so that the theme and concept of my WordPress site was something that others were able to look at. Next, I have to reply all to the email with everyone in the class to relay that information to everyone. One of the things I was having issues with beside getting my local to my live site was some simple CSS that I just have to spend more time on to figure out what will work the best. I have this idea for the widget area in WordPress to stylize and customize it. Specifically, I could not get something as simple as the text in the widget area to change to a different color even though the rest of my CSS was working.
I spent the weekend working on my final project, and I’ve still got quite a bit to do.
I have to add a 404 page, finish styling the individual pages and making adjustments to the 4ish plugins I already have. I plan on replacing the chatbox one with one I build myself if that’s possible. And I will likely add a static shopping cart at the top right of the site’s homepage and following pages for users to book repair/purchase items.
I originally had a slider on each unique page and I took it out when transitioning from the local host to the live site. Starting to regret that, as it did offer some individuality. I think building an auto slider would be good for the site (technically it would be be eight — one for each main Acoustic/Electric page and another 6 for each page, along with unique corresponding content). I reviewed pages that carry a similar vibe I’m looking for (elderly.com and reverb.com, for instance), and they take advantage of sliders. I may also add a footer with helpful direct links to other pages.
This week I got to work a lot on my final assignment. I had a mini heart attack when I mistakenly deleted my htdoc folder and thought I lost everything. I was able to find it in the trash and restore it, but then my website stopped working. Then, when I got back on my desktop, I was able to restore it all. Thankfully.
I watched a lot of videos and tutorials. I read a lot of articles. I asked my friends many questions. I think what helped me the most was taking the time to absorb all the information. All the materials I found were very helpful and allowed me to articulate different ideas into the final project.
I am going to take the time on Tuesday during class to work through some other areas of my website and make it better.
I want to take some time and reflect on the process of developing my code. I started by wanting to customize a contact form plugin. That idea went out the window when I realized what WordPress already offers, so I decided to just use an already existing code. I, then, decided I am going to code a plugin for the services I offer. This plugin ran well, but I had an issue connecting the menu on the first page to the services plugin.
The second thing I was working with was a plugin that asks the user a question. The question is “what is your favorite social media platform to use?” the user would submit an answer to that. The final thing I did was a child’s theme to the Twenty Seventeen theme I choose. The child theme changed the font and the color of the main text. I inspected my website and made the changes there first then came back to my Sublime and made changes to the code.
I also added social media platforms and other codes into my website. I also changed the main theme’s image into a Georgetown one, which reflects a big part of who I am as a professional and a person.
Overall, this was a great exercise to work with WordPress because it is an extremely useful site. As I used it more and more, I got to learn a lot about it. It is SEO-friendly since it is written using standard compliance high-quality code, which I came to learn is loved by Google and other search engines.
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 W3schools.com, 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.
I don’t have a great feeling of accomplishment with my website, unfortunately. I don’t believe I’ve been able to complete the amount of customization required — I’ve customized the look of the site with CSS to a good extent, and I’m happy with the look. I think it’s clean and functional. Good design, I think, is both pretty and practical. I think I’m able to call the eye’s attention where it needs to go.
However, I simply wasn’t able to figure out where and how to add more functionality that would be useful without pretty much just following along and building a simple plugin from a YouTube video — I did add a couple simple customizations to the functions.php file.
I expected to have a lot more time than I ended up having. The migration from a locally hosted site to the live site was painful, as I was stuck in recurring errors when trying to activate a child theme. In the dashboard, my child theme wasn’t recognizing the parent theme — even though I had the parent theme installed. It was suggested the metadata included in the styles.css file was wrong, and that I could just replace the wp-content folder via FTP. Both solutions failed me, and replacing the wp-content folder took the good part of an afternoon to load.
I’m going to keep going and add more customizations when I have free time later this week. I do feel accomplished in the sense that I feel I’m able to use the site now as my portfolio site. My site is corydawsonmedia.com.
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.
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. SCSstudentlife.com 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.
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.
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.
My portfolio site is really coming together and I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome. I’m excited to actively use it and show it to my friends and even potential employees. I added my resume and a small gallery of some photoshop work. It was a little intimidating looking at other peoples websites and comparing them to mine. Overall, its amazing to see all of the skills I’ve learned in this class be put to use to create a final project.