Merging Back Onto the Mighty Highway

Yes, I’m back again. I realize there is a large gap between now and my last post but life does have a way of interrupting things. My precious dog had a back injury and every moment was devoted to getting him well and able to walk again. He is doing much better and yes, walking. However, it took a lot of time and special care to get him better. It was worth it all! I spent some time fighting the holidays and my depression but I got back into taking classes, I’m on track again and shooting for a goal.

Currently I am taking yet another course in how to make a Bootstrap 3 site and then port it over to WordPress. I’m having just as many problems as before but I’m having more success at solving  the problems. Maybe I’m finally starting to understand. Wouldn’t that be nice? It seems that I spend a lot of time comparing my code to the instructor’s code on the videos and I found some things that were different but not covered in the course material. And of course, I found really silly typos and missing </div> tags and such.

If I ever get the site in such a state that I’m not embarrassed to share the url, I’ll post it. Don’t hold your breath. I can’t recall what else I’ve done but I did add two new beautiful certificates of completion to that page, (insert sarcasm here). I do want to remind all of you designers out there to continue to check out the sites I have recommended on the sidebar. I have gathered quite a lot of freebies that have come in very useful and I know you will too. And no, I still don’t get any money for recommending them although I should look into that. I’ll be back to let you know how my latest class is going.

“Honey, I think we’re lost and we don’t have GPS.”

Do you hear a thump-thump-thump-thump sound? No, it’s not a flat tire. Although, I feel as though I have drifted off the information super-highway and onto the dirt road of dumb. And it’s not the sound of my tell-tale heart. It’s the sound of my head as it hits the desk. Oh what a week! Many disappointments. But I’ll only share a little.  I got the crazy idea that I would build a website in Bootstrap and then convert it into a WordPress site. I figured that if I could do that easily enough I could sell one site design to two different groups of people. It sounded like a good idea to me. Then I went through two separate tutorials on how to do that and neither works. I found some typing mistakes in my code but after that, I have no clue why my page won’t link to the CSS correctly. As usual, I’ve tried everything I could think of including starting over again.  So frustrating! Yes, programming is like learning a new language but when learning Spanish I don’t ever remember all of my adjectives just disappearing!

I’v e made so much progress and learned so much only to be bested by some mysterious problem that most likely has a simple solution. So simple that I bet it’s staring me in the face. When I got some parsing errors, it took some time to go through the code but yes, I found a missing closing parentheses and one too many semi-colons. Now, no errors but I get a page with no styling whatsoever. Not only did I have trouble with the code but getting the setup on my ftp software to work was for some reason a hassle. It worked fine for one domain but not for the subdomain. I know, it’s crazy. I don’t really need  third party ftp software but I was getting desperate and decided to use Filezilla. I finally got that to work but it was not a solution to my problem. I had to walk away from it and I’ll try again later today. Possibly start all over. It’s good practice, but only if it works.

I did do one thing right. I took that arduous online PHP course at Udemy.com. I would never have made it this far without understanding PHP functions and variables. Maybe understand is too ambitious a word to describe my  comprehension, but I recognize what the code is doing and why, and the correct structure. For a WordPress site, all the files are .php not html. When converting a Bootstrap site to a WordPress site you have separate .php file for functions, header, footer, single page, index and of course a .css file for styling. PHP functions are used extensively to put it all together. I put one tiny line of code at the top of each file that links to the header file. Another tiny line of code at the bottom for the footer. Pretty cool because when you have a change say, to the header, you only have to make it once in the header file and it automatically appears on all the other pages. And the header includes the navigation and other important linked files. You don’t have to duplicate the code in all the different page files. Sort of like the concept of CSS but for content not just style. I’m not sure if I explained that very well but it’s a good thing.

I feel the need to say that I never would have made it through the week without coffee. And I ran out of coffee last weekend and coffee is expensive. Low and behold, a merciful chatter friend of mine sent me a care package that had k-cups of kahlua flavored coffee and a lot of sugar packets. And I do mean a lot of packets. I had also just run out of sugar and when money is tight a care package of this sort is very exciting to receive. First thanks to all of you out there that didn’t use all that sugar from all the catered meetings and made it possible for my friend to kindly unload it on me. Big thanks to Rose! You kept my Keurig a-brewing because you understood the need of caffeine in these situations.

Well, I’m down but not out. I will not be defeated by some silly string of code. So I’m turning this car around to find an on-ramp and taking some Aleve for the bumps on my head. If you’ve been following my journey, thank you for your interest and as always check the links on the sidebar to find great freebies and special deals on all things web and design related! I’ve a got another cup of coffee brewing so wish me luck!

 

Time for a Tune-Up I Think

I’ve decided that I need to learn a CMS and I’m tinkering with Joomla! at the moment. There is a site called cloudaccess.net and you can follow a tutorial on a demo site that you set up. The demo site is active for 30 days. I think you will like it. It’s interesting but like WordPress you have to find plug-ins or modules to add specific functionality to the site. And that’s okay as long as they work. I tried putting together a site in WordPress and certain aspects just would not work no matter what. Type was centering instead of flush left, certain fields in a contact form were buggy and I tried two different plug-ins, and just a number of things that are suppose to be easy, just weren’t working. If there was more time, I would have just dug into the code and force it to work! It was a disaster. What a frustrating day.

Anyway, I think I need to learn to have more patience. Mostly with myself. After taking so many classes on HTML, CSS and PHP, I know that I can accomplish most anything. I mean, I know it can be done but I suppose I’m not quite ready to be unleashed on real clients yet. But I won’t be discouraged, I’m going to learn how to get what I need out of WordPress and Joomla! since they are so popular. I figure I will make a few dummy sites so I can show potential clients what I’m capable of.  But I will include some made from scratch and a Bootstrap site as well. I’ve got to have a “portfolio” if I’m going to bid for jobs. And so I’ll go back to my studies, a little more humble and a lot more determined.

 

Learn to party the quick & easy way.

fixed my boo-boos

A Newbie's Web Dev Journey

It’s been a long road trip but it’s time to celebrate! I finished my Master PHP & MySQL the Easy Way course. They also claimed to be the quick way to learn this subject and they were wrong on both counts. It’s taken me almost a month of hard work to get through 143 lectures. The information began to grow in size like a animated snowball down a mountainside. At the end it quickly accumulated to a proportion that my brain couldn’t handle. I didn’t have problems with the material as it was presented but when it was time to tie all the concepts together and unify them to a working program, I freaked. This is not the kind of subject you just pick up from one online class. No matter how comprehensive it is. You really need a programmer to talk to and ask questions. You know, a teacher…

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Learn to party the quick & easy way.

It’s been a long road trip but it’s time to celebrate! I finished my Master PHP & MySQL the Easy Way course. They also claimed to be the quick way to learn this subject and they were wrong on both counts. It’s taken me almost a month of hard work to get through 143 lectures. The information began to grow in size like a animated snowball down a mountainside. At the end it quickly accumulated to a proportion that my brain couldn’t handle. I didn’t have problems with the material as it was presented but when it was time to tie all the concepts together and unify them to a working program, I freaked. This is not the kind of subject you just pick up from one online class. No matter how comprehensive it is. You really need a programmer to talk to and ask questions. You know, a teacher. But I’m still glad I stuck it out to the end because I did manage to pick up enough knowledge about the subject to use it in small ways. I understand how to import databases and edit them. If the need did arise, I feel like that if I checked my notes I could add security to my information to prevent any malicious hacking. There are several other things that I feel confident I will use but I’m never going to be a full-fledged PHP programmer.

The reason I took the course is that I’ve always been interested in how to use databases with a website. Not only for new membership information but also for product databases, and the detailed info such as sku numbers, price, quantities and the like. And I feel I got a good basic understanding of how that all works.

Now I’m going to have to decide what is next. I recently took a 2 hour course in Joomla 3 and I’d already dabbled in Bootstrap 3 so I think I want to master these two before I go running off to take a class on yet another programming language. Although there IS this Ruby on Rails free class I’d like to see what all the hub bub is about. But it’s in my wishlist and it can wait.

You may notice that I have included a posting of all the certificates of completion that I’ve accumulated from Udemy.com. I didn’t chase down all the badges from other sites. Not that interested. I did include the name of each course below the certificate because the design is so poor you can’t read them! But then, I’ve spent my whole career as a lover of good typography and I’m a bit sensitive in that subject. To me the only good these certificates do is to prove to you, the reader, that I did indeed take these classes and I finished them. Therefore giving me the right to critique the courses and hopefully help others decide whether to take them or not.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve just spent more time than it should take to get WordPress to present my certificate page correctly and list it in the menu. I seem to be confused as to how they used categories and menus and posts and pages. Whatever, but I’m not going to buy the theme just so I can manipulate it more easily. I’ll just create my own soon. In the meantime I’ll use this and keep working away on my web development education.

I’ve received more emails very recently from several of the websites that are listed in the links menu on the right side of this page. More new freebies and several price reductions so don’t forget to check back with them at least once a week. And no, I’m not making any money off the links. I wish I had taken the time to figure that out but I have more important things to do. Besides, at this point I’m convinced that only a handful of people are actually reading this blog. Maybe more will come if I work on some SEO. Although, a money-making blog was never my intent. It would be nice but never had that vision.

There is no telling what my next move will be so it will be a surprise for us both.  Remember, you’re never too old to learn and I’m proof.