Weeknotes 23:23

July 30, 2023

Week of July 23–29

Project progressing smoothly, for the most part 🙂

I continued to make steady progress on the project I started last week. I am learning new ways to build custom blocks for the Gutenberg editor in WordPress. I built several more custom blocks this week and learned more valuable lessons that continue to expand my knowledge and improve the editing experience on the backend.

I had to rebuild some blocks at the end of the week after realizing that it would be better to create a custom post type for testimonials that are used in two different blocks and on multiple pages. I built my first block using ACF’s relationship field as a chooser. The testimonials are created as individual entries and then the user can choose which to display on a page.

I ran into some trouble on Friday and was frustrated and perplexed why images were not showing up in my front-end template. I worked with one of my teammates and we were both perplexed.

Then he asked me some debugging questions and I realized I had been choosing posts that I had not added the specific image I was trying to display. The testimonials are used in two different blocks, one of which calls for a square image and the other a rectangular portrait image. I was waiting on the portrait images. I am just glad that I did not chase my tail too long.

A Slack message where I said I was handing in my developers license after making a silly mistake. BTW, we do not have developer licenses. Just making a joke.

I joked with Ross afterward that I was handing in my developer’s license. One of those “sad trombone” moments. (turn on the sound to fully appreciate that link)

LGND Campfire Presentation

On Friday, I gave a presentation at our weekly LGND Campfire. I expanded upon the content I first wrote in Weeknote 23:17 about bringing an idea for an isometric animation to life. I was hoping that it would be a fun look into the process from conception to coded reality. I enjoyed hearing from one of my teammates earlier in the year as he described a motion video project that he worked on and saw the process unfold.

I took about 20 minutes to walk through the steps I took to go from idea to prototype that I had first described in the weeknote post. I updated my prototype last week to include screenshots that we would use in the solution if we are to implement it in the future.

The last thing I discussed was whether or not we would use this solution in the project that I had envisioned. The project is our new agency website and the animation could be used on case studies.

But one of the unanswered questions that I still have is whether or not it is worth the potential performance hit that all the images would add to the page load. Another option would be to do the animation as a video, which could potentially have better performance but would take more resources to create for each different case study.

The last part of the Campfire was a time for questions and discussion. I received several great questions from the design team.

  • How would we determine the best course to pursue (Web animation, video, Lottie animation) when a designer has an idea for a project?
  • What are the different performance factors we have to consider?
  • What is the best way for the design team to communicate animation ideas to the developers on a project?
  • When would it be appropriate for our strategy team to sell an animated solution to the client?

These questions generated a lot of great discussion. It highlighted the continued need to collaborate across disciplines and have an ongoing dialogue throughout the project.

Kevin Powell’s Beyond CSS course

Kevin Powell released a new course this week called Beyond CSS. He described it this way:

“A course to help you learn how to wrangle your stylesheets, keeping them organized and scalable no matter the size of the project or how big your team is.

“..I want to teach you how you can leverage modern CSS, and some of those other tools to create well-organized, and easy-to-scale projects that actually leave you and your team writing less CSS.”

I am interested to learn from Kevin and think about employing new strategies and tools to improve my workflow.

Kevin is a great teacher and I have enjoyed his videos over the past few years. I also bought another of his courses, CSS Demystified last year. I worked through this first module of that course during downtime in our project timelines and really enjoyed the material. But I put it down after project work started back up and need to revisit the course after I work my way through the new one.

Other highlights of the week

  • I bought a new desk pad this week to replace the LGND pad that is wearing out. It is Jayhawk themed and adds more color to my workspace (the previous desk pad was mostly black and white).
  • My wife went up to Nashville to help my oldest daughter get her classroom ready for the upcoming school year. I had some more time at night to enjoy playing MLB The Show 23 during the time that we would normally watch TV or Netflix together.
  • I highlighted the Toyota Policy Drivers project that I was involved in earlier this year. The new LGND site contains a case study that has video capture and screenshots from the project that is only accessible by Toyota employees. It is nice to be able to showcase the work I was involved in through this case study.
  • I highlighted a project that my son worked on this summer with his paid internship. He wrote the script, storyboarded it, assembled the assets with the help of his team, created all the animations, and recorded the voiceover.

Articles I read

Books I am reading

  • The Creative Act – I finished this book on Sunday. It did not grab me immediately, but I am glad I stuck with it. I resonated with a lot of the things he wrote about. I am passing it off to my son to take back to school with him. I thought about him several times as I read it since he is a graphic design major who really enjoyed the art classes he took last year.
  • True to His Word – These daily reflections continue to challenge me and draw me close to the heart of God.
  • Making Sense of God – I started this one last week. I became interested in it after reading the Tim Keller biography. And the Kindle version was on sale when I went to purchase it.
  • Design is Storytelling
  • Gospel-Centered Teaching – I finished this short book after starting it last week.
  • Truman – I did not make much progress in this book. I fell asleep reading it on Wednesday night. I had trouble sleeping the night before and it hampered my night reading the rest of the week.

What I watched

  • Oppenheimer (Theater) – My son had been anticipating this movie and I went with him. I am still not sure what to say about the movie.
  • Quarterback (Netflix) – I finished this series early in the week. I enjoyed reliving the playoff run with Mahomes and the Chiefs. I came away with a lot of respect for Kirk Cousins.
  • Indian Matchmaking (Netflix)
  • Secret Invasion (Disney+) – Not as exciting of a conclusion as I would have liked.
  • Rick Steves Art of Europe, Modern Art (PBS)
  • High Score (Netflix)

What I played

Brandon Lowe hit a walk-off two-run homer to extend my winning streak to five games. Lowe is one of my favorites both in the game and IRL. He was one of my star players when I played in 2020/21 and won the World Series with the Rays.

MLB The Show 23 (Rays) – My wife was out of town for a couple of days helping our oldest get her classroom ready for the approaching school year. I ended up playing a lot more of this game this week as a result. And I faired very well.

I went 6-0 through the week. It started with a bloop hit win in 10 innings on Tuesday. And then a dramatic walk-off win on Saturday to keep the win streak alive. It was a lot of fun but a lot of close games. My offense is still not generating more than 5 runs a game. But my pitching has been superb and kept the games close enough for me to find a way to win.

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