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Weeknotes 20:17

September 13, 2020

Week of August 30 - September 5

Launched Credential Engine Toolkit

Last week, we launched a project that I started working on the first week of June. The client has been adding content to the new section and we have continued to modify over the past month. The new pages were finally ready to launch at the end of the week.

The project for Credential Engine is a toolkit of resources for state leaders to learn about, plan for, and implement policies and practices to create a transparent credential marketplace. I wrote about building two of the features of the site: a state map to view state-specific resources, and search and filter functionality for the toolkit resources page, in a previous weeknotes post. In the last month, I have added additional functionality to the filters and toolkit page.

Custom Page Builder for NoMa Neighborhood

The other project I worked on last week was for the NoMa Neighborhood in DC. We are building them a new custom page builder in WordPress using Advanced Custom Fields. Our goal is to simplify the page builder so the client can focus on adding and editing content and not have to think about design details like colors, padding, or font sizes. I spent the first days identifying existing page components that they can add to the site using repeater and flexible content fields in ACF. We are not changing the current design but making some modifications to provide consistency across the site.

I finished building the page template for the custom page builder on Monday and started styling out components. Styling the components on specific pages helped me to identify holes in my backend and ways to improve upon it. It is not a very flashy project but I have really enjoyed the challenge of designing the backend experience. I have already received positive feedback from teammates that are building out pages on our staging site.

Capital CoLAB Connect

I split my time this week between the NoMa project and a project for Capital CoLAB’s existing site. The CoLAB team wants to facilitate a community of learners dedicated to building careers in the Capital Region’s tech ecosystem. The students will join the community through an enrollment form that integrates with Salesforce. Once they complete the forms, students will have access to resources and professional development opportunities.

My colleague, Ryan, worked on connecting the form to Salesforce while I worked on the front-end development of the form and the community portal. Most of the week was spent polishing the product to prepare for launch on September 8. We used Ninja Forms along with the user management add-on.

Scoro Project Management

Our team recently moved our project management to Scoro. As with any software of this type, it takes some time to figure out how to best use the tool and how to integrate it into your daily workflow. Our implementation team has done a great job of providing opportunities to get on Zoom calls to ask questions and address specific use cases. Those sessions have helped me to figure out how to make Scoro work best for me.

I was asked to share my experiences with the other two developers on the team last week. I enjoyed being able to pass on what I have learned and give them some ideas of how they can become more comfortable with the tool. Scoro is a very robust application so it is helpful to get some practical input to determine how to make it best work.

Video Call with a friend in Hungary

The highlight of the week was getting to connect with a friend of mine in Hungary. We met 30 years ago when I was visiting Hungary for the first time. I got to take a walk with him to a park in his neighborhood as we used Facebook video. It was fun to catch up with him. I am grateful for long-term friendships like the one I have with Laci.

Online Reading

Reading

  • Finished rereading Transcending CSS – I started this book back in June. I first read it right after it came out in 2007. I enjoyed getting to revisit this book that has had such a big influence on my career, specifically in my coding practices and my approach to building websites. I hope to write a post with some reflections on this second reading experience.
  • Started 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School – I read this book several years ago and decided to pick it up again. This is a book I wish had been written before I was a student in architecture. A lot of important lessons and perspectives that would have enriched my educational experience.

Watched

  • Life Animated – Instead of reading a book for LGND book club, we decided to watch and discuss a documentary instead. This is a fascinating story of an autistic young man who learned to express himself through the dialogue of Disney movies. The documentary started weeks before he moves out to an assisted-living apartment and gains his independence. The quote that stays with me is something his father said. “Who determines what a meaningful life is?” Definitely recommend it. I really enjoyed the discussion with my teammates.
  • The West Wing
  • The Boys (Disney+) – The story of the Sherman Brothers, who wrote a lot of music for Disney films such as Mary Poppins. We had learned about them from the bonus content of Mary Poppins DVD. We did not realize they had such a fractured relationship.
  • Frank and Ollie (Disney+) – I think everyone we like to have a working relationship like these two animators from Disney. It was an amazing contrast from the Sherman Brothers, who are related. Really enjoyed this one.
  • Twister – My daughter had to watch this movie for one of her classes. My wife and I joined her. It was a fun way to spend time together on a Saturday afternoon.

Played

  • MLB The Show 20 – I bought this one on sale the weekend before. In the past, I have played franchise mode and guided a team through an entire season. This time around I am just playing games from that day using Live Rosters. I have really enjoyed getting to play baseball again.
  • FIFA20 – I continue to enjoy playing my third season with Borussia Dortmund.

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