Evolution of CSS: Becoming a CSS Composer

I have been coding CSS almost daily for over 10 years. I don’t say that to try and establish supremacy, but merely to give some context to the subsequent observations. There are quite a few days I still feel more like a CSS poser.

Keeping with the Non-Traditional Traditions

I received my degree from a private liberal arts college, but only after a large and intentional vacation from formal education after high school. The college had a non-traditional, experimental program that was typically advertised toward “returning adults,” and this is where I chose to finally continue my formal education. It allowed me to not necessarily have a major, but a “focus” in communications, and specifically, an “interdisciplinary program with courses in multimedia theory and design.” So I was able to dabble a little in graphic design, 3D animation, music theory, and multimedia computer programming. This is where I was introduced to HTML, CSS, and Flash.

(Note: I did not take any computer science classes, which would have probably pointed me in a different trajectory career-wise. Instead, I was more fascinated with the visual, as opposed to the computational disciplines.)

It can be easy (although probably no easier than any other excuse) to have Imposter Syndrome when your formal education is founded on a multi-disciplinary degree, i.e. Jack of all trades, master of none. However, as some have pointed out…

“Learning isn’t a zero-sum activity.”

The Myth of the Myth of the Unicorn Designer” by Thomas Cole

Code Is Poetry

My first few jobs heavily involved HTML, CSS, and Flash, of course, as well as dabbling in many other languages and systems. However, I quickly gravitated toward WordPress when I was tasked to research alternative content management systems (CMS) for a state college. I started to become familiar with all the concepts that made up a good and bad CMS and was able to research where each private and open source solution lie on the feature vs cost spectrum. I became passionate about the idea of open source software, and WordPress was, and still is, at the forefront.

Code is poetry.

Today, the WordPress tagline “code is poetry” has become a mantra in my everyday work. So much of what we, as Front-End Developers, write relies on syntax, logic, and structure. Also, good code (as there is plenty of bad code and poetry) requires elegance and simplicity. The meaning with code and poetry can be both on the surface and simultaneously abstract.

Enough About ME!

So why am I giving you my entire bio? Because again, I think it is important to providing context to why I’m fascinated and passionate about composing CSS. In the upcoming posts, I’ll cover some key points along the history of CSS to try and demonstrate where I see CSS evolving. Remember, writing code is a multi-disciplinary venture, and one should never stop learning.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series:

  • Evolution of CSS – Part II: CSS Class Naming Conventions
  • Evolution of CSS – Part III: Overview of Tachyons

How to Migrate a Widget to a Custom Post Type

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Recently, one of my favorite themes, Zerif Lite, was suspended from the WordPress repo. As I was reading about the issues involved, it got me thinking: Just how hard is it to migrate a widget to a Custom Post Type? According to ThemeIsle, this was one of the factors which led to their decision, arguing that “changing this in an existing theme means that whoever’s currently using it will get their site messed up.” Let me be clear: I refuse to take sides here, as there are valid points from both parties, so let’s leave the drama somewhere else. For now, let’s move forward and do something productive. Let’s migrate those old widgets.
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How to Download FTP Files in WordPress

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Recently, I was given the opportunity to work on a really cool importing project that involved us pulling data from an FTP server and importing that into WordPress. It led me to look deeper into the Filesystem API; WordPress does this already, and I wanted to learn more.
There’s a couple of hurdles you have to get over if you’re not familiar with file manipulations, so let’s jump into it, and hopefully I can show you some neat tricks!

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Free Webinar: Turn Your WordPress Site Into a Mobile App

Wow, where does the time go? It has already been two months since our previous webinar. As you may recall, our CEO, Brad Williams, shared his experience working with WordPress in the enterprise space. The hour-long webinar was filled with great information from Brad and wrapped up with a number of excellent questions from the live audience. It felt just like being at a WordPress conference, except the entire audience was in their PJs (or so we assume! I know I was.).

We had such a great time doing the first webinar, we wanted to turn right around and do it all over again. So mark your calendar: On October 6th, 2016, we’re hosting our next webinar: Your WordPress Site Into a Mobile App, hosted by me, John Hawkins.

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A Change in Five for the Future at WebDevStudios

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For almost two years now, WebDevStudios has been participating in the Five for the Future movement.

During that time we have contributed thousands of hours to the WordPress community across various projects. Contributing to the WordPress community, and open source in general, is at the core of what we do at WDS. We have always been thankful to WordPress for allowing us to do what we love day in and day out, and contributing 5% of our company time back to the project is our way of officially giving back to this awesome community.

When we started participating in Five for the Future, we scheduled two hours per week for each employee. Our standard contribution time was every Monday, from 9 – 11 AM. Overall, this schedule worked great and allowed our team to start the week in a very positive and fun way. We still felt like we could do better, so we have decided to make a change.

Starting this Friday, WebDevStudios will dedicate one full day–the last Friday–of each month as our Five for the Future day!

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Why Enterprise Companies Should Use WordPress: Webinar Debriefing

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Since we’ve been posting about it constantly for the last month, you probably already know that we hosted our first webinar this past Monday. Brad talked about why enterprise companies should use WordPress, and detailed some of the basic misconceptions business owners have about WordPress.

In case you missed it, we have a treat for you!

You can watch it right here and now:

A few highlights:

“A lot of the reasons that WordPress has become so popular–there aren’t really restrictions. You can use it for whatever you want.”

“A lot of people think WordPress can’t handle a large load of traffic. It’s not true. WP can handle millions and millions of hits. Really, the only limitations of what WordPress can handle depends on what your hosting can handle.”

“WordPress is a platform that people can understand how to use. Your team will want to use the tools you provide them and manage the content and manage the media because WordPress makes it easy…If your platform is hard to use, your team won’t want to use it.”

Thank you to all that attended and to those who sent us questions!

We’ll be hosting another webinar, featuring our Director of Products and Pluginize go-to, John, so keep an eye out for more details on that in a few weeks!

Have more questions about the above webinar or topics you’d like to see addressed during one of these? Drop ’em in the comments and let us know! We want your feedback!

Upcoming Event: Why Enterprise Companies Should Use WordPress

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We’ve helped a variety of large companies, many of which are household names, make the move to WordPress. Our experience and passion for WordPress leads us to believe that open source software is the future for enterprise companies.

There are a lot of questions about how this works–how WordPress can scale, why WordPress is the best choice over, say, a proprietary content management system that they’ve had built in-house, and what WordPress is really capable of. We’ve also encountered a lot of misconceptions about what WordPress is and what it can do.

On July 18th, our CEO, Brad Williams, is going to share why WordPress is the best choice for enterprise companies, and talk about our experiences working in the enterprise space. He’s going to share some myths and talk about the realities of WordPress for large, international companies, too!

Whether you’re thinking of bringing your company site over to WordPress, or you’re part of the WordPress community and want to know what concerns enterprise company executives have about WP, you will definitely want to get in on this.

This webinar is completely free, and we’d love for you to join us:

Click here to sign up!

If you have any questions you want answered, please tag them on Twitter with #WebDevinar. Whatever we don’t get to during the Q&A portion of the webinar, we’ll answer in a follow up post.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Helpful Books for Front-End Developers

“Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.” –Patti Smith

There are many great pathways to glean new information out there, whether it be on the web or in a class. Your mileage may vary depending on your learning style or the topic at hand. With the tech industry, evolution often occurs at a faster rate than print media can keep up.

Still, sometimes a good ol’ print version of what you need comes along that earns its place on your bookshelf. Maybe it got there after you heard it mentioned for the tenth time. Maybe it is the book you always find yourself lending out to someone when they want to dip their feet in to a new niche (regardless of the evolution of name-your-favourite-framework-here.js). Maybe it is the book that someone leant to you at a crucial step of your learning. There are brilliant books for front-end developers out there–and they are definitely worth looking over.

A single book won’t be able to provide you with the breadth of information necessary, especially with today’s multi-dimensional coding ecosystems. Often, books cite wonderfully curated online resources so you are able to use their foundation as a jumping off point for knowledge expansion.

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