My Journey Building This New Website
Have you heard of that running joke, “a plumber’s house always has a dripping tap“? Well, not in my house! In 2016 I set off to start fresh with a new domain name, iliosinteractive.com, and to build an entirely new custom theme from scratch. This was essential for me on many levels. One, so that I code the website from scratch, allowing me to optimize the website to fit my needs (in many aspects). Two, so I can further my skill-sets in areas that in my full-time job, I cannot fully explore (PHP, writing custom WordPress post types, integrating custom metadata fields, developing my own SASS framework, and much more). And finally, three, to replace an aging website that was in dire need of a replacement to better represent my work and capabilities.
Starting From Scratch
Building a theme from scratch is no small feet. But it’s rewarding in so many ways. From a learning perspective, this is the easiest way to jumpstart one’s understanding of WordPress. I had already had a very solid understanding around coding around themes, and custom integrations into WordPress themes. But I wanted to learn more. So I set off mapping out a new SASS framework and WordPress theme to represent me and my brand, and offer up a place for me to write about various technology and personal growth subjects.
Building Skills Along the Way
It wasn’t an easy task, but like I said in the previous sentence, it was a highly rewarding one. From writing custom functions to building custom post types with personalized metadata fields, My skillset has definitely been strengthened, and I feel a proud sense of accomplishment.
Creating a custom SASS framework wasn’t something new to me. But I wanted to further my experience in many ways including but not limited to building custom mix-ins for rapid code deployment & deployment.
This website has been a vision from the start using a localhost development environment on my computer. By employing tools like MAMP Pro, CodeKit 3, Coda 2, FontAwesome 5, and many others, I was able to rapidly develop a custom WordPress theme from scratch.
Putting It All Together
Stripping out all of the testing posts, pages, and settings is pretty rudimentary. Developing a slew of Photoshop documents to export all the necessary imagery for the website was a laborsome task. There was also the task of putting together an entirely new portfolio to represent all of my professional work. Writing blog posts is a fun exercise. It was one of the last tasks I accomplished before the website was launched. And then, of course, there is the task of User Acceptance Testing. Love it or hate it, it’s a necessary evil.
Sourcing images for my website was a fun, but a laborsome task. If you have ever sifted through catalog after catalog looking for that perfect image for a client, you know what I am talking about. And it being your image makes it that much worse. In the end, I opted not to spend much money by using services such as Getty, iStockPhoto, and other paid services. I chose to source images from unsplash.com. The images are all open-source, but amazingly beautiful and well curated.
Launching the Website
Launching a website isn’t technically hard. But it always wasn’t easy. Building off years of learning through trial and error, and through the reading of countless technical articles, this website launched without a hitch in record time, and with little effort.
Plotting the Course for the Future
From here, it’s only more learning and implementing the best features for the users of this website. What held me back in the past won’t hold me back any longer. The advantages of creating a custom theme from scratch and improving it over time are endless. I am proud of what I have learned and yearn for more.