WithLoveFrom.us Blog: Recent Events

A summary of what I've done each week

More Express - April 29

I've returned to my course work and am working on some exercises which use variables in URLs and data structures in JavaScript to fill out parts of a webpage using ejs templates, which are like html pages except they allow data to be passed into them which can then be written into the page. This is the kind of logic that will allow a webpage to search a database for matching entries and display them.

Pokemon Generator - April 22

I took the past three weeks away from my web development course, but I was not taking a break from programming. I have been working on the logic to make a random character generator in JavaScript for a friend of mine who is using a new tabletop system where all the characters are Pokemon.

So far, the generator does not have a display at all and can only be used via a browser's console tool. However, given the right commands, it will randomly generate a new pokemon of a level specified, with a randomly selected species (from a currently limited list). It will invest statistic points randomly, respecting a maximum of 6 points in any one stat for the first level and then choosing freely for subsequent levels. It will return the pokemon as an object with level, hit points and stats. Another command will randomly choose a number of feats, making sure that the prerequisites for each one are met by the pokemon, and adds them to the pokemon object as well.

The logic for the feats has been the most challenging. Every feat has three levels of mastery, so a pokemon can take the same feat up to three times and get better and better at it. That meant I needed my logic to allow the random selector to choose a feat it had already picked and check whether the next level could be learned. My final version allows any number of feats to be called for, and will report that there are no more feats in the list that the pokemon can learn (after adding all that they are eligible for and reporting how many were actually assigned) if the number is too high.

I am proud of my work on this project. It is the most complex thing I have made in JavaScript yet.

Using Express - April 1

Continuing my back end programming studies, I am now starting to use Express, a useful package or library for serving webpages from a server.

I am learning how to write the logic behind URLs and what page to display when a particular URL is entered at my domain. I am also learning how to make part of the URL into a variable keyword that I can use in the response. This explains a lot about how long URLs full of details work.

Node JS - March 25

I'm starting to learn how to use Node JS, using a virtual developer environment called GoormIDE: IDE for Integrated Development Environment because Goorm installs a suite of tools and sets up a little virtual workshop for you. There are other sites for this too.

I learned how to use npm, the Node package manager, to install a library to use in my own app. Npm is apparently one of the biggest reasons programmers like Node, because it only takes one line and the correct name to fetch and install something the package manager recognizes and there are thousands of available packages to use.

Choosing Direction - March 18

My original predicted end point for this project in web design was in the end of February. I have been considering my priorities, and so far, while I want to complete my web development course, finishing this website and making it work as a store is not going to be a big priority for me for now. I need to focus on trying to figure out employment.

This means updates to this site will be infrequent, and I may skip weeks in this blog when I have not worked on my programming course.

This week, I began the back end section of web development bootcamp and practiced using the command line. It reminded me of using MS-DOS when I was a child; I am familiar with some of the commands, so I have a little head start.

Patatap Clone Complete - March 11

The Patatap clone exercise is complete. I have nothing else in web development to report this week, although I have met with someone I plan to do volunteer work for.

Patatap Clone Exercise - March 4

I tweaked my Contact page on the site.

I continued my studies and started an exercise to make keystrokes play a sound and an animation, directed by Colt Steele and inspired by Patatap.com.

jQuery - February 26

This week I have covered an introduction to jQuery, a library that makes using javascript to do interesting things on websites much easier quite a lot of the time.

I completed a fairly pretty To Do List project.

A Fun Project - February 19

The latest part of my course was making a one-page project which is a playable game.

You choose the color swatch that matches the displayed RGB color code. It was a lot of fun to make.

If you like, you can play the game here.

Slow Progress - February 12

I advanced my understanding of object oriented programming this week by challenging myself to figure out one of my exercises on my own and going beyond my instructions to improve my code structure.

I made strides in my personal life and job searching, although I have no changes to the website to report.

Email Up - February 5

After progressing through different stages of JavaScript I am finally beginning to learn DOM manipulation. These are the tricks that will allow me to do things like program a button to make something happen, so I've finished my Contact page with a button which reveals my email address.

Now visitors to the page can email me! ...As long as they promise not to misuse the address I give them.

A problem with the site was causing some images to appear only as broken links. It seems this was due to having spaces in my file names. I've changed the file names in order to fix this moving forward. My thanks to the friend who patched it for me on the live site in the mean time.

Object Orientation - January 29

I haven't made any changes to the website this week, but have been steadily continuing my lessons.

As I work, my previous lessons in JavaScript come to mind more vividly. I think I am reaching the point where that course ended. I certainly didn't know before that the big clusters of useful functions I've been using this whole time are "objects" themselves.

My lessons are getting more interesting and challenging. I took on the challenge of building the forEach function out of for loops and was able to figure out parts of it ahead of the instructor's walkthrough.

Functions - January 22

I finished the lessons and exercises my course gives me on functions this week, and have started learning about arrays.

I tidied up the updated version of the site I have been working on since late October, made some adjustments and uploaded it. The new website is much prettier and more modern; I think it's a worthy version 2.0, although it's still pretty barebones.

One thing missing is an email address through which I can be contacted. One of my friends told me about automated scraping attacks which could be used to grab an unprotected email address and add it to spam lists or worse, so I'm going to wait until I can put together a slightly more secure way to display it. I have a plan, but I don't know all the JavaScript I will need to use yet.

Resuming Lessons - January 15

I dived back into my Web Development lessons this week, finishing the project I had stopped on previously and beginning to brush up on JavaScript. I have studied this before, but it's been a couple of years. It feels good to remember and relearn the way the fundamental structures of JS code work.

I am now balancing my studies and work on this website with searching for a job, so progress will be slowed somewhat.

Stability Restored - December 29

It has been two months of chaos moving from place to place trying to settle into a place I could stay longer than three weeks.

I've finally done it, though. I have a new home for four months and have some hope of being ready to resume work on this site.

Milestones have been delayed. I have removed the estimates for when things will be done from my Timeline page. Until my situation is more solid, I don't feel I can promise timelines.

Instability - November 15

For the past two weeks I have been adapting to changes in my circumstances and my plans.

This project may be put on pause while I redirect my attention to figuring out where I will live and how I will support myself.

Renovation - October 30

I began a major redesign of the website using Bootstrap 4. The Welcome, Blog and Shipping Information pages have been redone.

The end of this week was consumed in preparations to move.

Break Week - October 23

I spent this week away from my work on the website to focus on settling a new roommate into our household, setting boundaries and managing relationships.

Despite this, I made the first steps on the culminating exercise of my course's Bootstrap module.

Navigation Bar v.1 - October 16

I made progress in my Bootstrap studies this week. I learned about the Bootstrap grid system and the changes in Bootstrap version 4.

I created a first attempt at a navigation bar for the website.

I filled out my inventory records and took and retouched more photos.

Planning & Form Design - October 9

I sketched out layout, content and logic for a modestly detailed custom order form.

My main priority was to return to the original planning booklet I used to set my goals and timeline, and clarify my goals and next steps for the rest of October.

Studying Bootstrap - October 2

The site redesign has been delayed. I still plan to release it, but I have decided not to set a strict deadline this time.

This week, I have covered the first unit of material on Bootstrap in my studies. Bootstrap is a handy collection of pre-sets which will help me make my website prettier and more responsive, much more easily. The upcoming site redesign will make use of its tools and should look much more modern and professional as a result.

I also put several more hours into continuing to inventory my bracelets. Now my inventory file includes the estimated diameter of wrist each bracelet will fit.

Inventory - September 25

I have continued to take and edit photos. However, the main new development this week was sorting my existing inventory of bracelets and beginning to fill out an inventory record of what items I have, and the traits of each item. For example, the pattern and colors of a given bracelet.

I have also been experimenting with html and css in order to redesign the website's style. I plan to have it finished and launched by the end of next week.

Social Media Launch - September 18

I designed the first social media advertisements for my site and released them on all three of my social media streams this week. I spent four and a half hours on Wednesday working on photos, and another hour and a half studying CSS.

Site Launch - September 11

Most of my work this week was in one big burst of activity to get the first version of the website online, and then contacting people to tell them about it.

I made logo images with backgrounds and made sure each of my social media accounts had an appropriate branded image as its avatar. I put some work into retouching some more product photos with white backgrounds.