24 Hours On WordPress

The last 24 hours or more I have been on WordPress. A template part has been made. In the evening, and night I participated in WordPress Slack. Today the categories were organized in the entire site.

The Aquarelle template part

In Web Developer 258:50 pp. there’s a lovely tutorial on a watercolorlike animation for a web page. I just had to try it out. Here’s the result ( as allways it’s a rough draft, but it was fun to make it ). Functions.php needed a few additional scripts. The partial held the markup, and the javascript. Now the Aquarelle partial may be used on a costum page or similar.

The theme_review meeting

In the evening I participated in two Slack sessions. The first one was the theme review group. Nine or ten active developers participated during the one hour long session. A question was asked:

  • Should we allow iframes?

A heated debate followed. There were utterances, somewhat like:

“I hate iframes …”

More than often there was no argumentation at all, at least from a philosophical point of view. Hating a phenomena is a pathetic argument. Literally speaking! After a while I could see, that these theme reviewers had a point.

Who knows what kind of stuff such iframes link to?

The iframe is not allowed if you want to publish a WordPress theme on the WP repos. So the debate was perhaps just for the hell of it. In the end there was a referendum. Should WP whitelist some urls, like YouTube. The answer was no.

I entered the group because a point on the agenda was a mentor solution for new theme reviewers.

Training

An hour later or so the training group met. The climate was very cosy. The participants suggested new learning modules. Talked about the intended target group: not students but teachers.

I suggested a module on Coding Best Practises. And guess what. I became the first editor. One of the sysops made me editor on the spot. And so the module will come to life wery soon.

Later on one of the group officials helped med to activate an editor account. Now I can edit the text(s). And even look foreward to give some help here and there, if I can. I felt at home and among human beings. So training was a very good experience.

Primary or Antithetical

Inspiration from Yeat’s “A Vision”

In 1925 the nobel prize winner and author W.B. Yeats published “A Vision”. Here he introduced the dichotomy of Primary and Antithetical. To Yeats there is an opposition between Primary and Antithetical thinking.

We could draw an analogy. Connect Primary with “Drag and drop production”, and Antithetical with “Focus on code / database”. Then you’ll get a suggestive illustration.

WordPress' primary and antithetical phases.
WordPress’ primary and antithetical phases.

Now the extremes would be rare. But you could perhaps imagine a user, that does not understand any code at all. Everything is done via drag and drop. Would such a user be able to make a professional webpage. My answer is clearly: yes.

You could also imagine a user who does not care for the GUI at all. Everything is PHP or SQL to that user. Such a user could build new funcitonality on the core functions of WordPress. Writing code for the sake of code would be possible. But it’s absurd.

Most users are somewhere in between. The more you work with WordPress development, the more you’ll be dragged towards the code side.

The more you can accomplish with a content management system without having to write code, the better it is. But the human race is creative. We often seek something new.

And so the primary drag ‘n dropper depends on the coder – and vice versa.

In my research project I have seen very good multimedia productions with hardly any code. But if your vision transcends the limits of the out-of-the-box WordPress – then you need a skilled coder.

How to use the model

You can use the model in order to visualize the complexity of a WordPress task or solution. Let’s use a Child Theme as a sample:

A child theme
A child theme

A Child Theme will use a given theme – and elaborate on the code. The developer will have to write some code. Depending on the amount of added functionality, widgets, plugins etc. we can place the dot.

In this way we can use the original model by W.B. Yeats in order to visualize the complexity of a WordPress solution.

Another sample: install and use a new theme via the dashboard:

Install a theme via the Dashboard.
Install a theme via the Dashboard.
Visualize Complexity

The model is a visualization of the balance between code and user. Usability is the raison d’être for code.

Torberg: LMS built on top-down approach

By reflecting the hierarchical organizational structures of universities, the LMS built on a strict top-down approach, giving absolute administrative control to technical specialists in an IT-department, while giving less control to the teachers.

(Vladimir Torberg et al. “Sustaining Teacher Control in a Blog-Based Personal Learning Evironment” 2013)

This quote is spot on. To this day I have never seen a LMS that was loved by the teachers and students. The author suggests that the internal structures of LMSs reflect the hirarchy of the organization.