12/2/2013 50 Day Update

I managed to mess around with type this weekend. I did a test using nothing but Exo and another test with using Exo and Cabin.  I’ve decided I am going to go all in with Exo as my main font for the project. It fits into the science-y feel that I am trying to accomplish.

I started looking at the color pallet that I choose  and so far I have not been happy with the results. I think it might have something to do with the fonts I am using. So it looks likes it’s back to the drawing board.  Ultimately I am trying to go with a retro science feel for the overall theme for the site.

This week i am going to start putting all of the structure of the site together with the type I am going to use. Once everything is done, I’ll circle back around on the color choices.

Lastly, I am still working on my salt-stack/vagrant/WordPress post. Things have slowed to a crawl on it because of the holidays.

11/26/2013 50 Day Update

Work has slowed to a crawl on the project. My mornings have been shot due my son getting up an hour earlier then normal lately.  I worked on documenting my automated WordPress build setup and worked on getting all my scripts up to my Github page. I just need to finish documenting and get it posted.

I have the fonts I am going to use, I picked Exo for the titles and navigation. For the body, I went through a bunch of the fonts and decided that I am going to use Roboto for the body text and see how that works out.  I have a couple of other fonts I’ll be willing to try if it doesn’t work out.

For color scheme, I am going to see if i can work with this pallet I found on dribble. I really like the retro/vintage feel to the colors. I just have to see if they work with the font choices I made.

With the holiday this week I am not sure what i will be able to get done. I am hoping to get some mock ups completed and start actually coding. Because of the time constraints I might just build the full screen version of the site first and ship it, then go back and add the responsive parts later.

11/18/2013 50 Day update

I made a good amount of progress this week on the project:

  • Finalized what the hierarchy of the site is going to be and the type of content. It’s going to be a pretty flat hierarchy as it’s going to be mostly a blog with mostly text based posts with more code snippets then screen shots.
  • Worked on simple wire-frames in my moleskine for how the pages are going to be. Going to move to the next step of mocking up in Sketch/Pixelmator.
  • Worked on getting the development environment set up on my laptop. I have my vagrant+virtual box+WordPress environment ready to go and fully automated. I’ll be posting about this later in the week with linked to my configs at my github page. I still need to get Komodo edit and SQL Developer dialed and we’ll be ready to rock.

Stuff that still needs to get done:

  • Finalize color scheme.
  • Get the font stacks picked out.
  • Finish setting up development environment.

11/11/2013 50 Day update

Monday status report:

I been collecting ideas for awhile using Creattica and Dribbble as sources of inspiration on how I want the basic structure of the site to be. I have come down to doing something that will be a cross between frontendplay and Osvaldas. I like how they are pretty minimal and how they display posts and articles. This goes with my theme of doing something minimal as I do not want to get bogged down with trying to come up with something that has a lot of graphical elements.

This week’s work:

  •  Finalize the hierarchy of the site and what kind of content I will be posting. I have a pretty good idea on what type of content i will have. I just need to finalize and write it down.
  • Start building wire frames in the sketchbook for mobile/tablet/desktop versions of the site.
  • Finalize color scheme, I have several saved in my dribbble buckets I need to decide on.
  • Decide on font stacks, going to mainly stick with ones hosted on Google.
  • Finish setting up development environment on the laptop.

50 Days Left in the Year

Checking my twitter feed this afternoon and I saw this post from Smashing Magazine:

 

50days

 

It really got me thinking about what I wanted to accomplish and how much of that I managed to get done. Looking back, I didn’t manage to get anything done that I wanted to. There are days when I get home from work and my brain is shot from being in the office all day fighting fires or working on projects. This leaves me with nothing left in the tank anymore to work on any outside projects. So instead I catch up on shows, browse Reddit or play video games after the little guy goes to bed.

So my plan is this. I am going to at least get a site redesign done within the next 50 days. I’m going to have a weekly status posts on Monday with the project. I have at least an hour before work each day to work on this and possibly an hour to two during the weekend after the my son goes down for bed and when my wife is working nights. I think I should be able to pull it off by the new year.

My goal is to ship a minimal viable theme out the door by January 1st 2014. I am not going to try and get it accepted into the theme directory or anything. Just enough to launch it live on the site and be functional.

July 2013 update

I have been transitioning to a new role at work and have been pretty busy. Because of this, I don’t have much left in the tank when I get home at night on top of being a dad and husband.

Even though my schedule has been crazy, I am still thinking about the direction of the design and decided to completely scrap it.  I was not liking the way things were coming together and I been really falling in love with flat design lately. So i am going to be starting from scratch and hopefully after i get some inspiration, I am going to start prototyping some stuff.

stay tuned

Site design updates

I been going through a ton of material trying to get an idea on what the website’s new look is going to be. I’ve decided that I want to run with a grunge retro science type style. I’ve also been a fan of the styles individually and I would like to see if i can mash the two together.

For typography I think I narrowed it down to two fonts I want to work with on the site:

League Gothic I am thinking of definitely this in the blog logo for the header. Also it would be good for navigation and post/section title elements.

Droid Sans going to be using this for mostly the body and regular text type stuff. I might play around with this and expand it’s use further once I get going on the type of the site.

For the look and feel of the site I have been cruising Dribbble and searching on key words such as “science”, “retro”, and even the names of the fonts I selected to get some ideas on how I can incorporate these elements into my design. I have a pretty good collection curated, so now it’s time to go through and pick out what I want to use or dont use.

2013 Action Plan

So I am well into 2013 already and I started working on an action plan of sorts to what I want to get accomplished this year.

Codecademy

I am currently going through the Javascript and Web Fundamentals tracks right now. Once I get those completed, I would like to go through the Ruby, Projects, JQuery and API’s tracks by the end of the year.

Site Redesign

I’ve decided that I am going to use the WP-Flex by Gray Ghost Visuals   as my base for the new theme. Dennis has a done a good job of making a nice responsive template to work with while adhering to WordPress’s requirements/standards for submitting to their theme repository. It only makes sense to use this as a base. Plus Dennis is a local guy if I have any questions!

Ruby

My ruby learning is on hold at this time till I get all the web stuff I want done completed. Once I start back up again I want to finish my idea for a simple Yahtzee game written in Ruby. I also have some ideas for a rails app I would like to create. Stay tuned for that!

Sketching

I am going to start doing a Draw 365 type thing where I will try and bust out at least one drawing/sketch a day for an entire year. I’ll be sure to post a Draw 365 set to my flickr account when i start that up.

WordCamp Buffalo Trip Report

A couple of weeks ago I was very fortunate to attend the very first Wordcamp conference in Buffalo New York. For those of you who do not know what Wordcamp is, it is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress and is geared for all different types of users and skill levels.

The conference was organized/staffed by the people from the local Buffalo WordPress users group and it was held at Canisius College’s Lyons’ Hall. Tickets were limited and the conference sold out shortly before the event.  It had two tracks, one for just normal every day users and the other was a more advanced developer track. I had opted to stick with the developer track topics through out the day so that’s what I am going to be focusing on.

The first lecture of the day was by Dennis Gaebel from Gray Ghost Visuals who’s talk was titled “Building for the Theme Directory“. Dennis went through what best practices were for coding a theme to be included in WordPress’s online theme directory. He also went through on what to expect while trying to get accepted and even provided a great wordpress starter theme to use as a base for creating themes called WP-Flex .

The next lecture I attended was titled “Taking the Intimidation out of plugin development” by Jen Witkowski and Dan Rabb. What I liked about this lecture was how Jen and Dan talked about their experiences of developing a wordpress plugin for the first time and what led them to go down that path in extending the jigoshop wordpress plugin for their needs.

After the lunch break I attended a talk by Sam Hotchkiss on “WordPress as a Web App Framework“. This talk was way over my head but at the same time was very awesome. Sam went through on why you could use WordPress as a framework to building web applications and talked about some of the things he did in order to create web applications with it. You can chalk this out as one of those “holy crap I didn’t know you can do that with wordpress” type things.

The last talk of the day I attended was John B. Hartly’s talk on “Responsible Responsiveness” which talked about building responsive sites in wordpress. John had a ton of great resources on starting out with RWD and what some best practices were. Also “Responsive design is a privilege, not a right”.

One of the highlights of the day was sitting in on a talk/demo that Canisius Professor Ben Dunkle did on developing the icons being used in some parts of the admin area of WordPress. It was so frigging cool that he sat there and busted out Photoshop and literally went through the whole process on how he created some of the icons being used. It showed me how much I suck at Photoshop and I really need to see if he has the slides available.

Overall it was a pretty awesome day, got to meet some new people and I huge shout out to Chris Van Patten, Andy Staple and the rest of the Buffalo WordPress user group people for putting on this event. I am seriously looking forward to next one.

Site updates 7/19/2012

Been a long time since I’ve done any updates, but just wanted to give a quick update on where I am at with things.

  • My wordpress plugin is on hold right now, not sure when I am going to pick it up back up at this point. There are other things I want to do first.
  • Move the site from being hosted on Darkscape to Linode running on a CentOS 6 VPS, I wanted something which I had more control over. I’ve been with Darkscape for 10 years and Rob does a good job of keeping things running over there.
  • Working on mock ups for a new template/logo for the site. I’ve had one mockup I was working on, but decided I hated it and starting over. I’m still coming up with logo concepts.