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My philosophy E-mail
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 16:43

I believe it is not beneficial to reinvent the wheel - except for the purpose of learning.  There's no better way to learn something than to do it yourself, even if it's been done a thousand times before.

Having said that, I believe leveraging existing resources and exploiting the knowledge and expertise of others is a great way to avoid reinventing the wheel.  If I need some functionality and someone has already developed a solution, I don't see why I should spend time reworking what someone has already worked out (and is willing to share with others).  This is why much of what I post here contains a link to another site or sites where I came across the information I found useful and wanted to share.  Again, this only applies on the application side.  If I'm learning a new skill, there's no better way than to do it myself.

I believe in open-source software, especially when it's as thorough and well-built as some of the ones I've used: Joomla!, WordPress, Eclipse, Paint.NET, among others.  I don't understand why someone would spend hundreds or thousands on a proprietary system when there's a great community-supported one already out there.  Instead, developers working on those projects could perhaps spend their efforts extending the abilities of these open-to-everyone platforms.

I believe in:

  • simple
  • open
  • light
  • functional

My portfolio can be viewed here.


I love this line of work for one reason above all: creativity.  I am not gifted with paint and sketch-pencil like some people, but nonetheless I have creative ideas buzzing around my head almost all the time, even when I'm asleep.  It's a great joy to bring those inner visions out to see myself and share with others.

It's amazing that the only thing limiting me in today's world is my ability to only learn a limited number of skills at any given time - a limitation every human being has.  The internet has brought within easy reach hundreds of tutorials, podcasts, and screencasts on every imaginable technology out there, so that if you're eager enough you can learn pretty much anything you want - even skills outside the world of technology.  It's discouraging that I'm only human, otherwise I would have learned everything there is to know already!  But that's what keeps me going, seeing what little I've done so far, and how much more there is I can do.



 
Grievances/questions about Joomla E-mail
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 14:29

As I work with Joomla, I'm compiling a list of questions and grievances I'm having with it.  So far I've got:

  • The Javascript pop-up feature built into the MCE editor doesn't seem to work.  When I enter information there and save the article, the link reverts to a normal link.
  • It doesn't seem possible, in the MCE editor, to specify a custom class for an object (such as an image).  I can do it directly via the HTML code, but I thought since the feature is offered it should be comprehensive.
  • It doesn't seem possible to assign a custom class to only one link within a menu.  For example, I want one link to be black while the rest can be orange in accordance with the theme.  Again, it can be done directly via code (I think), but not through the GUI interface.


 
Giving credit E-mail
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 00:38

I believe in giving credit where it's due to the hard work of others, so I wanted to briefly list where I got the elements of this web page's design from:

  • The background splatter pattern came from KeepDesigning.com.  I took one of the patterns on the sheet and modified the colors.  That's it.
  • The template is the default template Joomla! comes with, rhuk_milkyway.  I made some minor modifications, like removing elements and changing some colors.  I'm very impressed with the thorough and hard work the designer of this theme did.  They offered a convenient menu to select different colors for both background and foreground.  Well done.
  • The header graphic is something I put together in Inkscape.


 
Invaluable tools - design E-mail
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 18:16

These are a few tools I find invaluable for web design:

Graphics

  • Inkscape - free open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator.  Though maybe not as powerful, it serves the basic needs I have for vector design.
  • Paint.NET - open-source alternative to Photoshop.  This one is especially not as powerful as Photoshop, but I find it great for resizing images, converting into and out of PNG, JPG, and GIF formats, and making stylistic modifications to images I receive from others.

Debugging

  • Firebug - this is a great extension for Firefox, especially for CSS debugging.  The "Inspect" mode lets you see just which properties apply to any element.  I only wish it extended to JavaScript effects such as hover, because those are the elements I find most tricky to style.

CSS

Here is a list of tools I find invaluable for the development side of things.



 
Invaluable tools - development E-mail
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 18:16

These are a few tools I find invaluable for web development:

  • Microsoft Expression Web 2 - admittedly not as powerful as Dreamweaver, but I wanted to try it just because everyone is using Dreamweaver.  So far I've found it to be pretty good.  I haven't really touched the server-side features (ASP.NET and PHP), but from what little I've used of PHP scripting, it's nowhere nearly as comprehensive as what Dreamweaver offers.  Still, for overall design and coding, it's not a bad program.
  • wamp - works flawlessly out-of-the-box for local testing of LAMP-based sites
  • CoreFTP Lite - The only FTP client I've used for the last few years.  It's free, and it serves me perfectly.

Here is a list of tools I find invaluable for the design side of things.



 
Day 1 with Joomla E-mail
Monday, 17 November 2008 22:32

What I've learned:

  • Joomla comes bundled with Mootools
  • Sections > Categories > Articles

What I've done:

  • Set up a loose hierarchy of sections and categories
  • Picked up a template online to see how changing templates works in Joomla

What I would like to do:

  • Add Ajax functionality to the site, using either Mootools or JQuery
  • Apparently Prototype/Scriptaculous is not a good way to go because it conflicts with Mootools
  • Customize the template I'm using or create a new one, but that's a slightly more long-term project

What I'm wondering:

  • Is it Joomla! or Joomla?


Tags: Joomla  Mootools  Jquery  Ajax  template  
 
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