General Assembly

Recently, I got some intriguing direct messages from Nick, a friend of mine from the D.C. Sass meetup. He told me that one of General Assembly’s WordPress instructors hadn’t worked out, and wanted to know if I’d be interested in teaching a class about once a month or so. It sounded intriguing, so I followed up with GA.

What quickly unfolded was a tremendous opportunity. Starting in April, I’ll be teaching WordPress for developers classes and bootcamps. The first will be a two-hour evening class on April 23, and will focus on creating child themes for WordPress. I think this would be a good introduction for front-end developers to get a taste of the WordPress development world.

Then in June, I’ll follow this up with a two-day weekend bootcamp on building custom WordPress themes and plugins using all the development best practices we’ve established at RP3 Agency. This will be an intensive dive into the WordPress world, and we’ll get into topics like using a starter theme (_s, of course), building with Vagrant, Sass, Gulp.js, etc.

The plan for now is to teach each of these courses (the evening course and the bootcamp) about once a quarter, #ParentingLife permitting. Of course, there’s a drawback in all of this. In preparing for these upcoming courses, I’ll likely have to take a break on speaking at WordCamps for the time being. There’s just not the time to prepare for a new WordCamp talk, while simultaneously preparing for these classes and managing my other projects and commitments.

RP3 Agency has been a long-time partner with General Assembly, and while this opportunity didn’t come directly from that relationship, I still see it as a great next step to work together to help produce more great developers in the Washington, D.C. community. I’m excited to be a part of this.

Washington Area Women’s Foundation

I’m super-excited to share the latest launch by RP3 Agency: The Washington Area Women’s Foundation website.

This website launch is the culmination of nearly a year of close collaboration with the client, extensively reimagining their outdated website and delivering a clean, modern and responsive new site.

Additionally, the new site is built on WordPress, leveraging the platform’s strengths as a full-featured content management system. My goal as the technical lead of the project was to deliver a site that not only was more pleasing and easy to use for visitors, but easier and more intuitive to manage for our clients.

In coming days and weeks I’ll be sharing more about the structure of the site: how we created a flexible content entry system yet maintained simplicity in the entry fields; our use of technologies such as Backbone.js to improve site performance, and how we architected the front end with Sass, Breakpoint and Susy grids.

My sincerest thanks to everyone on the team who made this site possible:

  • Jared Arrington
  • Suriporn Bridge
  • Bryan Cox
  • Mark Lovett
  • Kat Piscatelli
  • Allison Rinaldi
  • Kurt Roberts
  • Julie Smith
  • Deanna Steers
  • Lauren Turner

Way to go, team!

Picturefill.js + WordPress

Matt Marquis, chair of the Responsive Images Community Group, asked on Twitter:

Anyone know whether picture/Picturefill support is officially in the works for WordPress? Could swear I saw something about that once.
https://twitter.com/wilto/status/468442998809051136

There’s no official, native support for the <picture> element (or its polyfill) in WordPress, and the Picturefill.js script is not included in the WordPress distribution (like jQuery is), but you can use both the <picture> element along with Picturefill.js in your WordPress theme today, if you’re not afraid of a little custom theming. We’ll follow the instructions for using Picturefill.js by Scott Jehl for our actual <picture> element markup.

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Don’t Trap Me In Your Website

Social media gurus (insert the level of snark you wish) will tell you that “hashtags are all the rage” and “retweet everything so people know what you believe in.”

They’ll also tell you that the kindest thing you can do to the lovely people who have taken the time and effort to find your site is to trap you there with links that only open external windows and tabs.

But why? I ask. What rationale, other than vanity, is suitable to compel visitors to never “leave” your website?

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Shop Talk Show & New Speaking Gig

Shop Talk Show

My Shop Talk Show appearance is in the feed! I cannot thank Dave and Chris enough for having me on. I had so much fun, and they made me feel very, very welcome. Check it out!

Sassy DC

My newest meetup addiction has been Sassy DC. Welch and Una run an excellent monthly meetup where we get to talk about all things Sass. They’ve been kind enough to invite me to talk at an upcoming meetup, so on May 7 I’ll be presenting about Sass data types and control structures. If you’re in D.C., and want to learn about some of the things that make Sass more like a real programming language (such as looping through arrays and the like), come on out! Details to come.

Is Building a Non-Blog Website with WordPress a Hack?

Did I mention that I listen to a lot of podcasts? Of course I did. So last week I was listening to the latest episode of Happy Monday, a web design podcast hosted by Sarah Parmenter and Josh Long and featuring guest Colin Devroe. During the course of it, Sarah expressed her belief that using WordPress for anything other than a blog was “a hack.”

Continue reading “Is Building a Non-Blog Website with WordPress a Hack?”