I don’t know if this is a landmark or a train wreck because I have been looking at it so long I can’t see the forest for the trees anymore.
So it’s a moment, okay?
I’ve got some really cheap ass hosting and it’s a sub-domain of this blog so probably nowhere near best practise when it comes to running stuff properly but this is all just my learning journal really… when it comes down to time to do things properly, I will.
I did follow this course on Udemy so you might say I didn’t really make it myself, but I did code the whole thing manually while following along and that came with it’s fair share of hard work, understanding and a tonne of errors along the way so I feel like I have learnt PLENTY.
Now, having said that, a couple of extra pointers so you don’t think I’m smarter than I am. The HTML and CSS was already designed and coded, so as part of the course was actually converting it from HTML/CSS into WordPress and that was particularly exciting to do.
Overall I’ve learnt so much more from this course than any of the others because I feel like Brad the instructor has a really great tried and true method of instruction. He speaks clearly and takes you through the steps methodically explaining everything as if you were completely new to every concept being taught.
Things I Loved
I really enjoyed learning about the overall structure used by WordPress known as the Template Hierarchy
This threw me completely the first time I tried to learn it, the first few times actually but what Brad did differently was, and this is going to sound weird, but he didn’t talk about it.
Instead, we did it. We built a Theme from a standard blank WP install and slowly but surely built up all the template files and page files, archives, custom post types etc etc and built a solid understanding of how they work together and why each page pulls in the template file or template parts it uses – so he showed me how to use the Template Hierarchy. Now it seems to me that if I need to troubleshoot something I can refer to the hierarchy as I know how it works.
Custom Post Types
A really powerful feature that I didn’t fully understand was Custom Post Types. We learnt how to setup a ‘must use plugin’ folder in our theme directory to that no matter whether the user wished to install these plugins or not they came ‘bundled’ with the install which basically just ensures that the functionality moves with the theme rather than requiring to be installed one at a time.
From there we built out several really dope custom post types to help style unique content for the fake university. These include Campuses, Events, Programs, Professors and Notes, each of which you can click around on and check out for yourself. This allows so much more flexibility for the developer to style each kind of post, and for the end user it provides really easy access to extra functionality such as a built in interactive Google Map pin and a Custom Page Banner subtitle/image if need be.
User Generated Content
One thing that really impressed me that I had not seen on a WP Theme before was the ability to give users unique access to create their own content, in this case Uni Notes after logging in. Now, for YOU to see this feature you need to create a login and password, then add some Notes of your own – hopefully I have all of that functionality working properly and you can do this because it demonstrated a few really cool things to me.
First up was the little Log Out Button with my Gravatar, and then of course as a Logged In user the My Notes button becomes active and I can access my own personal Notes.
Stuff Not To Love
This was a really big downer for me, but Brad is nowhere to be seen in the forums on the FAQ or even on Twitter and his owned other channels so this meant my questions and problems became a matter of either trying to Google it to death myself or just not being able to be solved at all.
From what I understand now after doing almost all of this course Gulp and npm can be problematic for even senior developer so I don’t feel that inept about not being able to get them to work, and in fact I did source a great alternative via the awesome Twitter community called CodeKit which turns out to be a very valuable dev tool for a Mac user.
I guess there came a point, and today was it, where I just had to evaluate my own ability and put stuff down for the sake of being able to keep moving.
This is a really great course to build your foundations on understanding how WordPress is put together and how to develop a custom Theme. It has it’s downfalls but overall I still recommend it.
I’ve also told you this already but just to recap I found another highly regarded instructor on Udemy called The Complete Web Developer in 2018 by Andrei Neagoie. I discovered him via an article on Medium where he talked about his journey as a senior developer and his frustration with the volume of courses out there trying to teach web development that fall miserably short so he put this together. I’m pretty excited to see where that takes me as it covers a whole lot of new content and topics that I’m really interested in.
What impressed me even more was that not one day after purchasing the course I received a message in my Udemy inbox from Andrei (clearly scripted but nonetheless) welcoming me to the course and encouraging me to get stuck in and he would be there if I got stuck. Sounds good, let’s do this!
Until next time, stay tuned. Code on.