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Weeknotes 20:02

February 23, 2020

Week of February 16 - 22

  • This week was my second week back after taking two weeks of PTO to take care of a family member in the hospital.
  • The week started with a day off for President’s Day. It was a catch up on life day as I spent time helping to clean our house. I also helped out my wife by taking my daughter to ballet class in the afternoon. Thanks to the Wifi, I was able to watch a significant portion of The Two Towers while I waited for my daughter.

Second Week of Development Project

This was week 2 of a new development project for a PEO, a professional employer organization that provides HR services for small to medium-sized businesses. They are creating their first stand-alone site and have partnered with LGND. It is a small site that will finish up development later this next week.

I have had some fun doing some subtle CSS animation work to add some polish to the site. The design calls for several irregular Grid layouts so I have been experimenting with new ways to use CSS Grid to solve these problems. Most of the grids I use have a 12 column grid with elements that span different column widths. But these layouts are different. So I have started by determining the smallest width section and make it 1fr (fraction unit) and then base the other fraction units for the other columns on it (divide those widths by the smaller width to come up with the fraction unit value. This is the first project I have done this sort of layout. I look forward to looking for opportunities in the future to use this type of calculation.

I could have used Flexbox for these layouts because they are only one dimensional. But I chose to go with Grid because of the lack of support for gap in Flexbox at the moment. In the future, I might be more inclined to use Flexbox to build these one-dimensional layouts.

Deciding a New Development Norm

One other thing that came up during my development is that I was challenged by my colleague to use WordPress menus (wp_nav_menu) that allow the client to make changes to the site in the future. In the past, I have shied away from using WP menus because of all the excess code that is baked in. It seems like this has gotten better. I was pretty happy with all the class hooks that I was able to tap into and refactor my code to use the WP menus.

Another reason I have been hesitant to use WP menus is that a lot of our navigation designs are too precise or complex that if the client adds more items, it would break the design. This is part of the communication process in working with clients. In the end, we have decided it is better to empower the client and then deal with issues that might surface on a case by case basis. There probably are also some times we might need to use other solutions like Advanced Custom Fields that would allow us to code the structure of the navigation code while still giving the client the freedom to make changes.

  • With the release of Edge based on Chromium recently, I realized that I need a solution to test for IE11 and Edge Legacy. I had remembered in the past that Microsoft had posted Virtual Machines for older versions of Windows and Internet Explorer browser. A quick search helped me find their Virtual Machines page and I was able to grab a VM for Parallels with IE11 and Edge Legacy.
  • I created a custom Slack sidebar theme for LGND based on colors from our logo and colors we use on our website. Here is the theme #404041,#000000,#E84C3C,#FFFFFF,#000000,#EEEEEE,#5EA8E8,#5EA8E8

Reading

Books

I really enjoy reading and for the past few years have made it a goal to read 24 books a year (2 a month). I found this to be a good goal number as different times of the year afford me more time to read and there are times I am just not in the mood. So far this year, I have read 4 books and still have one week left this month. I am always reading several books at once so I have several going right now. I might be able to finish 1 or 2 more before the end of February.

Books I started this week:

  • The Myth of Equality – this book was the recommendation of a friend of mine. It has been a very challenging read so far. I hope that there is some good practical application in the later chapters. I have been wanting to read some books to think about race and race relations. I have several others in my queue that I am looking forward to reading.
  • You Need a Budget – I have read some of the authors tips and wanted to read his books.

Watching

  • Doctor Strange on Disney+ – my youngest had not seen it yet
  • The Two Towers (Extended Edition) – I love the Lord of the Rings and it is always a treat to revisit Middle Earth. Some of my favorite scenes from the book are in this movie with Sam and Frodo and being part of a larger story. Now that I have it digitally, I end up watching these films a little bit at a time.
  • Clone Wars Season Seven – fun to get back into this series.
  • A Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood – saw it on the big screen at Thanksgiving. I enjoyed it again.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation – always fun to just watch selected episodes of one of your favorite shows. I saw the pilot for Picard but can’t justify adding another streaming service at this time.

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