In the wake of this weekend’s amazingly fun and educational hackathon, I find myself with a renewed drive to start learning and building cool stuff. You might have noticed that this drive, which is something that I usually have no problem cultivating, has recently been scarce for one reason or another – probably related to the rush of apartment-shopping as well as the letdown after finishing a major project such as Spaceratops. I was feeling pretty unmotivated, and when that happens, you start to get posts about Emma Watson and panda bears…which are actually great. I’m going to do more of that. But also, what in the world is going on in my tech life?
Like I said, my drive to learn stuff is firmly reinstated following the realisation that I actually do have some degree of sweet skills, as evidenced by the fact that I held my own on a group project and didn’t let everybody down by failing as I worried I might. Included in the new list of stuff that I want to accomplish: make a Twitter mashup – I don’t know what right now, but I want to play with Twitter and Hunch’s APIs (also Trendrr). Also, get deeper into web design/development. My Twitter profile says that I’m a “freelance web developer”, so maybe I should start living up to that. Yeah, sounds like a good plan. My roommate asked me to build his website for him, saying that his basic concept was a Tumblr blog with subpages (something that Tumblr doesn’t allow for).
Of course, I started off quite optimistic, only to realize fairly quickly that what I was setting myself up for was the singlehanded construction of my own content management system for this one website. He wanted his site to function as a blog, which would require all the functionality that we expect from WordPress of Tumblr (comments, administration, tags, all the rest). I realize that while, in truth, all of these things are completely within my current skill set, it would take me, one person, far more time that it’s worth to create something as full-featured and smooth as WordPress. This in combination with the fact that WordPress is free to download and supports custom styles has steered me off the path of committing myself to the creation of a decent CMS. (I still want to try my hand at this, and I will – just not for someone else.) So now, instead of writing the whole thing myself, the project has changed to the implementation of a custom WordPress theme for my roommate. Still a great thing to put in my portfolio, if perhaps not as gratifying as the singlehanded creation of the next big blogging platform.
And the funny thing, as my other roommate pointed out, is that knowing how to build a WordPress site may actually be more valuable to many employers than knowing how to do a CMS from scratch. There’s something sad about that to me – the fact that the one that requires less work and knowledge is more highly rewarded. But both are great learning experiences, so I’m not complaining.