Understanding JavaScript prototypes

Working with jQuery has been a really crazy journey these past few weeks. The biggest hurdle has been understanding how it all works. Little by little it has all been clicking in my head. Reading several articles about what jQuery is and how to use is has been a good enlightenment for me. There are of course a few drawbacks to trying things on your own and the biggest being no feedback. While, yes, there is some feedback but not in the traditional way or sense that I was accustomed.

I love being able to learn at my own pace but at the same time it can be very hard. Perfect example of this is trying to understand how JavaScript prototypes work. The first time I encountered the term was viewing a tutorial on building a jQuery plugin. While he made a quick reference to another article that I read after viewing the video it both confused me a little bit but it also helped me understand JavaScript a little more.

In the following weeks and months I hope to have a post explaining a little more about how prototypal inheritance works in JavaScript and maybe have something to show for it when I have it all done. I need to find some more resources and read more articles about it so I can get a better grasp and then I will have a much better understanding of it all. When done, I will hopefully have a jQuery plugin completed by then. Yes, another plugin but I need to start somewhere like most people did and have and what better way than to learn from not only others but from my mistakes as well.

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Categorized as Blogging, web

Wireframes and mockups

What are wireframes?

Simple. Wireframes are a bunch of boxes, circles and lines that when combined together create a skeleton of what will eventually be a finished product. Call it the chicken wire to a sculptor, the rough sketch to painter or even the Lego instructions of the X-Wing.

But why?

Why not? As a visual artist, and person, I have to communicate with visual aids. One way is using said circles, squares, lines and even some text to help get my point or vision across to others. Web design is much the same way. A designer must create a visually stunning website while at the same time making it an easy to navigate through the site.

How is it achieved?

By creating wireframes and mock-ups. They are a great tool for designers as well as developers.  Recently, I have been working on creating a set of elements that are commonly used when it comes to creating web site wireframes and mockups in Illustrator and it has been both a little hard but fun as well. I have loved every minute of it since it has given me ideas about how I want to visually communicate to a future client even better. Part of it derived from reading the WordPress developer site and seeing how they got their ideas across and so I figured I would not only follow suit but also find a way to contribute to the community.

I am almost done with the Illustrator file with some basic elements but I keep getting this weird feeling like I am forgetting to include something. Something that is a key element when it comes to wireframes but I keep looking and nothing has yet to come to mind.

What next?

The next stage will be creating a user interface file with both Illustrator and Photoshop to share but that won’t be for some time. Either that or create some simple buttons, icons or random web graphics for people to have for free.

Lessons re-learned

The last two months have flown pretty quickly and it has almost seemed like a blur. To a certain extent. I have realized as to what I really love and that is coding. There is a hidden beauty I found while learning how to make my site work properly and I fell in love with it. Yes, there are a few hardships to face while trying to make a simple page work but it is that challenge that I have always loved to learn from.

Recently I started reading my PHP and MySQL books again and they are starting to remain in my head. Meaning that the things that I read are worth reading now. It is often strange to think that the things that I had once read are now actually making sense to me as to how they work. It is like I needed to take a break from it all to really understand it.

The next stage of it all will be testing all the things that I have learned and hope that they will stick with me. The biggest challenge will be testing on both a live site as well a local site. Not all things are often times created equal and this will be a good way of testing my skills of coding.

The next few days and weeks will be a fun journey into creating a functional theme I can try to submit to the WordPress community. I have thought hard about this and it should be pretty fun and a little daunting at the same time since there are some things that I want to change the output of but feel confident that I will find what I need within the forums and Google on my side.

My Notepad++ take

Over the years I have loved working with code and can recall when I first saw those little lines that created a table to create a two column page and used simple graphics as the background of the entire table. I was using Microsoft’s FrontPage editor to not only create my own pages but to look at the lines of code other pages were using. From that I learned how to create simple things like links, images and the basics of how a web page is created.

Several years later I found out about Adobe’s GoLive program and wanted to try it out. I downloaded a demo and fell in love with the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor but quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. I loved seeing the curly braces, the semicolons, greater than, ampersand and all the dancing characters that actually made the page a page and gave it the theme it did.

A few more years pass by and now Adobe has DreamWeaver. I, of course, tried that out and loved being able to switch between the two but still wasn’t fully in love. I will never really be satisfied, I guess. I have weird expectations when it comes to things like that, but that is besides the point. I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford the program so I ventured out to see what other available code editors were available. I found several but the one that I still use to this day is Notepad++.

The main reason I fell in love with it was the ability to change the theme to my own personal one. I could create one and choose to share with the community if I wanted. (I have yet to create a custom theme but will be when I have a lot more time to.)

Aside from the ability to change themes the biggest reason was the syntax highlighting of the program. Being that it is free doesn’t hurt much either. Recently a new version came out and they added a few more things to make me want to keep using it more and more. The best feature for me is the document map. It helps so much when looking over the nearly nine thousand lines of code that make up the development version of jQuery to understand how it works or looking at the beautiful code that makes up WordPress.

Document Map

Along with the ability to quickly look over the lines of code is the ability to quickly change themes. There are a few that come already with it but I use one that I found here. It is a simple one for web developer/designers but it is somewhat limited when it comes to other language support in syntax highlighting. For me it does the job on a smaller screen and for my main computer I like using a darker style so I can keep looking at the screen just a few more minutes longer.

Theme selection

Along with styles there several plugins that make it all worthwhile to code an iOS app, site or simple script. For those site developers using the native FTP support is extremely simple and rather intuitive. Nothing fancy for me which is what I love in FTP support. You have the ability to create several profiles (sites) and connect/disconnect when you please. Besides FTP, there is also REGEX support and many, many more plugins. The newest one being PCRE (Perl Compatible Regular Expressions) support and I know that once I get a good book on Perl and regular expressions I will be using that to its full extent.

Plugin manager

Being able to connect via FTP is good and being able to read all those lines of code is what a code editor should really be about. Having the ability to change the font to what I like and the colors to my choosing so I can differentiate between what is a comment and what is actual code is essential when it comes to developing and creating a good web app.

JavaScript syntax highlighting

But what is a good editor without the ability to expand and collapse? One of my favorite features of Notepad++ is the ability to do so. Almost a perfect model of what a document tree is. That is one feature that I have used since the first day I installed it in on my computer.

With technology making things much, much easier to distribute in the next release I can’t help but wonder what will be next. The one thing I would love to see is either a plugin that has support for version control or have that be part of its core program. Only time will tell.

Working with code

It has been a really long time since I posted anything on my blog. There have been several reasons as to why. The biggest one is because I was slowly going through a small depression. Not being in school and not reading/learning about things that I love has effected me to a certain extent. Now, I realize that I can still learn and advance my learning, I just have to use the resources that are at my disposal. Knowing these things and talking about it has helped me realize I can still be happy.

These past weeks I’ve been working five graveyard shifts a week and been trying to work a second job and it hasn’t been the greatest for my mentality. It really has altered the way I act towards everyone. While trying to keep what little sanity I had I was reading about PHP, jQuery and still trying to code my site. I realized that I have been skipping steps in between. I have to develop my process on how I will function and create my sites. Step by step by step.

What is nice is that I am starting to understand how to properly code my site. The things that I have to now think about is what elements will be interactive. Working with PHP has helped me understand how JavaScript works. Upon reading and viewing tutorials on jQuery I am slowly starting to understand how it all synchronizes to create a really good user experience. My next journey into web developing will be using AJAX on my projects. Learning how to implement it will be such a great experience. It may very well strain my eyes at first but I know this is going to be a great skill down the road.

I feel like I still have a lot to learn and I a lot to take in but that won’t deter me from achieving what I want to achieve. I know there will be several obstacles that I will have to overcome but in time I should be able to overcome those.

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Categorized as Blogging

Lowering my standards or expectations

As of lately I have had this subject on my mind and I can’t seem to shake it. Part of that reason is because I was talking about it one night while working overnight. Being able to talk to somebody has shed some light to my subject and has helped me see things in a slightly different manner. It is nice.

Over the years of working in customer service I have grown to develop a basic standard of how I expect to be treated when I go to almost any business. The biggest one of course would be any food related service. Walking into a restaurant is the biggest issue for me because I tend to make the biggest judgement call about how the food and service may just very well turn out. Yes, I can be judgmental at times just like everybody else but it is the situation that I judge and not people.

A perfect example of this was a few months back I went to Yosemite with two friends and we set to eat at the Ahwahnee Hotel like we tend to when we go to Yosemite. It was a pretty busy day and the server seemed to be pretty preoccupied with all the tables that she had. The part that really got me the most was the she went about certain things like refilling my drink as well as my friend’s drink that had been there far longer than mine.

In a way it felt like I expected too much of her to notice something so simple as an empty glass on the table but was it really? Service is secondary but where do we really start drawing the line? The only thing I really expected, I guess, was for her to communicate with us about how busy they were and that she would try to do her best in the situation.

Then I start to think about the times that I visit other Starbucks and get what I feel are not so good examples of what a barista should be like. I understand saying thank you to the customer as a means of thanking them for the business but I also have that mentality of saying you’re welcome after hearing it. In a way I guess I want people to almost act like I do to others but in their own way. I greet people like friends and friends like family. A lot of it I think is only because of my curiosity of how the human brain works and how we interact with one another.

Am I really expecting too much? Should I lower my standards so that I can be satisfied with how people act? I guess only time will really tell.

Making some progress

I am slowly making some progress in my site’s theme and I could not be any happier. Every last line of code is helping my understand how to properly implement my site. This week has been really productive for me. There are a few things that I still need to finish as far a images but that should really only take me all but a few hours at most.

I think that the biggest thing will be drawing all the elements that I want and creating them digitally. It has been some time since I have done this but I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to do it. All in good time, right?

As of lately I have read more and more about how WordPress creates elements dynamically and I am slowly starting to understand how to code properly. Making a website that is HTML5 valid can be a bit of a pain in that there are a few new elements that may not be fully supported by all the browsers. So that means that I have to think about who my audience is going to be or is for the site. True that more and more sites are slowly beginning to be HTML5 based so that means it is slowly becoming the new standard.

In the following year I will try to post my random web observations and some of the knowledge I get from it. I really want to get the most out of all my readings so that means that I will be doing a lot of tutorial reading and maybe one day I will post a tutorial of my own. Well, I know that I will it’s just going to be a matter of what the subject will be about. Either that or I will be posting more and more photos of the progress I am making with my site redesign. I know that I will be taking a small page from all the readings I have done over the years so my site will be with the type/content in mind and that will be the main focus.

There really are a lot of things that are on my mind and I need to find a way to let them out. Thankfully this blog has helped me clear my head of a lot of things and has helped me be a tad more creative. My next steps are to keep it up, draw on a daily basis and read more and more about the subjects that compel me. Primarily type and, now as of lately, anything web related. I shall try to post my random findings and comment about it as well.

My days off

Having days off has been really good for me. I feel so much happier now that I can get more things done on my days off. A good example of all of this is the fact that I have been able to finish my friend’s site and keep wanting to add more and more to test my knowledge and ability of the web.

This week has been amazing in that I rediscovered my love for text and that urge to finish what I start. I think my personal blog’s layout and design will be able to look the way I want it too finally. The next step will be trying to find my sketch pads and pencils so that I can start the drawing process of my site and the other sites that I have lined up for me.

This idea that I have for my personal blog will be a fun one because it will be my first major WordPress theme. I know that I want to create one to submit so that other people will use my theme. As some people would say: bragging rights. This will give me more confidence and more knowledge about coding template files because the next site I want to finish deals with .tpl files when it comes to styling and I have never really dealt with these just yet but I should be able to take on this task if I truly put my mind on it.

These last two weeks have flown by and I have managed to get a lot accomplished. The biggest challenge will be finding the fonts to use on not only my site but for future sites as well. All I know is that it will be a fun process.

Theme ideas

So, I have been working and messing with WordPress a lot these past few days and I have been falling more and more in love with it the more and more I use it and code with it.

There are so many possibilities to making a website with WordPress and I am slowly getting more and more comfortable with how WordPress works and how all the code interacts with all the pages. I am slowly building up my confidence to making my personal site redesign and I feel like it will be a great look overall.

I am also slowly beginning to understand how it all works and I feel more and more comfortable with how I will create my new look of my personal blog. The next stage will be in creating the look of the shop side of the site I want to create. This is going to be a little more challenging but I know that I will gain a lot more knowledge on how to properly code for the web.

The only reason I feel that it will be challenging is because I have never really taken on such a huge endeavor before. The next site will be more rewarding because I will be working with how template files work with PHP. The site I will be working on will be a jewelry site for a friend and I have this vision of what the store should look like for her but the application of it all will be a little hard. Trying to find information on the system that I want to use is a little difficult but I know that if I find a good source I will be able to achieve the end result I have envisioned.

There are so many steps that I have taken over the last year but I think that all of them have been really good for what I want to be doing in the near future. I feel more and more confident and feel really happy about career path I have chosen. The only thing that will be hard will be finding the funds so I can stay in school for my Bachelors degree although I am tempted to read more about getting a diploma on specific things so I can update my resume.