Coding and Clients and Hashtags, oh my!

This week I started to work on my Javascript, attended a Launch Event for a recent Code for America Brigade project, and continued to wrap up one client site while starting another. It was quite a week.


Last month I used a one month subscription to [Code School]( “Code School”) that I had saved and completed a couple jQuery courses along with everything they had for HTML and CSS. I enjoyed the jQuery but I felt I should go back to the beginning and learn Javascript before I continue further. I picked up an eBook by Stoyan Stefanov titled “Object-Oriented Javascript.” I’ve made it through the first couple chapters and I like the hands on approach as well as the detailed examples from Stefanov. Most of the work has been done in the browsers console and my biggest achievement so far was creating a multiplication table with a loop. It’s not much, but it’s a nice beginning and got me excited to create something.

var res = '\n';
for(var i = 1; i < 10; i++) {
	for(var j = 1; j < 10; j++) {
		res += (i * j) + ' ';
	res+= '\n';

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 
3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 
4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 
6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 
7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 
8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 
9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 

It’s pretty basic, but it’s my first instance of being given a problem to solve that returns more than just a single answer. I tried to clean up the table and add a preceding zero before all the single digit numbers but I didn’t have enough time to get that working. I’m guessing a function that checks if the number is 9 or less would be the way to go, so I continue to work on that and hopefully mention it in a future post.

While I worked through the first two chapters my friend recommended I try out [Code Academy]( “Code Academy”). I had heard of it but hadn’t checked out the site yet. It reminded me a lot of Code School with the mini courses and then a challenge section where you have to type out your responses to get the right answer. The questions were easier than code school, and not as many of them, but it is free so it’s hard to complain too much. I think it will make a good companion to Stefanov’s book. At the very least if anything is too confusing I’ll be able to see another point of view.

With some luck and a lot of devoted time I will make my way towards learning Javascript.

Client Projects

This year we’ve had a good number of web projects to keep us busy. In most of the projects I have learned a great deal along the way. I have a few more projects we are about to get started on but I wanted to talk about the most recent site.

We needed to create a membership site that for a local organization that allowed members to register and pay their dues online, as well as sign up and pay for the various events throughout the year. We build all our sites on WordPress so I started my research into what plugins would function not only the best for what we needed, but also work together. After trying out a lot of demo and free versions I came up with using s2member for the membership side and Events Manager Pro to handle the events. There were others that offered a few more features, but these two had everything the client needed. The best part is they integrate well, allowing for various membership levels to have access to the events and purchase tickets at their membership discount.

There were some difficulties along the way, but for the most part the two plugins work very well. Our main hiccup was making the navigation and user registration as simple as possible to not loose anyone along the way. I’d like to go more in depth about my experience with these plugins, their capabilities, and software support, but that will take a longer blog post to cover everything. For now I will say they work well together to create a membership event driven site.

SacHashtag Project

I recently joined the local Code For America brigade, Code4Sac. It is really fueling my drive to become a better coder and giving me the opportunity to connect with others in my area. I’ve only been attending for six weeks so I got in on the end of one project that just launched this last Sacramento Hashtag Project is about creating a hyper local scene among twitter hashtags. To get people involved and discussing what is going on in their community. I only helped with the basic web site landing page, that is now down, but also converted much of this information into an about page to support the site.

Working on a team was a very different environment, and required a quick crash course in git. I’ve been using git for my own version control, but it’s much different when you’re the only one making commits. After a few false starts I was able to contribute to the team. I hope to contribute more for other projects, not just in the web development that I’m used to, but also implementing new skills and ideas to the group.

On Wednesday they held a launch party at a local brewery, “New Helvetia Brewing”, and invited members of the community to attend and learn about the project. We began with only four community hashtags and hope to expand as people use them more often. The project seemed well received, and I think will grow quickly.

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