Monday, May 2, 2011

orange fingers

Remember how I talked about using this software called Drupal to design my awesome interactive website so I don't have to write any actual computer code?

Well, turns out there were some pretty specific things I needed my website to do that could only be done by writing code in Drupal. Which seems to defeat the whole purpose of using Drupal to not write code. (I don't really need to go into all this detail. I just like saying the word Drupal in my head. ... (drupal) ...).

So I have abandoned my Drupal project and now have 3 text files on my hard drive: .html, .css, and .js. Html and css aren't strictly code, more like Microsoft Word for the internet - ways of displaying text in pretty ways. Okay, maybe Microsoft Word is a bad example. Can you ever get images and tables in Word to display how you want them to?

But .js is really code. Nothing hard core, a kind of simple man's code. My particular code makes an accordion menu (see example - not mine, someone else's that looks prettier). Now I'm just a bag of Cheetos, a Coke, and an oversized black T-shirt printed with my favorite WOW avatar away from being a real programmer. I'd probably have to turn off the lights in my room and just work from the glow of this laptop, too.

(My apologies for blatantly stereotyping coders. After trying to dive into your world, I have deep respect for what you do. And I like Cheetos.)

After spending a few weeks building this site, I have to admit that web design is really quite fun. And in my opinion, you only need three things to get started.

1. bookmarked on your browser. This is my absolute go-to guide for learning the basics of web design. Their tutorials are quick and teach you the essential scaffolding of whatever language you're using (html, css, etc) so you can build up from there very easily.

2. A starter template (downloadable html and css files) created by someone else. Go to for a simple, clean beginning. Check out this somewhat dated but useful article for a list of more interested and slightly more complicated templates.

3. A real person who you can go to with questions when you're tired of trying to find answers from computers. Abe has been this person for me. I can try to be this person to you, but may actually get my answers from Abe and then relay them back to you. Really, the answers aren't nearly as important as the human contact. I cannot stress this enough.


Megan said...

Very nice. I think that many programmers have problems with #3--the human contact part.

Jen said...

Kudos for jumping into something new! I love how so many people have put tutorials and how-to help online. I often wonder how we found answers to questions before the internet, I guess we forced more often into human contact.

Dawn said...

Without the human contact part I would have crashed and burned way more than I did (and I did a lot) in that last web design class I took. Made it out with only the clothes I was wearing as it was.