Tag Archives: week7

Never used WordPress before

Reading about themes and how they interact with WordPress seemed relatively straight-forward. When I think of a theme, I think of it as something similar to the different themes available on PowerPoint of Word documents — they do all the design or color schemes for you. Now with the templates, those appear to be a bit more intricate on WordPress than choosing a different theme. Index, home single and so on .php seem like elements that strictly control posts in WordPress. To be honest, I have never had any experience on WordPress before. Even though I have heard of it, I know that it is one of the most widely used hosting sites, so this will be interesting and hopefully not too frustrating for me to learn alongside employing PHP. When reading about child and parent themes, the concept of discerning the difference between the two is reassuring since that it something I can understand without re-reading.

As for reading about plugins, I like how sincerely they start off by stating that there is a “cardinal rule” for WordPress — not to touch the core. This is good to know for someone with no existing experience because I will remember that statement. So it seems that plugins are what allow WordPress to add any additional functionality to my site, which is cool. To my understanding formats, they change the layout or display of certain elements such as images, gallery, videos and such. Also good to note that when concerning post types, that it is not recommended that I do custom post types along with a theme, but should instead use a plugin. The custom data in the form of meta-data seems to be a fun/interesting way to incorporate more tidbits of information on my WordPress site. It reminds me of the same available stuff you would see on Facebook.

Website theme development

This week’s readings on theme development and parent/child themes was good. In the past when I’ve used WordPress themes, they were usually the pre-made ones. I’m really interested in learning more for the most customization ability possible. (As for plugins, I’ve only dabbled in them in the past.)

Having the formats laid out in the post themes section was helpful. I already knew about galleries, quotes, images, video and link options. But the aside function is new to me from a programming/developer perspective. And within the suggested styling section of that same page, I actually think I found what I previously was curious about doing (per my final project idea rundown). It says a chat option is available. I wasn’t sure if this was the same style that customer service friendly pages have (with automated responses queued for simple questions and more specific questions sent directly to on-call staffers). But if it is, I’m definitely interested in pursuing this for added functionality.

I’ll also be revisiting some of I believe week 4’s lessons on scripting zoom-in function for images after the cursor hovers over them. And customizing my navigation bar is something I’m looking forward to, considering I’ve only been able to use the limited settings from pre-made themes in the past.

I also am grateful for the post types to be neatly arranged in the section on this topic. I have something to reference for my boiler plate, as opposed to pulling them together at the end and forgetting the other page options apart from the basic index.html, JavaScript and CSS pages. I know from the start to create a page for each and organize them accordingly.

And it’s finally time to write up my developer profile. I’ve already got the content from my interview and I can finish writing it this week. I was fortunate to have a great subject, who is currently employed with Facebook.

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.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

We’re halfway through the semester, and it’s time to start thinking critically about our final projects. This week’s readings (plus the extra time to think thanks to a well-timed spring break) reminded me that the time for thinking abstractly about these new concepts is coming to an end—it will soon be time to put the lessons we’ve learned into action.

I know that I want my final project to be a micro-site for student life and community-building here at SCS. In our final project pitches, we were encouraged to spend more time on the “what,” rather than the “how.” But reading about WordPress child themes has started turning the “how” gears—just a little bit.

Here are my takeaways:

  • The WordPress theme we create can’t just be about changing the site’s appearance; “Good themes improve engagement with your website’s content in addition to being beautiful.” But themes also shouldn’t bear the weight of adding functionality, because when a user changes their theme, they lose access to that functionality. So, then, are good themes just based on good design thinking? What does that look like, and how can you test it?
  • The functionality should instead be borne by plugins, which ensures that a site’s functionality can remain consistent, even if its theme changes. But with so many useful and well designed plugins already in existence, how can we hope to build a new one that would be better/or different from one that’s already been published?
  • I’m most excited about the idea of incorporating metadata and meta boxes into my child theme, because I think it will help alleviate the consistency issues that can arise when a site has multiple users. For example, if the student life page is opened up for student contributions, creating a certain number of required, customized fields will ensure that the content looks and feels exactly the way it should. Since meta boxes can be changed depending on the user, it may also provide increased functionality for “admin” users of the site.
  • Debugging: “Configuring debugging is an essential part of WordPress theme development,” the reading says. This will be critical for us to deploy in order to maintain functionality of our sites. I also anticipate this becoming a source of frustration…

I’m excited and anxious to see how this final project shakes out, and how much I’ll have to compromise between my wish list and what I can realistically create. Remember, self: simple is better.

When did we get here?

As I started to dive into the reading materials for week 7, I couldn’t help but reflect on how far we have come in the course. It feels like just yesterday we were learning HTML and CSS, but here we are at week 7 about to put all the pieces together through WordPress!

When I took a glance at the syllabus, I remember seeing WordPress and thinking about how this class was going to be a piece of cake. Man was I wrong! WordPress.org feels a lot more complicated than the WordPress.com that most of us know and love. It looks like this time I will be in charge of fully customizing my site and making it my own. Since I had a lot of trouble setting up the local host and linking the website, I am pretty scared to see how my final project turns out in the end.

I was incredibly overwhelmed while I was reading the WordPress assigned readings because it felt like a lot of information to fully comprehend. Although I know I will have to revisit the WordPress readings, I feel like they were introduced by our instructor for a reason. From reading these excerpts, I think it is incredible how helpful WordPress.org is in creating documentation entry excerpts that assist users in better understanding customization options.

There are a few things I have taken away from this week’s reading and it all starts with there bring three major components to WordPress: core, themes and plug-ins. From these three components, I should not touch the core function because when it updates as a new version, it overwrites core files. Then, I noticed that “plug-ins” came up multiple times in the different WordPress readings. It seems that  plug-ins will give me the customization that I want for our site since everything goes through it. Overall, it sounds like there are a lot of options for designing my site and I have no idea where to start. 🙁

The Internet is like onions. Onions have layers.

Learning PHP felt a lot like JavaScript. At points, I got the two programming languages mixed up because of the use of the $ to define variables in PHP and its use in jQuery. I think I’m definitely getting a better feel for it because when I’d slip up on jQuery/JavaScript, I’d be stuck for hours. When I messed up on PHP, most times I knew exactly what I was looking for to fix my mistakes. It also helped that the PHP website tells you which line the error is on.

The PHP lesson also made me notice a concept that I had previously glazed over, thinking I understood. While we used jQuery primarily for interactive purposes and to give us actions with visible results for everything, the PHP lessons in the beginning primarily focused on using data and selecting things out of arrays. On this lesson, the author says we will focus on it as a programming language and not web development. Previously, I didn’t realize there was a difference. I recalled the Codecademy lesson on functions in JavaScript , in which we programmed these functions, but they did not visibly add anything to the structure of a website.

My initial thought after learning more about WordPress was that I need to take it off my resume. What I know about managing WordPress is comparable to taking a French class and trying to speak Haitian Creole. I knew WordPress as the site that hosted my e-portfolio, blogs I once had, and a niche site that I created about the Harlem Renaissance for a project once. I know how to upload content into WordPress using the themes and templates, but I didn’t know anything about hosting a website, which is what I thought (think?) journalists are referring to, after having countless lectures about creating our e-portfolios on WordPress because it’s the industry standard. Now, I know that there are even more levels.

Anotha One – PHP

I hope you read my title in DJ Khaled’s voice. If not, the reference went over your head. I do know how to spell. Anyway, I can’t believe we’ve been in this class for 7 weeks already. This week we learned PHP basics. This is one of the most commonly used programming languages of today. It’s an interesting language because it can be written in PHP, then the output can be written as HTML. Another interesting thing about PHP is real numbers are called ‘floats.’ I’m proud of myself because I actually caught onto this new language really quickly. Learning PHP would not have been so easy had I not started with HTML, CSS and then JavaScript. I feel like the puzzle pieces are finally coming together. Another thing I want to note is I really liked the website we used for the tutorials. The exercises were fairly short, but easy to follow. It was also helpful that the instructions were written in comments for the exercises.

Thus, my confidence in my coding has increased. This may sound dramatic, but I really feel like my learning this new skill has inspired me to get back to learning. As a senior in college, I’m in a stage where I’m perfecting the skills I need for my desired profession. I’m so hyper focused on that, that I had convinced myself learning any skills outside of that would only be a waste of time. I’ve changed my mind. Having a diverse set of skills makes me more marketable for any field. In the event that I decide to switch gears, I have a whole gamut of skills that can transfer to a number of different occupations. I’m going to keep reminding myself of that as the year progresses. Who knows, I might switch up and decide to go into the tech industry.

Week 7: PHP & WordPress

This week, it was fun to learn PHP. I was not fully understanding everything that we went over in class last week when we started going over PHP and WordPress.org, but the exercises this week allowed me to really understand these concepts. It was cool to see how the all these languages work together and the similarities within them.