Tag Archives: Joomla

The value in experience

Happy (belated) Independence Day!

It’s been a lovely weekend here in Brummerland.  We managed to slow down the pace quite a bit and pursue some interests as well as fun for a few days.  Besides taking Luke to the pool and playing with his new set of “Crystal Climbers,”  I’ve had some solid time to do some “research and development” for a House on Payne project.

It’s great that I was able to work on this project this weekend, because it’s totally new and I have a lot to learn.  I’ve mentioned I’m using Joomla for a redesign project, and I’ve been busy reading and learning everything I can about the platform.  This weekend, I dived into making a custom template for my client.

I know I could have modified an existing template, much like what I’ve done with WordPress templates for my blogs, but I have designs on doing custom Joomla templates in the future, and now seemed like the perfect time to learn.  My client also happens to be a friend (a very patient friend, I should add), and he’s willing to let me experiment.

I tell you, the experience I’m getting is one of the most valuable things I could have invested in.  I’m confident it will pay me back positively in more ways than I can imagine.

On a related note, I was just taking stock of the past month — my first as a freelancer/full-time business owner/ full-time web designer-developer.  I realized I have learned more in the past month about myself, my craft and my business than I learned in the previous 3 years.

That’s really something.  I’m just so excited to be pursuing projects that really stretch my imagination, my abilities and my mind — it’s nice to be in charge of my own destiny.

Get some!

The only source of knowledge is experience.

Albert Einstein

Future PHP pro — who me?

I mentioned my my last post that I signed up for a PHP study group through geekAustin.  Last night was the first meeting.

It’s going to be a little different than I thought.  It’s every week — not just once every two weeks.  And we agreed to a small fee per class in order to pay for the space (we’re meeting at a place called Cospace).  It’s a nominal fee, so that doesn’t bother me.

I was VERY intimidated.  I DON’T own a laptop.  It’s not something I can justify as an expense right now, and, as a result, I was almost the only person there without a laptop.  For the next meeting — this is so embarrassing — I have to borrow Luke’s laptop.  Yes, you read that right — Luke’s.  It was a gift from his uncle.

The first session was mainly a planning/getting-to-know-what-you-need sort of session.  We reviewed a little HTML, which I thought was weird, but there’s nothing wrong in refining and reviewing your skills. Then we talked a little about PHP, its history and other similar programming languages (which I’ll go into in a future post).

The people there seem really into Drupal and WordPress.  No one bad-mouthed Joomla, but I got the feeling there might have been some odd looks if I told them I was there because I’m working with Joomla.  I don’t know — it was a feeling.

Despite the rough start, I’m kind of excited.  It feels informal enough to be interesting and challenging without being a pressure-cooker.  Bear with me, because I may share some of what I learn here.  Teaching is the best way to internalize information.

Filling my brain: Study group and required reading

I know and use XHTML and CSS really well.  I’m using Javascript pretty well with the help of jQuery.  What I don’t know very well is PHP.

Why should this matter?  Well, for one, I’m the type of person that needs constant challenge, both mentally and physically, and learning new stuff falls right into that.  Secondly, I’m starting to develop a site that will be served by Joomla!

The open-source content management system is really not that hard to use, but I want to develop a custom template for this client, and I see myself doing so down the line for future clients, and I’m not satisfied with taking a read-made template and hacking at it.  The templates use PHP, and I want to understand what I’m doing.

That’s why I signed up for a PHP study group through geekAustin.  It’s geared for beginners, and I could really use some peer motivation.  I mean, I could read a book, but this way I can meet some new people and get out of the house.  The first meeting is Monday evening.

I’ve been doing some Joomla tutorials online, but I really like having books I can pull off the shelf anytime and read anywhere.  I picked up Joomla! 1.5: A User’s Guide by Barrie M. North.  So far, so good.  I’ll keep you up-to-date on my progress.  So far, everything makes sense.  It’s just putting these new ideas into practice — that will be the hard part.