Recently, I challenged myself to be my own WordPress developer in order to get my site relaunched. Sure, I keep up with HTML, CSS, and know my way around a little PHP if I can pick things apart in existing code. But I’m a designer at heart and have no certificate of WordPress mastery. After unsucessfully arm wrestling my code editor to solve a seemingly easy code issue, I decided to use Bountify to help with a solution. I had to let go of my isolation so I could learn.
I took it upon myself in the recent redesign of my website to optimize my site for the best interactive experience (i.e., optimized for people), to be device agnostic, and get my hands dirty with design and code. I wanted to do things from scratch without any help. I planned for the information architecture, the layout, and visual theme. I learned the proper techniques for creating a child theme (which took longer than I anticipated), found the php functions that needed changing, and determined what I had to do to transform my pencil sketches into a real website and blog. I love the challenge of problem solving, but there comes a point when the payoff of learning or troubleshooting something beyond my skillset becomes a complete waste of time, especially if it won’t serve me in the future.
After getting all the site templates created, it came time to sort out all the bugs I had created as a novice theme developer. I did well searching Stack Exchange and WordPress forums for most of my answers, and felt like I had a handle on editing things to suit my new theme. But I had one issue that I could not solve because it involved several interrelated modifications that seemed over my head. Each time I tried something, it broke something else. I looked high and low but nothing did the trick. So I gave up. I gave up on doing things alone without personal assistance.
When an anonymous user supplied some code that worked without me having to struggle through it, the compounding hours I spend on the one issue all seemed worthless. In my book, that is success. Not that I can do things all by myself, but that I can rely others’ knowledge and assistance to fix an issue that is easy because of their background.
Being my own devil’s advocate, a downside to letting someone else do things is that you may have a barrier for solving future issues that were caused by the code changes. If it remains foreign to you, you won’t know why it affected something else. So knowing why others do things can also be a big help. In my particular case, I was using several different snippets of modified code I had collected from disparate sources which caused pagination to get messed up, and I had to analyze what was going on in order to search for a relevant query.