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.
I am extremely excited about my final project. As I explained in my final project pitch, I will be working part-time, so my business idea of creating a business site is going to help me build a name for myself and freelance my work. I have always wanted to create my own business website and this will be a step into my dream of building my business. I was thinking of combining a personal blog with information and details about the business services that offer. I want the site to reflect my brand and personal touch and reputation.
I am still conflicted on who to target specifically and what would be the best approach for my audience. I want to do more research on my audience and learn more about my best opportunities are. I have always been interested in the food and hospitality industry. I am going to work with a coffee shop for my capstone class and help them create a business strategy for their digital platforms. That would be a great chance for me to see my interest in that industry and whether or not I want to continue in that industry and line of work. My background is mainly doing political PR. I worked for the embassy of Jordan and will be moving to work for an international organization in a few weeks. Private companies are profit-driven, while working in international development is not. It is driven by making a difference and leaving a positive impact in the world, as well building a good brand and reputation. Their mission is usually intangible.
For the readings this week, I was really interested to learn more about the different concepts used to describe different aspects of a site. Learning more about themes and formats allowed me to understand the backend work that comes into play to create the final version of a site, which is beneficial when building a site. While the content and the style are very important to the way a site is displayed, the theme creates an overall look to the final version of the site. A post type is also another aspect to the different types of content in WordPress. The post type shows how different posts have different content and layouts. For my new job I will be working with meta-data a lot. I was happy to get that exposure in our readings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙁
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.
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.
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.