After reviewing the WordPress site in class, I was shocked at how many websites are built with it. When looking at their themes, I noticed the templates looked familiar to websites I’ve used before. WordPress reminds me of Weebly because they provide templates you can follow to create the website for your needs. It differs because you get more creative freedom by being able to code behind the scenes. Seeing all the different themes got me excited to create my website and I’m curious as to how it will turn out.
In case you feel like playing here’s the link 😉
What: For my final project I am building a website for my mother’s event planning business. It’s funny because when we talked about the final project on the first day of class, this idea immediately popped into my head. I remember thinking I might change my mind as we move further into the semester, but my answer has stayed the same. She recently bought the domain, so now all she needs is a website.
Planned Modifications: The website will include a (1) photo gallery of photos from events that she’s done, (2) a contact page, (3) links to her event planning social media pages, (4) blog posts, (5) a mood board for the current season, (6) a section that features her services, (7) an e-mail button that links to her event e-mail, (8) a header image, (9) her logo, and (10) an about page.
Why: I want to build this website for my mother because I fully support her dreams. She is currently stuck in a job that she is not passionate about. Having to listen to her vent about how unhappy she is has been hard. I’ve been pushing her to step out on faith and just start. She had a logo made, got business cards, and was actually in D.C. this past weekend for an event planning certification workshop. This website will be like my way of encouraging her to move full speed ahead.
Audience: This website will be for my mother’s potential customers located in the tri-state (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) area. People interested in event planning and/or decorating will also be targeted.
What/why: In high school, I was in the television production program. During that time, I managed to create quite a bit of content: promo reels, documentaries, commercials, and graphic art. I’ve chosen to create a portfolio website to highlight my best work. I made one over the summer before senior year on Weebly, but it looks very amateur. Weebly doesn’t allow much creativity besides following a template. I’ve also learned a lot between now and then, and creating a portfolio site is the perfect place to showcase my new work. My film teacher always expressed to me the importance of having a portfolio to sell yourself as a prospective candidate.
Who: The audience I hope to attract with my site is potential employers. By seeing my work, I expect opportunities to open up once employers can see my media and observe that I made the website as well. I also want to attract other creators, so I can build a network to collaborate with others and improve my craft.
It’s hard to believe that we’re already past the halfway point with this class. This week I was unable to be in class, but worked on adding PHP to my homepage and set up servers for the final project. Overall, it wasn’t a terrible week, but I definitely missed class time.
One thing that I’ve realized is how important class time is. While I was able to listen to the class after the fact, it didn’t make up for the personal time with our projects. I would have really benefited from class time this week, but it shows how quickly this class moves.
While this week wasn’t as stressful as others, I still felt a little lost. But that was easily because I wasn’t in class while everyone set up their servers. Otherwise I feel pretty good going into the final project and the rest of this semester.
I’m going to be interested in seeing how hard my final project plans are. It would be really cool to pull off a new template for the Fine Arts team, but I’m not sure how much time or manpower that will take. Looks like I’m about to find out.
This week’s readings about the various features of WordPress helped me think in more detail about how I want my final project site to look and what features and customizations I want to include. I spent a lot of time last week browsing through the many themes on WordPress.org, and am still deciding between two very similar themes — Retina and Wisteria. The “What is a Theme?” article was helpful in terms of thinking about the various parts that make up a theme and why plugins are important to use when adding functionality to a site.
The reading about plugins was interesting because I’m still going back and forth about whether or not I should create a new plugin to link my Strava profile to my site, or instead customize one of the existing Strava plugins available on WordPress. I need to do more research and take a closer look at the code on some of the existing plugins to see what exactly I would like to customize. I also will likely have to contact the creators of the original plugin and obtain their permission to customize their plugin.
After reading the documentation about custom fields, I decided that this was something I’d like to incorporate into my final project. I’m not sure, however, whether this would count as an actual customization, since it seems pretty straightforward and easy to do using the <?php the_meta(); ?> tag. Is this really all there is to it? If so, does this count as a customization?
After completing the readings, I had a better understanding of how WordPress uses multiple PHP files and templates to create themes and custom websites. Speaking of PHP, one of the other assignments for this week was to add PHP to our existing HTML homepage that we started building earlier in the semester. I created a contact form — modeled after the W3 Schools form — featuring four fields and labels (name, email, your website, and comment). After a lot of Googling and trial and error, I was able to figure out how to use the <textarea> function in HTML to make my comment box larger and able to accommodate multiple lines of text. For anyone interested in learning how to do this, this Stack Overflow thread might be useful. I’ll likely build my own PHP form as one of my customizations on my final project site.
I almost forgot to mention that I officially purchased my domain and hosting on GoDaddy! My site will be called The Running (G)lover (a not-so-clever play on both my last name and the topic of my site), and my domain is www.therunningglover.com. I ended up purchasing the economy hosting plan for three months, but have high hopes that my finished site will look amazing and that I’ll be motivated to keep it going after the semester ends.
I’m looking forward to working on my final project site this coming week!
I was up late last night trying to set up the PHP on my web page. While the Codecademy assignments weren’t difficult, I found the PHP to be a little confusing. Luckily, we set up “local host” already in class, but I forgot that was the validator for PHP. I was making it difficult for myself to figure out how to run the PHP by googling it several times until I remembered later that the PHP server is how we do it.
I went on W3Schools to look at how I could set up some PHP on my web page and didn’t know what to choose. I didn’t want to make anything too complicated, so what I did was make an array of my age and some of my favorite activities like styling, skiing and reading. I find coding to be fun once I actually know what to do, but it’s figuring out the minute details that can be tricky. Luckily, it did not take me too long to figure out what I did wrong, but I did get some minor coding details wrong at first. I kept replicating the <br> tag and the <html> and <body> tags. I also forgot to make my quotes consistent.
Running it through the PHP server was easy once I figured out my problems. I uploaded it to GitHub and my PHP should now be on my index.html file.
The readings were interesting. After updating my pitch post, it makes me excited to develop my website and add audio embed files, images and video files. I also cannot wait to dive into front-end stack. I am a creative at heart: I love color, artistic things and diving into what makes things pretty. Albert Einstein once said that “creativity is intelligence having fun” and I couldn’t agree more. I LOVE to create and it’s cool to see how technology and user experience combine the best of arts and sciences. Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a UX designer.
All Coming Together
Through a series of unfortunate events, I was unable to call into our class this past week. I did, however, listen to a recording of the class which was helpful, but it was pretty difficult to follow along with the more technical “setup” things we were working through. By some miracle (a.k.a. Google search), I was able to fill in gaps by googling how to do certain things. I am almost positive I am now caught up and successfully created my local development stage in MAMP and phpMyAdmin. AND, I was able to launch my WordPress.org site and play around with all the offerings. WOOT!
*As a side note, I am unclear as to what the phpMyAdmin database is for exactly, but will be sure to ask Greg in class this week.
Setting up my server, signing into my WordPress site, and seeing everything we have talked about in class allowed this week’s readings, and really a lot of what we have done so far this semester, to all come together. I searched through the theme, widget, and plugin directories, and took a look at the different post formats and types. A few questions come to mind:
- Can a meta box be anything or is there a directory?
- What is the benefit of using a child theme vs. just creating a new plug-in?
- I’m still a little confused on the difference between a post and a page. Is a post an individual post, and a page would have many posts and pictures and other functionality?
This exercise also really got me excited to dive deeper into our final project. Just selecting a theme is going to be hard for me, so I am going to spend more time this week looking through what is available. And I have a feeling that as I get more familiar with WordPress.org, new ideas for my final project will present themselves.
And finally, I found adding PHP to my homepage to be trickier than expected. Mostly because I’m not sure if it works or that I uploaded the right files to GitHub. I added a new repository and included what I think are all relevant files, including my index.php file which now echos “The time in my current timezone is ___.” GitHub wouldn’t let me upload my entire WP_content file or the file I created when I downloaded WP — said it was too large? Hopefully what I did works though.
For this week’s readings, going through the articles definitely helped clear up some questions I had regarding WordPress, and I am excited to use some of the tools we read about — i.e. custom post types and meta boxes — to create my personal site and have included them as modification options in my final pitch.
However, I wasn’t completely successful. I was able to modify the HTML and most of the PHP correctly and got the poll to display and be clickable. The major hurdle I’ve come across is that I cannot get the site to accurately show the updated results of the poll on the page after the click, the way the tutorial intends. I think the issue lies somewhere in the way my PHP file is interacting with the text file I am using to store my poll data, but, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure where I’m going wrong. I will keep working on the code to see if I can get the outcome to show up the way it’s supposed to before class on Wednesday.
In terms of creating a poll for my final project, I am still really interested in the idea and have found a plug-in I think I may be able to use that will help make the process easier, since other tutorials I looked at for creating polls seemed to suggest you need to create a database and I think that may be too challenging, especially after my struggle this week.
GitHub link: https://github.com/tatyanaberdan/phpassignment
Okay, so I’m really frustrated at the moment. I’ve been trying to upload my PHP stuff for the last couple of hours and it’s not working. I think it’s all rooted in the fact that my desktop GitHub app is somehow messed up. (I spoke to a classmate, who looked at mine, and said it looks different from hers–so, I’ll be emailing you about that as soon as I post this.) I have, however, written some PHP and that’s fairly simple. The only thing that’s kind of confusing to me is the “why” behind PHP, but I’ve been reading about it and found some things that make some sense. Especially, of course, the natural aspect of it being server-side as opposed to client side.
I’m really interested to delve deeper into my project. I read through the WordPress articles, and and while I appreciate each of those elements, I don’t think those are necessarily what I’ll be using or focusing on. There won’t be posts or a sidebar. It will be much more like a quiz you can’t comment on–a la Pottermore or North.
This week, I have an interview with someone who works at Silver Hand Meadery in Williamsburg. (Actually, I think it’d be great if I could get them to promote the project once it’s complete.) One of the biggest aspects of my project isn’t even coding related–I’m going to be implementing the photographic and design elements. So. My biggest challenge is going to be to balance that out. I want to get that out of the way as soon as possible so that I can focus on the code and making the whole thing seamless.
I’m looking forward to working in this new medium–hopefully master the process with this project and then apply the same method and process to future projects and stories!
As far as this week goes, I am really enjoying PHP and have taken some of the additional courses on Codecademy in my spare time. I don’t understand it as well as HTML, or CSS, but it’s coming along.
For the readings, I found them very helpful this week. I am still a little bit confused about the child and parent themes in WordPress, but am hoping this is something that we will attend to in class next week.