The Skills You Need for Mobile and Web Programming and Development

What it’s like to work as a mobile app developer” by TechRepublic is a simple but solid list of what it takes to be a mobile application developer, but also a programmer, web designer, and web developer.

The skills mentioned include persistence, ability to keep up with trends and changes in the fast pace of technology, testing to the extreme, and the understanding that this is a new and evolving industry and be ready for the shifting terrain in and around you.

I’d like to add two big skills missing from this list, without which makes the difference between a savvy developer and programmer and a mediocre one. It is the ability to pay attention to details and not make excuses.

It is always the details that bite you back. A missed semi-colon, a misnamed variable, a loop that doesn’t close right, validation errors, little simple things that should be a part of the testing environment but slip by.

I’ve seen many programmers and designers, including myself, blaming the software, the code, everyone else except the person who screwed up and missed the detail that caused the issue. Then the excuses start coming out. Not enough sleep, too much pressure, too many interruptions, trouble at home, traffic jam driving into work, family problems…the list is long and all of these can get in the way of your work.

When we let the excuses consume us, we negative the good work we’ve done. A lot of successes happened in the code before the mistake. Yet we spend a lot of energy on the excuses for that mistake instead of recognizing it as something fixable, a lesson learned or relearned, and move on.

We all have the same excuses. We’d all like them to go away so we could have a perfect working environment. They won’t go away so our ability to handle them must improve.

The first step is to acknowledge that we all have interference in our lives, so let them not interfere. Continue reading

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Most Common Database and Programming Errors

WordPress, web database, and web designers need to pay close attention to these two articles from TechRepublic: “Five common programming mistakes” and “Five common database development mistakes.”

The first one deals with the most common programming mistakes, a few I’ve done myself. UI craziness and variable naming inconsistencies will often eat up my time as I resolve their issues.

The second article on database development mistakes addresses many of the issues I and others have with dealing with other people’s work. A missing mistake that should be on the list is a lack of inline documentation, the notes a developer should leave to not only remind them of what happened here and why choices were made, but informs future fixers of what is going on. Without these, we have to read the code like a book, and not everyone writes based upon readable standards. We spend too much time playing detective for the simplest of fixes.

A comment in the first article really caught my eye and sums up so much of what causes problems with the code.

This isn’t the tool’s fault — the error is between the keyboard and the chair. On the one hand, it speaks volumes about the quality of these tools that I trust them so much that I lost a lot of my vigilance; on the other hand, it is still my fault that I allow convenience to turn my brain off entirely. I have learned to slow myself down when using code completion and take the extra second or two to ensure that I have made the right choice.

The biggest problem is what is sitting in the chair – remember that next time you start blaming.

Tutorial: How to Inspect, Edit, and Save a Web Page

This tutorial from the HTML Fundamentals Class I taught at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, is a guide that will show you how to:

  • View the source code of a web page.
  • How to save a web page to your computer
  • How to view a saved web page on your computer
  • How to open a web page in your text editor
  • How to view the CSS/Stylesheet for a web page
  • How to inspect the HTML and CSS of a web page
  • How to view and edit a web page at the same time

To begin this tutorial, have your web browser and text editor open on your computer. It does not matter which browser or text editor you are using. The process is basically the same.

How to view the source code of a web page

  1. Go to a web page such as the test page for the class, Welcome to Lorelle VanFossen CTEC 122 HTML Fundamentals Class on the Clark Web Server.
  2. Right click on an empty space on the web page and choose View Page Source or View Source.
  3. The resulting popup window (or tab) will show you the underlying HTML structure of the page.
  4. You may save this to your hard drive or go back and save the entire web page to your computer.

Continue reading

Truly Beautiful HTML Cheat Sheet

Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks is one of the brilliant minds ripping and tearing web design apart and putting it back together so we understand it even better than before.

In “What Beautiful HTML Code Looks Like,” Chris shares a beautiful cheat sheet for what beautiful HTML really does look like.

Chris Coyier - CSS Tricks Cheet Sheet on creating beautiful HTML

It includes HTML5, JavaScript references, and everything you need to know to make beautiful music with your web page code.

Cleaning Up Your HTML and CSS Code

Dirty Markup interface for cleaning html, css, and javascriptTeaching HTML Fundamentals at Clark College in Summer Quarter 2012 was a step back into history and a good learning lesson for me about teaching but also about HTML.

I’m sharing a lot of the tutorials and guides I created for the class here which you can find in various categories but specifically under the HTML tag.

I’d like to share with you one of the great tools I uncovered. It’s called Dirty Markup and describes itself as the “Tidy and Beautify your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code tool.”
Continue reading

Tutorial: Tidy Your HTML and CSS Code

The following is a tutorial for the HTML Fundamentals Class for Clark College. The information pertains to all web design, development, and WordPress fundamentals in WordPress Theme and Plugin development.

There programs designed to "tidy" your HTML and CSS into a format that meets typical standards for code layout. These take hard-to-read markup (code) and clean them up into a consistent format.

These tidy programs will not fix your broken code, but they may identify errors to help you fix it yourself.

Example of Tidy HTML cleaner before and after

Tidy programs were originally created by Dave Raggett to help clean up the HTML code. HTML TIDY now supports HTML5 and HTML exported from Google Docs, Word, and other publishing programs.

There is now a community supporting TIDY and you can learn more on TIDY Sourceforge Project.

There are also CSS TIDY programs. These work the same as the HTML versions. They include: CSSTidy and CSS Formatter and Optimiser/Optimizer (Online).

TIDY is available for cleaning up online or offline, and is incorporated into many text editors and programming editors. it is available for a variety of operating systems and in different programming languages such as Java, Perl, and Python.

To use these, follow the instructions provided by the developer. Always save a backup of the original file, called "about.bak" or something similar, just in case.

For online versions, it is as simple as uploading the file to be cleaned or pasting the file contents into the form. Copy the cleaned code and paste it into a copy of the file name or create a new version of the file and rename it to the desired name.

Learn More About TIDY

HTML and CSS Resourses List

The following was compiled specifically for the Clark College HTML Fundamentals Class but can be useful to WordPress and web design in general.

The following are helpful HTML and CSS references and resources.

W3C Guidelines and Standards

Basic HTML and CSS Resources and References

Continue reading

Developing WordPress Plugins and Themes for the Public

WordPress code logo thumbnailThe following resources are for those who develop WordPress Plugins and WordPress Themes and wish to release them to the public and include them in the WordPress official directories, WordPress Plugin Directory and WordPress Theme Directory.

It is highly recommended that you read “A Love Letter to WordPress Plugin Authors” with tips for WordPress Plugin and Theme authors on how to ensure your audience finds your WordPress goodness.

WordPress Plugins Submissions

WordPress Theme Submissions

Working as a WordPress Developer

Selling WordPress Themes