Pixelist Blog

I hope you enjoy my posts! This is a simple blog inside the Pixelist site and also, for those who are interested in the technical side, shows how you can integrate a wordpress-hosted site inside a regular html website.

Please feel free to leave comments!

WordPress Nay!

By pixelista on Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 in Coding, General. No Comments

Having been won round to the joys of designing WordPress templates recently, I was rather taken aback when talking to a potential client about a redesign of their non-responsive website. For those of you wondering a ‘responsive’ website is one that works just as well on a phone as it does on a desktop computer. It doesn’t need several versions of the same website to do this, just a skill in coding that involves certain coding tools like ‘media queries’ and grids. The finished effect is a website that morphs into a smaller version of itself every time it becomes too big to work on the device it’s being viewed on, and in such a way that it’s unmistakably the same website right through.

I love designing responsive website – it’s part of the reason I work with the ‘Bootstrap’ framework. A framework is a collection of code that gives a developer a solid foundation to build a responsive website on (confusingly another popular framework is actually called ‘Foundation’…) I love crafting the site so that it morphs almost imperceptibly but remains perfectly functioning right from the biggest to the smallest screen.

That’s why it was a bit of a shock when this client recounted how their designer had insisted that the only way to get their website working in such a way was to completely redesign it using WordPress. This designer may have had their reasons, I concede – but I can’t actually think of what they might have been. It’s a passion of mine to take old html websites and convert them into responsive ones using the original files as much as possible, and recreating the design with a few tweaks to modernise it and bring it into 2015…but I’d certainly never suggest that there was only one way to do it. I don’t like to undermine other designers, but on this occasion, I really couldn’t not say that.

So, for anyone wondering, if someone tries to charge you thousands of pounds to start your website from scratch just so it works on iphones…I (very tactfully) suggest that you find a new designer…!

WordPress Yay!

By pixelista on Saturday, March 7th, 2015 in Coding. No Comments

Well, wordpress has never been my favourite platform I have to confess. I’m a fan of good old html and css and wordpress has always seemed to be a bit of a DIY tool to me – too many templates and not enough chance to customise.

But…I’ve just finished the latest of my training courses “bootstrap to wp” on treehouse (training website teamtreehouse.com) and I’ve also successfully designed a template that makes my blog look just like the rest of my website, and I’m beginning to see the attraction! WordPress is such a good Content Management System – it can’t be denied, (in other words it gives website owners an easy way to edit text on their websites without bothering – and paying – their web designers) and despite my best efforts, I just haven’t found anything that works as well for CMS. So discovering, slowly and painstakingly, how to design my own wordpress templates feels like a real achievement!

I guess I will no longer be steering clients away from one of the most popular platforms out there…and I’m quite looking forward to my first major website entirely in wordpress – as long as I don’t have to use one of their templates…

Never too old to code!

By pixelista on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 in Coding. No Comments

Well, a year and several sets of chewed nails, 2am finishes and crises of confidence later I am finally ready to launch the website for my own web development company.  It’s the first website I wrote entirely in Sublime 2 (a code writing application) instead of using Dreamweaver, the well-known WYSIWYG web design application and my right hand tool for the few years I’ve been designing websites for family and friends.  And I’ve recently discovered I love to code.

Nothing too strange about that you might think, but I’m not a teenage geek, raised with code on my school curriculum.  I’m not a whizz kid computer science student just starting out on my career.  I’m a fifty-something mum and grandma, and until a few years ago I made my career as an Arts Consultant and Manager, running festivals and events, advising Arts Organisations and DJing & dancing salsa.  In fact I think I might be the least likely coder on the block!

And it hasn’t been easy.  Code really is another language – actually it’s many languages and I certainly haven’t mastered all, or even many of them.  In fact I’m still struggling with Javascript and Ruby, but I’m getting there.  And for the first time in the year or so I’ve been studying (part time while caring for my 3 year old grandson) I’ve started to realise that I’m really enjoying making a website using HTML5 and CSS3 in particular, and Javascript too.

I’m starting to see that the code I’m writing has it’s own pattern and contour.  Not only can I see the website taking shape through the code, but the code is creative in

itself.  I love the way that it is organised on the page, indented and spaced so that it forms a rhythm that changes and moves as it develops.  It’s almost like writing a song sometimes – like crafting the verses and the choruses and the breaks.  And when I look at the overview pane of Sublime, with the characters so small that all you can see are the blocks of code and the spaces and indentations, I love the seeing the unique shape and flow of the code – like an abstract print.

Maybe it’s too many late nights…or maybe I’m seeing beauty and creativity in code because I couldn’t spend my life doing something that is so removed from my earlier passions of art and culture.  But I don’t think so – I think that code does have it’s own aesthetic.  I think I can ‘draw’ a website using it rather than just ‘code’ that website.  And with that realisation comes a new passion. I find that when I sit at my computer to write the world disappears and I’m absorbed completely by what is taking shape on my screen.

I love writing code!