Monthly Review: November 2018

I’ve had a revelation and I think I’ve finally figured out what I want to do.  It’s hard to narrow things down when you want to do all the things.

I going to be a full-stack JavaScript Developer that builds WordPress websites and share my progress along the way.

That’s easy to say but it’s going to be a journey getting there.  It certainly won’t happen overnight but it gives me something to work towards.  I’m behind on our homework to “learn JavaScript deeply.” Keep in mind I’m only a hobbyist developer and love my current career path.  This is something I do for fun.

JavaScript.  More and more of WordPress is being built with JavaScript.  I’ve already seen some impressive things and I can see a lot of potential down the road.

WordPress Websites.  I want to build professional, high-quality websites. I have a number of friends and family that have businesses and have asked about helping them get started. 

I’ve been watching a lot of Carrie Dil’s Genesis courses on LinkedIn Learning.  After playing around with the Genesis Framework for a while, I decided this was the best path for what I want to do. I’m now working with the Pro Plus All-Theme Package and learning a lot. 

I’ve decided to move my recipes over to a site designed mainly for our family. This will allow me to focus on development here at GeoffreyShilling.com.  It’d be great to help others going down the same path as me.

Schedule Change

My schedule will change again in a couple months, but starting Monday my plan is to try blocking off time.  I hadn’t done that much in the past because things get shifted around a lot, but I’m going to see how it goes. I’m definitely much more of a morning person and I wake up pretty early every day of the week.  This lets me get my “fun” stuff done without taking time away from family after my day job.

  • WordPress Support, 2.5 hours: I know this has been on my list for a while, but this month I’m making time to get back into the WordPress.org forums.
  • JavaScript, 5 hours: I’ll be focusing on freeCodeCamp in the beginning and then move on to more and more JavaScript projects, separate from the projects listed below.
  • Projects, ~5 hours: This can be anything I have to work on, whether it’s a plugin, a theme, or a site redesign. 
  • Running, at least 3-4 days a week: I love running and would do it every day if I could.  For now, my goal is at least 3-4 runs each week.
  • Cross-Fit-Type Training, at least 3-4 days a week: I’m probably going with Beach Body’s Insanity Max 30, a version of Insanity compressed to 30 minutes.

Monthly Progress

Posts as Grid [Plugin]

Goal from last month: I want to work on a plugin that will display the posts in a category as a grid using the post’s featured image and title.  This will be used on my recipe pages so you can see what there is without scrolling through each recipe.

Progress:  Completed!  I decided I didn’t need to create a separate plugin and stuck with adding it to the theme, though this may be used as a prime example of scope creep.  As I mentioned above, I split the recipes off my main site and those will now be at Island of Aloha.  I also worked on a new theme for this, ʻOhana Favorites, using the Genesis Framework.  The original (Foodie Pro) theme probably could probably could have done exactly what I wanted, but my goal was to learn. And that I did.  I used CSS Grid and am very happy with the results. The site itself still has a few tweaks, but the grid I like.

Password Generator [Bootstrap, JavaScript]

Goal from last month: Start working on a JavaScript password generator that uses Bootstrap. I had been using Norton’s Password Generator, but their defaults are different than what I would like them to be. Since this is actually something I use on a specific project quite a bit, I figure it’d be worth my time creating. 

Progress:  Completed! The password generator defaults to everything I want and it’s as automated as possible.  Features include:

  • Default to uppercase, lowercase, and numbers selected.
  • Default to 16 characters long.
  • Set focus to the Generate button after updating any options so it’s ready to press enter and create a new password.
  • Automatically generate a password and select it on page load. As soon as the page loads, I just need to press CTRL+C and I’ll be ready to use the password.
https://codepen.io/geoffreyshilling/pen/bQEgOb

Laptop Rebuild

Goal from last month: I had ordered an SSD and plan to rebuild my laptop this month.  I’ll be upgrading from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to 18.04.1 LTS. I use VVV for my local development. The biggest change is that I’m hoping to get rid of my dual-boot system (Windows and Ubuntu) and only run Ubuntu with Windows in a Virtual Box.  I’d love to ditch Windows completely, but a couple things I use for the Navy require it.  I don’t want to mess around with the hacks that would let me potentially run a Windows program on Linux. 

Progress:  Almost complete. Shortly after last month’s post I started having a number of other issues and decided to go ahead and replace my laptop.  I got rid of my dual-boot setup and now run Ubuntu 18.04 with Windows on a VirtualBox machine.  I have a couple Navy websites I’m still working on, but email is finally working now.  

National Registry Exam

Goal from last month: I want to try to schedule and take my National Registry Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) exam this month.  We took a class with our fire department a couple months ago and I’ve completed that, but I won’t be certified until I pass the National Registry.

Progress:  Almost complete.  I need to take the exam on a Saturday due to my schedule.  They don’t offer it every weekend and the next Saturday exam they had is today.  I’ll be taking it in a couple hours after this is posted.  Wish me luck!

Learning

I took most of the LinkedIn Learning courses I could find on Genesis this month and continued on with the Become a Junior WordPress Developer learning path.  I’ve decided not to list the individual courses here and instead just add them to my LinkedIn profile.  I’ll add individual courses as I take them. Once I complete a learning path I’ll remove those and just keep the main learning path certificate.  Part of the reason for this is that I’m taking more courses as I devote more time but also there are some of the courses I find really helpful and go through them several times.


Goals for The Month

Although I may work on other things, I’m going to limit myself to setting three goals every month.

  1. Aloha Friday Words [Plugin].
    URL: https://geoffreyshilling.com/plugins/aloha-friday-words/
    • Review the code, ensuring it meets WordPress coding and Plugin standards. Start using the plugin on geoffreyshilling.com. 
  2. GeoffreyShilling.com Redesign Plan [Website].
    URL: https://geoffreyshilling.com/
    • Finish sketches of the site before I do any more work on the site itself. It will use a coffee-inspired theme called “Kope 808,” likely built on the Mai Lifestyle Pro Theme.  The planned launch date is January 18, 2019 – the day Captain Cook discovered Hawaiʻi in 1778.
  3. Learn the Genesis Framework.
    • I know I’m not going to learn the entire framework in a month, but I want to familiarize myself with what’s available.  I got the Pro Plus plan last and can’t wait to really get going!

Aloha, a hui hou (until we meet again)!

Monthly Review: October2018

Development

I’ve had a really hard time trying to figure out a schedule and a plan moving forward.  I absolutely love WordPress and want to continue working with it. I know I can’t learn it all, but I want to.

This month I’m trying something new: I’m going to learn JavaScript and do WordPress. What’s the difference from what I’m doing now?  Instead of trying to learn everything about WordPress and JavaScript, I’m going to focus on learning JavaScript.  I’m not scheduling any more time to learn WordPress.  That might sound a little misleading.

I’m not done learning WordPress – not by any means.  It simply means I won’t be scheduling my time around that anymore.  I have time each week scheduled for learning and I have time scheduled for projects.  The time for learning will be spent on JavaScript.  The time for projects will mostly be spent on WordPress, since most of the projects I want to do are WordPress.  Most of the projects I have in mind will require skills that are beyond where I currently am.  Instead of trying to learn everything about WordPress up front, I’m going to do my projects.  As I come to something I don’t know, only then will I focus on learning it.  This will certainly cut back on my overall progress on projects, but it’s going to keep me moving at the pace I want. 

GeoffreyShilling.com Redesign

Goal from last month: Plan a new design for GeoffreyShilling.com that I will ultimately build using the Underscores starter theme.

Progress:  I figured out a basic design for the site and started working on the theme I’m calling “Kope 808.”  Kope is the Hawaiian word for coffee and 808 is Hawaiʻi’s lone area code.  The theme is, of course, coffee inspired. 

There was a slight change in that I decided to go ahead and use the Gutenberg Starter theme instead of the Underscores theme. I started working on some drawings but I was anxious to try out the Gutenberg Starter Theme so I worked on code a little bit.

Aloha Friday Words

Goal from last month: Continue to work on the plugin and have it functional by the end of the month.

Progress:  Goal met! The plugin is now working as expected.  I’m sure I’ll run into a few small things along the way, but I’m just about ready to put it on this site and start using it.  The last thing I want to do before then is to go through the code and make sure it’s following all the WordPress coding standards and styles and that it’s following the plugin best practices and standards.
I learned a lot this month.  I had some frustrating days working through adding a default featured image, but I finally got it figured out.

Learning

As much as I want to get into JavaScript, I want to make sure I have a solid foundation of the basics.  I started making websites in the late 90’s.  Although I’ve done plenty of tinkering since then, I want to make sure I’m doing things correctly.  I completed the Become a Front-End Web Developer learning path on LinkedIn Learning and started on Become a Vanilla JavaScript Developer.

Courses Completed:

  • WordPress: Workflows
  • WordPress Essential Training
  • SASS Essential Training
  • Making Sense of the CSS Box Model
  • Learning Responsive Design
  • Learning CSS
  • Learning App Building with Vanilla JavaScript
  • JavaScript Essential Training
  • Introduction to CSS
  • Git Essential Training
  • Bootstrap 4 Essential Training
  • Learning React.js

Personal Development/Improvement

I’ve been making big progress the past two months in the amount of things I’ve been learning.  I’ve been working on several projects, but it adds time going back to make sure everything is coded properly and following the styles I want.  This month I started taking notes for my own style and development guidelines.  Although this will mostly be based off WordPress.org’s various coding standards, there will be a few minor changes.  One of those being CSS: I like to organize my CSS alphabetically within elements and sections.  This style guide will help me as I’m working on new projects and continue to learn so I won’t have to go searching for how I want things.

Fitness

I took a couple weeks off from fitness in October but now I’m back! As much as I would like to run every day, I really need to get in some other training as well.  I’m still trying to figure out what’s going to work best, but I think I’m going to do P90X three days a week and run 3-4 times, maintaining my mileage that I was with 5k/day.

  • Running Miles in October: 79.23
  • Total Miles for 2018: 491.9

Reading

Here’s what I’ve been reading this month:

  • Physical: Hawaiʻi Magazine.
  • Audible: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) by Timothy Ferriss.
    Thoughts: So far it’s an interesting book. I’m not trying to make millions or get my work down to hours a week, but I’ve heard a lot of people recommend it.
  • Kindle: How to Parent a Genius: Raising Kids that are Smart, Successful, Nice and Happy! by Pat Quinn

Productivity

I’m always on the lookout for more efficient ways to get things done. Here’s what I found this month:

  • “To-Do” Email Address.  I use Trello a lot and there are plenty of ways to for it to help make you even more efficient. Trello allows you to create cards by email and add them to a specific list. I created a very short email address, such as todo@example.com ,and have it forward to the long email address Trello gave me for my “To Do” board.  From there the item is added to my “Inbox” list until I move it where it needs to go. Any emails I receive I can easily forward to this address and have it added to my to-do list.
  • A Week of Sandwiches.  A couple weeks ago I heard a suggestion about making sandwiches and freezing them. I really wish I remember where I heard/saw this so I could give credit.  My son makes his lunch the night before school.  I had him try freezing one sandwich to see how it worked and he said he couldn’t notice any difference in taste.  This is the second where he’s made his lunch on Sunday night and four more sandwiches for the rest of the week. Each sandwich goes in a bag, he puts them in the freezer, and grabs one as needed when he’s making lunch. It’s amazing how much time it saves him getting things out just once instead of every school night.

My News Highlights

A few of the things I found interesting this month.


Goals for The Month

  1. Aloha Friday Words [Plugin].
    URL: https://geoffreyshilling.com/plugins/aloha-friday-words/
    • Review the code, ensuring it meets WordPress coding and Plugin standards. Start using the plugin on geoffreyshilling.com. 
  2. GeoffreyShilling.com Redesign Plan [Website].
    URL: https://geoffreyshilling.com/
    • Finish sketches of the site before I do any more work on the theme itself.  The theme will be called “Kope 808.”  It should be built mobile-first and will likely include designs for small, medium, and large screens.
  3. Posts as Grid [Plugin].
    • I want to work on a plugin that will display the posts in a category as a grid using the post’s featured image and title.  This will be used on my recipe pages so you can see what there is without scrolling through each recipe.
  4. Password Generator [Bootstrap, JavaScript].
    • Start working on a JavaScript password generator that uses Bootstrap. I had been using Norton’s Password Generator, but their defaults are different than what I would like them to be. Since this is actually something I use almost daily, I figure it’ll be worth my time creating. 
    • Of course there are plenty of options out there I could use, but this will also give me a good reason to practice Bootstrap and JavaScript.
  5. Laptop Rebuild.
    • I had ordered an SSD and plan to rebuild my laptop this month.  I’ll be upgrading from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to 18.04.1 LTS. I use VVV for my local development. The biggest change is that I’m hoping to get rid of my dual-boot system (Windows and Ubuntu) and only run Ubuntu with Windows in a Virtual Box.  I’d love to ditch Windows completely, but a couple things I use for the Navy require it.  I don’t want to mess around with the hacks that would let me potentially run a Windows program on Linux. 
  6. National Registry Exam.
    • I want to try to schedule and take my National Registry Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) exam this month.  We took a class with our fire department a couple months ago and I’ve completed that, but I won’t be certified until I pass the National Registry.

Monthly Review: September 2018

I’m getting back into my monthly reviews but they won’t be anything fancy. The format will be a simple a list of things I’ve accomplished for the month and what my plans are for the following month.

Development

  • GeoffreyShilling.com. I finally decided to combine development and personal stuff like recipes into a single site.  I just didn’t have the time or desire to manage 2-3 sites for myself. It may not be the best strategy for a blog, but I’m not trying to be a professional blogger or anything so I’m okay with that.    
  • Aloha Friday Words. Started working on a WordPress plugin that will easily let me share a new Hawaiian word and its meaning every week. Although I haven’t worked on it for too long, I’ve made some good progress and learned a lot. The plugin currently creates a custom post type using a Gutenberg template, automatically adds the appropriate category, a default featured image for that post type, and generates the title for the post. The only thing I need to do is click “Add new,” enter the Hawaiian word, its definition, and an example of how it is used.
  • LinkedIn Learning. As much as I want to get into JavaScript, I want to make sure I have a solid foundation of the basics.  I started making websites in the late 90’s.  Although I’ve done plenty of tinkering since then, I want to make sure I’m doing things correctly.  I’ve been working on the Become a Front-End Web Developer learning path, including:
    • Completed HTML Essential Training
    • Completed CSS Essential Training 1
    • Completed CSS Essential Training 2
    • Completed GitHub for Web Designers
    • Completed CSS Essential Training 3
    • Started Sass Essential Training
  • Tools, Tips, and Tricks.
    • Visual Studio Code. Atom has been my editor of choice for a long time but I started looking into Visual Studio Code after hearing a number of people talk about it.  I really enjoy it so far.
      • I use Ubuntu and the Alt-Click wasn’t working for multi-cursor editing. By default, it already has another behavior assigned to it.  I found an article that gave a command to run and change this behavior. It worked for me:
        gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences mouse-button-modifier ""
    • Live SASS Compiler extension. I’m just getting into SASS and found this extension. It makes it super easy to compile your SASS code and automatically update your browser using the Live Server extension.
    • Live Server. Automatically reloads the page in your browser when you make changes to the code. No more manually refreshing.

Fitness

I’ve been more focused on fitness lately and that trend is going to continue. It was a busy month but productive! My goal is to increase or at least match the distance of the previous month.

  • Running Miles in September: 104.23
  • Total Miles for 2018: 416.69
  • Set a goal of running at least 5K a day. I’ve been doing that every day since September 12.
  • Decided to create a new Instagram account: @geoffrey.gets.fit. I was originally sharing my progress for #100DaysOfFitness with daily photos on my personal Instagram account. Then I realized a problem with that – I don’t want to do this for 100 days, but until I physically can’t anymore.
  • Completed my fifth Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on September 29.
    • Set a new 5k personal record of 23:47:34, finishing 32 out of 229 timed runners.

Reading/Books

I set a goal to start reading more. Sometimes there isn’t as much time to read a physical book as there is to listen to something. My “reading” will also include audio books (I currently use Audible).

  • Physical: Hawaiʻi Magazine.
    Thoughts: I love everything there is about Hawaiʻi. This magazine provides some great information and amazing photos of the islands. The worst thing about it is that is only comes every other month.
  • Audible: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.
    Thoughts: I’m a big fan of checklists. I had previously started this quite a while ago, so I decided to start over. It didn’t take me long to finish. The book shows how checklists are good for all kinds of things, even those that may not seem like it at first. One reason I like checklists is that it makes routine things nearly failsafe. If you have a checklist for something, you go down the list and don’t have to worry about leaving out a small detail somewhere.
  • Audible: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) by Timothy Ferriss.
    Thoughts: So far it’s an interesting book. I’m not trying to make millions or get my work down to hours a week, but I’ve heard a lot of people recommend it.

Productivity

I’m always on the lookout for a better way of doing things.

  • I tried make-ahead freezer meals for the first time. We may six meals in just over one hour. Once we make sure our family likes the recipes, it wouldn’t add much time to make two of each and have 12 meals. I’m loving these after the first time. Do you do your meal prep ahead of time and freeze it? If so, please leave a comment below with some of your favorite recipes!
  • Repeating cards in Trello.  I discovered this a while ago but really started making use of it this month. I have a number of weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks both personal and at work. This has been an awesome addition to my workflow.

Miscellaneous

  • I’ve decided to start tracking the podcasts I listen to and make sure I leave reviews for my favorites. I’m gathering a list of WordPress-specific ones as well as a more general list.

Goals for The Month

  • Aloha Friday Words [Plugin]
    URL: https://geoffreyshilling.com/plugins/aloha-friday-words/
    • Continue to work on the plugin and have it functional by the end of the month. 
  • GeoffreyShilling.com Redesign Plan [Website].  The primary purpose is to learn the Underscores theme.
  • WordPress.org Support Forums. It’s been way too long since I’ve spent much time on the forums and I don’t like that.
    • Make time for the forums, even if it’s only 15 minutes each day.
  • Julie’s Site [Website]. My wife has been rocking it with graphic design using just a Facebook page.  That’s great, but it’s time she had a site of her own!
    • URL: Coming soon!
    • Go over her needs then plan and design the new site.