Learning with practice

The progress of my theme is decent. I have been learning how to work with Git and SVN more and more. I did recently have a little conversation with @ipstenu on Twitter about learning version control. Yes, I am still learning how to harness the power of simple commits and getting the hang of how to use branches and tags.

Which brought me to my main point: tutorials.

People on the web have dozens and dozens of them. Some are better than others and some are just beyond outdated. I was looking for a tutorial on how version control works using SVN. You would think I would find at least five. No. I found links talking about how SVN works but no real tutorial.

@ipstenu asked me if I could find one noob friendly tutorial. Of course I couldn’t. True, there wasn’t one. Yet. I have been contemplating creating a simple tutorial on how to use TortoiseSVN in a local setup. Sounds simple, right? Yes and no. The writing is a simple thing but taking all those screenshots to go with that will be a task in itself. I know I’m capable of it I just now have to find the time. Keeping in mind that even my current knowledge is not that great but it should suffice for the time being.

One of the first things that I learned was ‘commit’ so of course that will be the first topic. Next in line is ‘branches’ and ‘tags. and how they work. That is one thing I still haven’t yet mastered through a GUI. Just takes me back to when I was in Junior High and learning about computers but that is another story.

Yes, tutorials have helped me understand certain things but often times I don’t really learn unless I put forth the effort. Learning by practice is a great method and a great way for me and others to learn as well. I just hope that I can get my tutorial written out so that people understand. Although this has given me an idea for a future post: translation.

Theme progress – good

Slowly but surely my blog’s is coming together. The one thing I am now attempting to do is work out a gallery system. While I do like the Twenty Twelve’s way of presenting the image gallery I want something a little different. The way the Twenty Twelve handles the images is by linking to a page. I don’t want that on mine. Part of that reason is because I won’t be having very many images that are bigger than 800 pixels wide.

What that really entails is that a person with a computer screen of about 13 inches will be seeing more photo than they bargained for. I don’t want to do that. Especially if a person is using a mobile device. That means that image would be the only thing that they see. That is a big no bueno for accessibility. Having to scroll side to side to view an entire image on a mobile device decreases the user experience in my book.

What I have so far is the single, comments, index, search form, sidebar, content, header, and footer pages completed. I still have to work on the functions, tweaks, custom template tags, page and post formats code pages. The one that I know will give my some issues will be the gallery.

I am slowly learning how to code that because the built-in gallery shortcode is not HTML valid. It outputs a element even when there is no caption for the image. What I have to do is one of two options: filter the gallery or remove the gallery shortcode and use my own. For the time being I think I will just have to settle for filtering the gallery output to get the desired result. Not that big of a deal; at least I’ll learn on the way.

The one thing I still have to finish, oddly enough, is the images that I will be using. I’m not sure if I will use individual files or just one since I do want to be able to support HiDPI down the road but that is another subject for another time. Right now I still have a few functions to declare and a few more things to code.

Keeping WordPress on my mind

I keep posting on this about how code is becoming a part of my life and yet I have yet to actually post any of it; It is really depressing to see and read. So, here goes: With the project I have been working on (my site) I have been working with how WordPress handles its files and queries. It has been good seeing and interacting with it all. A good, and quick, example of how it works is here.

With that in mind I have thought about how I want certain things to look on the front page of the site. So, this would entail that WordPress will look for one of many pages. The first one it will look for is

home.php

and then it will look for

index.php

if it doesn’t find the first file. That is, of course, if I am using WordPress as a blogging tool otherwise it will look for the

front-page.php

if I have it set as a CMS (Content Management System ).

The files I have created so far are the basic ones that WordPress needs to be read/seen in the Appearance panel. They are comprised of

style.css

and

index.php

which are the two minimum required files. The front/home page so far will of course have a featured/sticky support but will be able to use the excerpt if the post has it filled out otherwise it will just post the entire content. That little snippet looks like:

<div class="entry-content"></div>
<pre>
    <!--?php if( has_excerpt() ) : the_excerpt(); else : the_content(); theme_linked_pages(); <span class="hiddenSpellError" pre=""-->endif;?>
</div><!-- .entry-content -->

The next stage will be creating the look of how an individual post will look like. That file is called:

single.php

. It will look fairly close to the homepage layout but of course there are going to be subtle differences. I’m debating if I really want a sidebar on the entire site but I know it will be useful for simple navigation.

Now, WordPress uses functions as template tags. Case in point:

the_content()

. It displays the content of the post when used inside of a WordPress loop. I have created a simple

functions.php

file that will house all my custom functions for the theme. In that file I inserted:

function theme_setup () {
        // Add post format support
        add_theme_support( 'post-formats', array('aside', 'image', 'link', 'quote', 'status') );
        // Add theme support for custom background
        add_theme_support( 'custom-background', array('default-color' => 'fff' ) );
        // Add theme support for Post Thumbnails
        add_theme_support ( 'post-thumbnails' );
        // Register the menu
        register_nav_menu ( 'primary', 'Main Menu');
    };

What that little snippet does is create support for post formats, custom background support, thumbnail support and creates a menu holder for my theme. I’ll explain those things down the road – hopefully.

Now, up until recently I have only really posted photos of what my site will look like. This has been a great experience on how my site will look like when I actually start posting more and more code since I am using a plugin to create the syntax highlighting. Taking a turn into the code side of web development will be a great thing for me. Now to explore more about theme development and WordPress.

My blog site

This blog site has been a great thing for me. I have learned so much about myself by actually writing about my thoughts. It has opened my mind to how I really feel about life and the world around me.

I have been experimenting more and more with web design and development. I can’t wait until I finally finish my site’s final design. There are so many resources that I have used in order to create the final look of the site. When I get a moment or possibly the next day that I have off I will try my best to create a simple tutorial on how to create a simple local server to test websites. Granted there are plenty of tutorials out there as well but this one will be more suited to me since it dealt with my experience.

The one thing that I am debating is what fonts I want to use because there are so many elements that I want to include but I don’t want to throw off the feel of the site entirely. As many people have come to know I have fallen head over heels about type. I am in the midst of creating a post about how type has influenced my daily life. Yes, it does sound a little odd but it will make sense when it is finally published.

Recently, I have been looking at lines of code in order to create my site. Some of the things that I have learned are that I need to read more and more. Not just code but books and articles in general. I have so many unfinished books on the shelf that they have practically gained weight from all the dust they have collected.

The other thing that struck me as interesting while redesigning my site was looking at exactly what I post and how I can stylize how I like it. There are several things that I post but I know I don’t use the full potential of WordPress when I could be. I have learned about the subtle differences between digital publishing and physical but that will be for my type posting.

In the meantime I will keep reading about programming, art, design, type and how to merge them together into one good-looking blog that I call my own.