Progress with Illustrator and WordPress

I’ve had a busy but good week. Client work is going well and ive been working hard getting to grips with WordPress development.  I spend too much time on my blogs writing about what I can’t do.  I’m going to try and be a bit more positive tonight.

1) Workflow

In recent week, I’ve learned to untilise the benefits of developing websites via localhost. I looked again at my LAB portfolio site and stripped it down ready for a redesign and ran it from localhost. This means I don’t need to worry about loading my files to my web host every time I make even the most miniscule of changes.

It makes working with AJAX and WordPress development faster to develop and debug and this change to my workflow has been a delight. 

2) WordPress 

Progress with WordPress development is really coming on. It’s been great fun learning piece by piece how a WordPress theme is put together. And while most of it is a still a blur I am starting to get it.  You do need some foundational knowledge of PHP.  Check.  You do need knowledge of the basic structure of a WordPress installation. Check. Knowledge of naming conventions that WordPress uses to get itself working, getting there.

It’s mostly a case of knowing how to take a static HTML template and knowing where to cut this code and replace it with WordPress specific dynamic functions.  It’s going to take a lot of practice but my biggest fear isn’t with this, it’s with making sure I don’t break everything when I finish and migrate the database over to the wider Internet ūüôā 
3) Adobe Illustrator

Another thing I’ve been working on in the last 2 weeks is designing with Adobe Illustrator. I’ve tried to get into illustrator a few times over recent years but it’d never got to grips with the myriad of options that the program offers. This is largely to time, and the amount of time I spend either in Photoshop or writing code in a text editor.

I have to say the new Adobe Illustrator course has been fantastic. I like the project based approach to learning we go through during the course.  Not only has the project been interesting, but in this course I finally feel like I’ve been able to do things with the program. Following on from the simple instructions in the video.  Now the tool doesn’t seem quite so scary. 


Treehouse, Dyspraxia and my love of learning

For about a year and a half now, I’ve been a member of an amazing website called TeamTreehouse. 

Treehouse is an online technonology school for learning exciting things like web design, web development, iOS, android and more recently Game Development (I can’t wait to check out that last one). 

Not long after joining they asked me if I would be interested in a position as Forum moderator. A completely voluntary role but one I’m proud to take.  

Just today I’ve had my story published. You can read it here.

In it you may have noticed I talk about something very affecting in my life. Dyspraxia.

I’ve spoken in the past about what it is and how it affects me in my blog back in July. But I felt like now was a good time to touch on it again.

As I said, I suffer from mild Dyspraxia which affects the way I process information and remember things such as coding in my brain. It fundamentally changes the way I look at the world; the way I think, the way I learn.

So even if I’m taking in information as any other would that information could just as easily be lost before it has had a chance to sink in. You could ask me a simple question or give me a basic instruction and my thought processes can very easily break down.

For example, one of my goals at Treehouse is to learn how develop and customise a website in WordPress. I’m devoted to it. I’m excited about what I am finding out and slowly but surely demystifying the process of building a WordPress theme. I can then use them to make my own custom designs.

But sometimes it can get too much.  Sometimes I can find myself in a different headspace and it can feel like all those miswired connections in my brain are rushing to sort themselves out.  These sorts of things are what affecting my ability to learn.

What do I do when I go to a project or a learning session and I think.. “Where did the knowledge go?”. Well it is there, it never really goes it just sometimes takes a little longer than it otherwise might to access the part of the brain that is holding the new knowledge 

This is why I like working for myself. This is why I started my own business. Allowing me to work and learn at my own pace, rather than having to compete at the same level as non neurodiverse people. I believe it’s the best thing possible for my personal development.

Why am I telling you all this? First of all I think it’s important to stress I’m not trying to undersell my abilities. Dyspraxic people can have many positive qualities, including creativity, determination and an insatiable need to learn.

I believe that in spite of all my problems I can offer my clients and excellent service and I’ve always met my deadlines. I’m devoted, determined, meticulous and devoted to my work.

I believe and always have believed in being honest to all people about myself and my abilities, even if it may not win me work.  So thank you once again for reading and to Treehouse for giving me a chance to share my story.

BLOG: Thoughts on the potential for WordPress Development at Jonnie Grieve Digital Media

Hello again all. ¬†Again it’s been a while since my last blog. I’m not sure if I’ve been in touch since I moved. Thankfully I’ve had a good number of working projects and personal development projects to keep me occupied since the move.

I’ve got involved in

  • Database development with mySQL
  • Mobile website design for 2 of my longest standing clients
  • Working on changing my workflow with version control systems such as Git.
  • PhP development with localhost (using XAMPP desktop server)

But the thing I am most excited about that I’ve just started delving into in the last few days is getting into¬†WordPress Development. ¬†Not just writing blogs with as I am doing right now, but utilising one of the most popular content management systems on the web.

As I’ve alluded to in the past. there’s only so much room head to focus on one thing. And the biggest potential for my focus is in WordPress Development. Not just picking themes in the WordPress Theme Repository but actually designing custom themes for myself either to sell on or to use in a client project.

A year ago I set up a domain add on for my WordPress development. A WordPress theme will always live here but this is how the website looks¬†right this moment.¬†At the time of writing this blog¬†theme is the “twentythirteeen” theme by WordPress.

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform and content management solution. Millions of Websites are powered by it.

When I looked at my website recently, and changed the landing page taking down most of its content. for the first time I considered powering my own website with WordPress.¬†So… I’ve got a landing page up there right now for my website until I decide what I’m doing to do with.

But with my domain add-on it’s all about learning as much about Development of WordPress Themes as I can. Right now it’s simple things like Custom Post Types and adding Widget areas to themes, slowly applying more than just content defaults that WordPress offers.

There are still a few things at this time that are a bit of a mystery to me though. ¬†What I’ve got is an “art” custom post type for adding dummy art and test to pages as an example how to put these together. For one reason or another, it has never worked 100%. Much of this was down to not deleting pages I didn’t want or need from the WordPress “bin” which caused links to redirect but there’s still some stray 404 pages I don’t know how to get rid of yet.

Why, for example would this work…
Screenshot 2015-11-04 18.36.12

but not this..

.Screenshot 2015-11-04 18.36.03

This as it is, it’s¬†as close as I’ll ever get right now to setting up a fully working custom post type in WordPress,

But I’m undeterred. These are the sorts of things more than anything else I’m hoping to forge an understanding on. But I’ve only just started my WordPress Development journey and I’m looking forward to learning more about it.