flowchart hand with marker
Skills
October 10, 2014
Back to School
February 14, 2017

Hit the Wall Running

After viewing an article by Medium on the physics of scaling the warped wall on American Ninja Warrior, it occurred to me that I face walls like that periodically. Web design presents several kinds of warped walls that require practice, a core strength, and a knowledge of technical aspects in order to overcome them. A case in point, WordPress tweaks. When I stood at the threshold of my career in web design, I was invited to build a website using the WordPress platform. The generous and talented folks who built (and continue to build) this open-source software so that people the world over can put together something slick right out of the box have extended an open invitation to designers and developers to not only use but also expand and improve WordPress.

That first site got me hooked on WordPress. (Some of that first process is recounted in my Back to School process.) I ran around inside the style.css file and made changes to the free theme. Background: cover! Sticky menu! Colors! Then I encountered a warped wall. The theme needed an upgrade and I didn’t have a child theme in place. Back then building a child theme loomed large before me. PHP? Me? I decided to just circumvent the wall. I patted myself on the back for making a backup of the styles.css file and reloaded the backup via FTP.

I realized that at some point I needed to learn PHP so I could understand the structure of WordPress. I did a few things with the theme files along the way: a hack I read about, a line here and there. Hmmm, I wonder why that period is important. I made a backup of footer.php, made changes, and had to reload the backup when the changes broke something. The wall still loomed large.

I have finally taken the first run and signed up for a PHP beginner course. I will probably have to fall on my backside many times before I have sufficient practice, the core strength, and the technical grasp to get my hand on the top of the wall. But, according to the physics, I have to lean into it and get my momentum going if I ever hope to stand at the top of that warped wall.