July 10, 2023
Week of July 2–8
WordPress Block Creator course
Last week, I started working through WordPress Block Creator Course. It is a free course to help developers and agencies leverage custom Gutenberg blocks in WordPress. One of my development goals is to learn how to utilize React blocks in Gutenberg so I can tap into the built-in components that Gutenberg has to offer.
I have built 3 full sites (Energy Efficiency Hub, Principal Media, and GenesisHR) utilizing Gutenberg blocks over the past two years. I made use of the Gutenberg editor on a new page template for the Consulate General of Canada in New York this spring. I am also utilizing the Gutenberg editor on this site for my blog posts.
To date, I have built the Gutenberg sites using ACF Blocks. ACF is a familiar tool and I have very little knowledge of React. ACF Blocks have been a good place to start for me but after seeing how my teammate Ross utilized React blocks with the new LGND site, I want to build blocks in the WordPress ecosystem to take advantage of functionality that I cannot tap into using ACF.
This course on Full Stack Digital is just what I need to learn the fundamentals of building blocks the WordPress way. There are currently five lessons available with more planned in the coming weeks (the fifth one dropped at the end of the week after I had started the course).
Despite the shortcomings that I documented above, I am grateful for this tutorial. One of the shortcomings of developing with Gutenberg is the lack of solid documentation for developers. Chris Coyier mentioned this in a post he wrote earlier this year.
I hope to see more people write about Gutenberg development. I would love for the WordPress team and others to write more practical guides and documentation to help developers to build blocks and be able to utilize its functionality.
It was practical tutorials that solved day-to-day problems that helped me to build a solid foundation of WordPress development in the past. We need a new generation of these helpful and practical solutions to the problems we are trying to solve today by building Gutenberg sites in the new WordPress ecosystem.
Last week was a very weird week. It was disorienting to work on Monday and then have Tuesday off for the Fourth of July. And then have to jump back into things on Wednesday. My sense of time was completely thrown off. Fortunately, it was a pretty slow week and I took advantage of that to work through the WordPress Block Creator Course and to have some conversations with my teammate Ross about building Gutenberg projects in the future. We met on Friday to talk about creating a starter theme for those projects and he got a good start on that before the end of the day.
Impromptu lunch with my son on Friday
I took advantage of the slow week to have an impromptu lunch with my son on Friday. I planned to run by the library during my lunch hour to pick up the Tim Keller biography that was on hold for me. My son works about 2 minutes away from the mall area where the library is located. I called him up and we met at McAlister’s Deli. It was fun to hang out with him in the middle of the day and spend some time with him outside the house.
What I wrote
- The State of CSS 2023: Reflection – I shared some thoughts on taking the State of CSS 2023 survey. I had a much better features score compared to last year. I muse about why that may be and share some other insights.
Articles I read
- The Single Visionary Fairytale (Tim Kadlec) – An article dispelling the single visionary myth of building a successful product.
- Design for the web without Figma – I can’t say I agree entirely with this. I don’t think it should be an either-or thing. I think a combination of approaches will work best in the long run.
- No Handoff: close the gap between product and engineering – Again, nice idea but does not work very practically with most agencies that I am familiar with. I think that it would be great to try to do some projects this way to see how it works.
- Five Books (Jeremy Keith)
- My Journey Out of Mormonism (The Gospel Coalition)
- Container Query Units and Fluid Typography (Stephanie Eckels) – I used container query units for fluid typography recently but used the
- Overlapping border on images with hover effect (CSS Tips) – Interesting use of padding in this solution.
- Designcollectors Website Redesign (case study by Veerle Pieters) – I love her new site design. It is always fun to read other people’s case studies and get inspired on how to write about your own work.
- The work-from-home fanatics owe the rest of us an apology (The Telegraph) – As someone who successfully works from home on a remote team, I am not sure I agree with the author’s conclusions. But I don’t think that WFH during the pandemic is a good indicator. WFH is not for everyone. And having it forced upon you definitely is not a good way to judge it. I would also say I am not a WFH fanatic. It works for me but I know it is not for everyone.
- The PGA Tour, PIF and understanding the deal to shape golf’s future (The Athletic) – I found this article of interest because I watched the Full Swing series on Netflix. I am a little bit concerned about the Saudi’s heavy investment in sports. I don’t think it is a good thing in the long run. I am interested to see how the Senate and the DOJ weigh in.
Books I am reading
- Timothy Keller – I am borrowing this biography from the library. It was published in February and Tim died at the end of May. I have admired Tim for a long time and have been thinking about him a lot over the past couple of months. I am excited to read this book to understand more about him and the people and ideas that formed him.
- The Creative Act
- True to His Word
- Design is Storytelling
- Invitation to the Jesus Life
What I watched
- Secret Invasion (Disney+)
- La La Land (Netflix) – I can’t believe that we waited so long to see this movie. I really enjoyed it. It had the feel of a classic Hollywood musical. The romantic in me was disappointed with the ending. Great movie. And I have been listening to the soundtrack on Spotify.
- American Pickers (Defy)
- Traitor (Netflix) – I really enjoyed this British spy thriller.
- Is It Cake, Too (Netflix)
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Prime) – We watched this with my son on Saturday. We had watched The Breakfast Club last week so wanted to see another classic 80s movie with him.
What I played
- MLB The Show 21 (Rays) – It was a disappointing week. I lost all 4 games that I played which are part of a 7 game losing streak. I played a game on Tuesday and it was not going well. I was losing 9-0 against the Yankees. I was tempted to restart or just quit playing but I stuck it out. I was batting with 1 out in the ninth inning with the score at 9-3 when the power flickered and the game console reset. So that game did not count. But then I lost 3-2 when I replayed the game on Saturday.
- MLB The Show 23 went on sale on Thursday for a week. It is about $20 off and I have been tempted to buy it. I had been interested in buying it around Memorial Day when I started the 21 season but it was not on sale. It was on sale a couple of weeks later but I decided to stick with 21. But now with the disappointment of the 21 season and the enticement to play with the current rosters, new rules (especially no more shifts), and different schedule (more interleague games and fewer divisional games), I am debating on whether to buy it now and abandon the 21 season.