In the world of web development, there’s just too much out there for someone who wants to learn something new, is a self starter, and likes to learn new things. With new languages and tricks for old ones being developed daily, it is steadily hard to keep up.

But why don’t you just learn one at a time, that will make it easier, right?

No, not really. Here is the problem:

  • Client A wants web tech 1, which you kind of know.
  • Client B wants web tech 2 and 3, which you know 2, but not 3.
  • Client C wants web tech 1 and 3.

Well, crap, do you dive more into web tech 1, or start with web tech 3? But wait, they just released a new version of web tech 2. It makes you want to scrap it all and figure out a way to hook up a USB cord to your brain to just be able to download what you need. But that just means you need to pick up two new subjects, brain tech 1 and computer engineering 1.

And your brain goes {boom}.

If you’re like me, it takes some time before you explore all the bells and whistles of your software. The reason for this is simply the fact that you have the software for a purpose, you use it for that purpose and you just run with it, rather than fiddling about with it. This is the case with my MAMP install.

Now and then I would be coding something and would forget a semicolon, dollar sign, etc and when I would view the site I was looking at in a browser I would get an annoying blank white screen. 99% of the time, I could find the error by just doing a quick scan of my recent changes. Yesterday, I couldn’t. So I had to open up MAMP and look up where the log file was to take a look. Found it, fixed it, closed the log.

Once again, it was problem/solution scenario (ya, I’m boring you, I know). I didn’t even bother to look at a checkbox that was right there, its beautiful name is “Display”. I only noticed it this morning because I thought to myself, “Why the eff doesn’t MAMP write errors to the screen?” Turns out, it does. I checked off the Display box, restarted the server, purposely broke my code and refreshed my browser…ah, happiness.

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 11.09.35 AM

When working on a WordPress project, I have always done a one off theme for all of my clients. I either create the graphical layout, or it is sent to me and I do the slicing and begin coding from scratch. In a recent cooperative project where the client was the lead and also a developer, he wanted to go with a parent theme and just create a child them.

Even though it wasn’t new to me, it was. Stay with me for a moment… I have worked with child themes previously, but I have never created one. It wasn’t difficult, however, with this one, it took a little more effort than normal. With child themes, I believe, most developers just toss in their own custom CSS to change the layout, colors, etc and call it a day. It wasn’t that easy with this one due to some custom post types needing to be displayed, which calls for custom templates.

It was definitely a learning experience, and I see the added value of having a parent/child theme development process. Parent themes allow for upgrading of the parent theme (bug fixes, new tech, etc) without losing the customization of the child theme. A parent theme also gives you a foundation to start with, your own personal framework.

With all of that being said, I believe I am going to develop my own personal parent theme to use with projects. This will allow me to bring in things I find myself repeating over and over again, and will also speed up the development process. It’s a win win.

There are two types of coders in this world, ones that have had the sun rise on them without them realizing, and those that have yet to experience that. Until you experience the sun rising and birds chirping outside after a night of coding up whatever personal project you are working on, you are not in the know. You may be a newbie, you may be in school and learning, but until that moment happens and there is a glow coming from around your blackout curtains, you still have not crossed that threshold.

Why am I writing this? Mainly because I have become a daywalker, if you want to call it that. Rather than sitting and coding, learning, progressing at night, I sleep. Not tonight, though, tonight I kick off routine until I wake up with “QWERTY” imprinted backwards on my forehead.

Hooray for me, got a new design up. Dove into this one head first using SASS, along with an additional framework/mixin called Bourbon.

For those not in the know, SASS is a parallel to CSS. It’s actually a language that allows you to use variables, nesting and function like elements called mixins. Typically the SASS will need to be run through a pre-processor to compile it into plain old CSS. If that doesn’t put a twinkle in your eye, then you need to be shown what happens when the SASS is processed to get it, just like I did.

I wrote in SASS, with a hint of Burbon:

@include font-face(libelsuit, '../fonts/libelsuit');

SASS was then translated to CSS:

@font-face {
font-family: libelsuit;
font-weight: normal;
font-style: normal;
src: url("../fonts/libelsuit.eot");
src: url("../fonts/libelsuit.eot?#iefix") format("embedded-opentype"), url("../fonts/libelsuit.woff") format("woff"), url("../fonts/libelsuit.ttf") format("truetype"), url("../fonts/libelsuit.svg#libelsuit") format("svg");

Get it now? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you code CSS by hand, I strongly suggest checking out SASS, as it can not only speed up development, but can also make it much easier to use reusable code.