Work Day

It’s a day off from my usual job. Actually, I’ve got a three-day weekend, and I’m lucky enough to spend it working in one of my favourite spots with some of my favourite people. Yes, I took a day off from my real job to do my other job(s). Right now, I’m on the top deck of a converted double-decker bus, sipping coffee and working on re-coding the last few pages of a site I’m reworking.

It’s been an interesting process, to take a site built with what I can only assume was a WYSIWYG editor (that’s what you see is what you get, if you’re confused by all the letters) and build it with proper html and css. I’m sure there are some ways of building sites with a WYSIWYG set-ups, such that they end up with code that is legible. The site I’m working on, though, has some really nice visual design to it, but the ‘guts’ of it were quite a mess. The most obvious issue has been that the site was completely unworkable on mobile devices, but as I got further into the work, I realized there were more issues than just that.

It’s been really great, though, to be working with the graphic design of the site already done. I’ve mostly done both in the past, and it’s really no surprise to me that I prefer the coding and development of a site to the design part. I’d definitely like to improve my design skills, as I think that will help in my overall growth as a web developer but working with good design also makes me a better coder.

Looking forward to having this site all done and ready to share with the world!

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Iterating

Just today I started what I’m hopeful will be an iterative process of working with a client together on a site and iterating through several design ideas. The client has an existing site, which I’ve been maintaining and editing as needed for the past year or so. Between the out-dated design and purely javascript menu structure, it’s been challenging to say the least. Part of that, I’m sure, is my lack of knowledge, but I’m also sure that it is over-coded (is that a term?) and overly complicated for what the site really needs.

One aspect the client and I are both eager to remedy is that much of the existing site has important text only available in images, making it inaccessible to both screen readers and search engines. Especially because inclusivity is a key component to the client’s business, I’ve been looking into ways to keep the text structured as text, but also being able to use images to enhance the design of the page.

I really like this method from css-tricks. I didn’t use the jquery trick at the end, as the page (so far) doesn’t have any javascript. The html probably does have an excessive amount of markup but as my goal with this first iteration was just to show off a few ideas for the structure and basic design of the site, I’m not going to be overly concerned at this point.

As well, I ended up using a background image instead of an image in the html, because it filled the content boxes I was making more readily. But I did really like the transparent background of the text that the css-tricks site used. Just another trick to add to my rapidly growing list of tools!

A Beginning

Starting a blog seems like a daunting task, because there will always be just one ‘first post’ and I’m unsure what to talk about in this first one. I guess a brief chat about why I’m doing this blog thing, and what I’m planning for this space.

I decided to start a personal site as a way to document and discuss the work I’ve been doing in the field of web development. I’m a self-taught, still-learning web developer. I’ve been using online tools such as codeacademy and treehouse to learn html, css and javascript and have been putting those tools to use in making and updating websites for a couple of non-profits I’m involved with.

Last night I went to a free event put on by RED Academy, a new tech school in Vancouver. They hosted an interesting Q&A with a panel of web developers. The whole night was really interesting, but one thing that kept coming up was to just get out there and make stuff! Always Be Creating (or Coding?) – good advice for most fields, really!

So, if I want to do web development and design, why am I starting out on free WordPress template site? Primarily, it’s an easy way to avoid having to buy a domain and hosting at this point. I probably will in the near future, and then migrate all this over there. But also, I’d like to work on learning about making WordPress templates and merge that with the html, css and javascript I’ve already been learning.

As well as talking about web development, I expect I’ll discuss other things related to science and technology, and some day discuss the origins of the name ‘small bellows’.