J. Michael Ward

PHP Developer, Board Game Aficianado, and Donut Snob

A Web Development Update

I’m hoping that the few of you who are subscribers to this blog will see this entry. I’m in the process making additional visual tweaks, moving things around, and slowly incorporating some of the old content I have back into the site (for instance, my lackluster poetry is back online. Hooray!). If I just broke all of the RSS links, I’m very sorry – I promise I’ll get it figured out.

The last couple of months have been great. I finally launched my first couple of sites at work. Nothing has been easy yet, but I’ve learned a lot from each one, with one still-unfinished site provided the bulk of food for thought. I’ve been mentally compiling a list of issues I’ve had to tackle for the first time. Here are a few: creating a drop-down menu populated with featured images from top-level sections, building a custom navigation menu for phone layouts, developing mechanisms for interacting with slideshows in different ways, modifying the WordPress Walker class, creating custom social media buttons to share content, making “back to home” links in different header files within the same site redirect to the correct pages, developing custom contact forms, handling browser inconsistencies – particularly within Internet Explorer (obviously important, but not something I’d done a lot of in the past)…the list quite frankly goes on and on.

It’s been a lot of fun figuring out how to tackle these various problems, and I admit it’s made it challenging to find the motivation to do more of it when I get home on the evenings and weekends (hence, the slow process on getting stuff up on this here site). Still, in my free time I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading up on various web development topics of interest. I started both Git and Sass earlier this year and am getting better and better at using them every day. I’ve been reading The Linux Command Line by William Shotts to build on what I learned in my college networking class. I’m just about done reading Professional WordPress: Design and Development by Brad Williams, and I’ve learned several useful things that should help my future projects at work go more smoothly. I want to learn how to write some client-side applications using AngularJS, and I’m looking to get back into working on my message board and bowling league administration projects, as I want to refactor their codebases to make them object-oriented (and to make them great applications that people would want to use!).

This is just a long way of saying that I’ve been very busy and I’m loving every minute of it. I wish there was more time in the day, or that I had more energy during the week, or both, because there’s so much that I want to know NOW that is just going to take time to learn. Heck, at this point, I haven’t even put anything up on GitHub or helped anyone out with the things I do know on StackOverflow or Reddit, and that’s something that needs to get done, too. I can’t wait to look back on this time in a couple of years just to see how far I’ve come, because it’s been a wonderful journey thus far.