2019

Hello Everyone,

I want to talk about my plans for this year, both professional and personal, but first I should touch on last year so check out the next post for my plans for 2020. Because 2019 was quite a turbulent year I think it is worth talking about. I remember saying in the 2017 appreciation post that:

A bit of a revealing year surrounding who you are as a person and how you approach (or will approach) things differently now compared to a year ago.

I'm starting to feel like this is becoming just an ongoing trend. Partly because I keep coming across new situations that mean a new part of me is revealed I hadn't had to deal with before and partly because old situations keep popping back up to deal with differently to the first time. Back in 2017 I said I was still thinking about the idea of getting into teaching after it was suggested to me by the Program Leader at the time. I ended up doing that and 2019 was my first year of teaching. I keep saying it was great and I really enjoy it but at this stage I haven't had a group that has been difficult to deal with. I'll come back to you with my feedback on that when I cross that bridge (I say when because I know it will happen).

However, it's worthwhile pointing out it was a highly stressful year. Especially in the later months leading into summer.

We had two major projects, I thought there was a chance one would be winding down as the other ramped up (for me at least, my higher ups were quite busy with both projects early on at around the same time). That... didn't happen. Both ended up aligning and hitting the critical point at nearly the same time. There were some late nights and stressful days as we frantically worked to meet deadlines. It was reaching a point where I was missing basic tasks in my role because I just had zero mental capacity left to think about it. Oh and at the time there was uncertainty around the entire institute due to the dreaded "corporate restructure". Anyone who's been through those knows enough about how stressful those are. So yeah, three things all kind of aligned into a perfect storm for me. And that's just the work stuff.

It wasn't all bad though. As with previous years I've met, or better got to know, people and am further picking up my own cues on the kinds of people that are as interested in what's going on with me as I am with what's going on with them and reallocating time where that doesn't line up. There's been a small number of people who have really helped me swim against the tide of a torrential river, and I apologise if I've been a bit distant lately but hopefully they know who they are and how helpful they've been. Also I guess as an extension to this how I prefer to hang out with these people. I'm starting to realise I don't need to have big lavish nights out (or in) with huge crowds of people, in fact I'm starting to prefer smaller groups and ordering in (or even cooking!) and relaxing in a private space.

Some things I was hoping to get done this year (not resolutions, just goals as you'll see in my 2020 post) but didn't really get to. A big one was probably getting into diorama and model making. Followed closely by getting back into woodworking more seriously. Both require more space than I have available right now, and a bit of cash I now see I can't afford to spend at this time. At least I've got the 3D printer and access to 3D modelling software to start messing with things I want to create in the diorama space so that when I do have the space and money I can start working on it again. I've got some tools and spare wood lying around so I can at least work up some little day projects when the weather is nice.

I guess I can sum it all up by saying that 2019, especially the second half of the year, was a regretfully stressful time that just didn't line up with where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. So I guess something for 2020 is to head into the new year with a goal to do some things I've been putting off. More on that in my 2020 post though.

Have a happy new year everyone. I have spoken,

  • Scott

(did you get that reference?)

STATS Update

Hey,

So I've taken a bit of a break from Grav and Twig, in part because I need to reconsider a couple of things based on my designs and in part because I need to do a bit more reading on Twig before my ambition exceeds my ability and I rage quit because I can't do something I want it to do (I had that a lot with Wordpress early on, even phpBB when I used to make themes for that, so I know to take the time to read up on things now).

So I've jumped back into taking a look at STATS. Oh boy. Where to even start with this thing. I was so crudely putting it together in a rush to have it done I hadn't considered just how poorly I was putting it together. It's a database driven application that should really have at least a few classes and functions that lighten the load on the server but I haven't done ANY of that. I've got database queries left-right-and-center occasionally doing the same thing multiple times when I could just be smarter with one database call. Talk about sloppy.

The front-end design is not 100% finalised, I don't mind the colour scheme but I want to make it so users can select different colour schemes and save it as a preference. Which, to be honest, is going to require a bit of a rebuild of the whole front end so I'm going to save that for later the code is already messy enough without overhauling the layouts. I want to move to templates so I get rid of the mess of PHP files lying around. That's a problem for another time though.

The Admin Control Panel (ACP) so far

The ACP is mostly functional, managing a couple of things still needs some work but this is another area I think requires a bit of a tweak to the design. Not as major here as the front-end though as there's no desire to put a bunch of different colour schemes in the ACP. You can see in the screenshot above the ACP homepage is still littered with my workings on different things. Setting user levels; generating activation codes for registering accounts; working out EPOCH times; date and time conversions; text encryption for password storage; working out special character insertion. You know, development stuff.

One of the more completed page layouts

This is one of the more complete page layouts for locations. I've been using data from an online racing community I'm part of but don't have track maps at the moment so I made a placeholder image.

I'll have a bit more to say about this once I've had a chance to dig through and find all my sloppy mistakes. I'd start again but this would the third time of asking starting from scratch so I'm not sure I'm keen on that idea.

That's all for now, Scott.

Grav Development: Part 2 - Porting a header

Hey,

So after a bit of reading on how twig works I've started diving in and making some modifications for the theme I created in Part 1 of this series of posts. You're basically going to be seeing my build process for a new website, which I have no problem sharing because I'd love if something I do helps someone struggling with something similar.

So the first point to check off was to get a header working. I had a static page I had been working up for my new personal website that I've decided to use as my test bed for this process. This is going to be an interesting challenge because I'd planned to have a landing page which is separate from the normal homepage. Let's see how that works out but I've got a plan in case it doesn't go the way I think.

So here's the static version I was aiming to port over. The header block I was aiming to transfer

And here's the same code section incorporated into Grav. The header block after being transferred

I'm not showing any screenshots of the end result just yet, not ready to show anything off at this stage. So far so good though. Time to start working on the actual content section and see what kind of magic can happen there with different templates!

Bye for now. Scott.

Updates and Reorganising

Hey,

It's been a little while since my last post. There's a couple of reasons for that, I was sick during last week just after unplugging all my gear to rearrange things after painting. So not only was I sick, but all my gear was disconnected and I had no energy to plug it back in again. I've only just managed to get to the point of having the essentials plugged back in to post this.

The new lick of paint has come up better than I thought, the new colours work really well together. Now I just to need to get all my artworks and shelving back up on the walls (covering the newly minted paint...) and go through all the crap I moved out of here and get rid of stuff I no longer need or want because I've got too much stuff.

We've been going through some scope approval stuff at work so I haven't had time to look into more Grav things lately. That process is winding up soon though so I should be able to put some time back into it at the start of September. And don't think that I've forgotten about STATS. The minds been working on some ideas for that.

That's all for now. :)

Grav Development Part 1: Getting Started

Hi,

So I've been messing around with Grav for a few days now and believe I'm at a point I can start talking about where I thought I'd hit a wall but ended up finding a pretty easy workaround that made me feel like a bit of an idiot.

Firstly I should point out that Grav's Documentation is more than enough to get anyone going, the important thing is actually reading it and understanding everything. That's going to be the next challenge now I'm over the initial hurdle of getting themes up and running. Chapter 3 is where I've been hanging out most of the time I've been looking into it (when I haven't been just poking around the Admin Panel getting a feel for it). Having a read of the Twig info is actually helping me get my head around how that actually works, and I'm quite keen to see if I can things working for my new personal website how I want them to with what Twig and it's functions is looking like it's capable of.

First things first though, I had to get a theme up and running. So I followed the instructions on this page to get me started. This was where I hit my first hurdle. I could get DevTools installed through the ACP no problem, but how was I going to access the CLI? I could work it in for CMD Prompt to use PHP. Initially I abandoned the idea and just duplicated the Quark theme and started plugging away modifying stuff to my liking. But the more I thought about it the more I knew I wanted to know the whole process. So I came back to it and looked a bit further into it.

This is where the "ending up feeling like an idiot" comes into play. As I'm using Laragon for my local development environment the program comes preconfigured with a terminal emulator called Cmder, Linux/GNU based commands come at me! How I didn't think of that before was beyond me but now we're cooking with gas! Very important to note that the commands still need to be written with php leading the command, so what the documentation says, but with php in front (prepend? Is it prepend as the opposite of append?) to actually make it work. Like this:

C:\laragon\www\grav

λ php bin/gpm install devtools

You'll see in my screengrab below that I had a bit of trial and error before I figured that out. Then I went through the steps described in the documentation to create the new theme:

Test Theme Creation

Everything has come up roses, the new theme works nicely so now I can move on to the HTML and CSS and working out how Twig works with it. Fun times ahead!