11-Jan-2022

This is the first post on what will get built out into a blog and larger portfolio.

I'd moved on from all the blockchain certification stuff I was into starting late 2019 with the Blockstack 'Zero To Dapp' course.

I even got the T-Shirt!
By Jan 2021 I'd finally passed the JS for Blockchain course, having worked my way through Ivan On Tech's blockchain academy programs that year, which felt pretty good. I'd come to a halt half way through and realised I needed to go back to the start and do the Full Stack from a foundational level, right from the very start.

I had set up with the WP 2020 theme, customised it as much as I could, and then did the same with the 2021 theme. I published a now defunct podcast about Cardano blockchain but this was not getting me any closer to actually coding.

I'd got as far as I could with whatever CSS I could add onto the base templates, and realised that although I'd completed various coding courses and grokked quite a lot of principles, I still couldn't say that I was coding, and I was nowhere near able to produce good looking functional websites for a living.

It became clear that to get a portfolio I would have to buy a site builder and try to grapple with that whole setup. This led to a Siteground account, and using Divi as a sitebuilder. My goal, however, had become to learn the full stack and then specialise, not learn the principles and then get lost grappling with a WYSIWYG while paying through the nose for services.

A long term goal is to fully grok how WP works, and I must say, using it for a year and looking at all the internal parts - looking at how you build WP themes is perfect for this deconstructive type of approach. I did the PHP foundations just recently and am now getting a good feel for the dynamics of how php is used to produce the WP experience. Im slowly gearing up now to tackle the self-build CRUD/CMS type thing.

For my own work, it became clear that I needed to find a cost-effective model for hosting multiple sites, and I needed to become expert in up-to-date CSS & HTML, and implement best practices from that, and then move on to deeper php in order to be able to create bespoke blog sites, or whatever type of db interaction using MySqli/MyPhP I want - be it magazine or product gallery or job site any other design - and be able to delve into any part of the WP engine and pull out what I need, or alter what I need etc.

In the short term, I wanted to recode all my sites by hand. So I jettisoned Divi and with a SiteGround renewal rapidly approaching, I had a deadline.

As you move forward in the first year or two, it's easy to forget what you just learned - and at the very least, until you set up your IDE and customise it and are actually coding every day, you're just 'learning to code'. You're not building up muscle memory yet, or becoming a coder. I can see why some don't make that jump. A milestone for me recently was having to print out the Emmet shorthand index - needs musts!

All my sites are now in various stages of experimentation - now on Hostinger using their custom cPanel, and at an extremely affordable rate for a multi site solution. Six times cheaper than SiteGround! This was a great experience in moving hosts, as well as moving DNS and seeing the various limitations and panels of DNS providers.

I've completed the PHP foundations, and can now see how it all works. Next steps include building them all out with various complexities as I go - sometimes front end - I'm fully focussed on CSS at the moment - but I'm gearing up to complete all the form validation, basic CMS building, a WP theme, and so on in order to really start throwing PHP around.

I'm still using Stefan Mishook's StudioWeb as a core foundation builder but I spin off into huge amounts of YouTube grazing when I need to - I'm spending most of my time with Kevin Powell's excellent modern CSS approaches at the moment, as well as the CSS Podcast. I'll move onto frameworks (like Laravel) when I'm ready.