Weeknotes 23:24

August 6, 2023

Week of July 30–August 5

The highlight of the week was a trip with my son to Ruby Falls here in Chattanooga. It is something he has wanted to do for a long time. It is one of the last adventures we will have together before he returns to Murray State this week to start his sophomore year. Last year, we visited a local pinball museum and arcade right before he left for school

We enjoyed the trek through the cave to see the main attraction which is the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public. We marveled at the beauty of the different formations formed by mineral deposits as we made our way to and from the waterfall. It is the first time either of us had experienced an underground cave.

It was a fun way to spend some time with my son before he goes back to school.


I continued working on building a site for a financial institution’s small business training program. I have been involved with several other projects with this client in the past which are equipping entrepreneurs to be more successful.

My goal for the week was to get the site to a good place before taking a week off to help my son move back into the residence hall at Murray State. I continued building new custom WordPress blocks. I revisited a couple of blocks I had built last week and added functionality that I didn’t address on the initial build.

I built a block this week that I wanted to reuse several different places on the site that use a similar layout. But each of these blocks had different inner blocks. I wanted to create a better user experience by only allowing the user to use certain inner blocks based on the use of the block. I was hoping that I could define the allowed block using a conditional.

But I found out that was not possible. The process was still beneficial as it caused me to determine a better way of building the block and I was happy with the solution I came up with even though it was not what I was originally going for.

One of the things that I have enjoyed about working with custom WordPress blocks in React is the ability to craft the backend experience for the client. One of the blocks I built this week has a map image in the background, with squares of different sizes and images of past participants in the program. I wanted to make this block customizable so that the client could add new images and refresh the block in the future.

On the backend, I included the image of the map with numbers over gray squares so that the user could see where each of the images would be positioned in the final product. I created a grid underneath the image where the user uploads or updates each of the images This was not something I could create using ACF blocks in the past.

The code for the map is all an SVG and I plan to animate the colored squares using parallax on scroll.

The final product on the front end.

On Friday, I went back and refactored several blocks for smaller screen layouts. As I have mentioned before, I work from a desktop-first building plan but do it with a mobile-first approach. This means that I refactor my CSS and move code into media queries when a two-column layout will work with the design. I was glad to be able to do this on Friday because it felt like the project was coming together into a cohesive whole instead of just pieces. I still have some work to do when I get back but my progress on Friday gives me a solid place to come back in a couple of weeks.

I finished the week by putting together an out-of-office document to communicate where I am at in the project. I left some helpful notes for myself that will help when I pick it back up in a couple of weeks. My teammate Ross has a light workload right now so he is going to help me out in building some of the blocks that I had not gotten to yet.

The plan is to finish up the first phase of development the week I return, do some internal QA (and fixes), and then have the client do QA so that we can launch the site next month.

Articles I read

I have not been reading a lot of saved articles recently. I would like to make time to read as many have accumulated in Pocket. I read several articles in The Athletic this week but don’t keep track of all of those. I enjoyed reading all the speculation leading up to this year’s trade deadline on Tuesday. Not as many big deals as they were predicting.

What I watched

Books I am reading

What I played

  • MLB The Show 23 (Rays) – I played this game every day this week and went 4-5. I am frustrated that I am averaging only 3 runs a game. I got shelled on Sunday 12-2, which snapped my 7-game winning streak. I got shelled again on Saturday 12-4. The one thing I am doing well is stealing bases. I learned a better technique to do it and have been successful most of the time. That has helped me score a lot of runs that I might not have gotten if I had stolen a base to get into scoring position.

1 Comment

  1. Chris Coyier

    May 15th, 2024

    Heck yeah Ruby Falls! That was one of the very few places we went on vacation when I was a kid and it became a formative memory for me for sure.

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