5 Important Things to follow while developing a website

Good and concise – saving for my Web Design students.

TheNerdTalks - Unleash the Nerd Inside You

web_development

With the evolution of Internet in 21st century, web development field has seen a tremendous amount of uprising. Websites what we are seeing today were used to look very different 17 years ago. Then people used web only for documentation and information. To get a clear idea, it’s better to visit the first website which was built by the creator of web, Tim Berners-Le. The website went live on August 6, 1991.

Websites developed at that time were just an HTML page with collection of text and links. CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) was also developed years after the first website was launched. With basic styling in web pages, websites began to have colors in it. Though, websites were still looking very plain. Wayback Machine shows how amazon website was looking in the year 2000. And we all know how the website looks now in 2017.

There are several factors a…

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Award-winning videos from 2016

A video I shot and co-produced with Pueblo Chieftain reporter Peter Roper won second place in the multimedia category of the annual Better Newspaper Contest at the 2017 Colorado Press Association convention. “Remembering Hiroshima’s Empty Streets” featured World War II U.S. Army veteran Bruce Elson recounting his experiences in the Japanese city of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb explosion that helped end the war. The video was edited in Adobe Premiere CC.

I also edited “Columbus Day: Pride & protest in Pueblo,” which won second place in the breaking news video category and was shot by reporter Jon Pompia. The video was edited in iMovie for Mac.

I’m also proud to add that The Pueblo Chieftain was named Best Website-Daily in its category!

Now I Know: WordPress page template customization and more

I learned a lot about customizing WordPress Page templates over the past week while making some changes requested by our advertising team to their dedicated contact form.

We use a self-hosted WordPress site, with lots of help from the aptly named Formidable plugin, to give us flexible and powerful responsive contact forms, for everything from news tips to letters to the editor and more. (In the past, we’ve even used this to collect votes for the annual Best of Pueblo ballots, but our promotions team is using a third-party partner’s tool for that now. It’s OK … really.)

Back to the project at hand: Our business development manager wanted a more dynamic, and eye-pleasing, alternative to the functional but boxy form page they had before. A particular challenge was not only rotating between multiple photos, something I had to learn how to do (but has taught me a lot more about PHP, and storing and using variables, than I’ve managed to learn on my own impetus so far; can some programming progress be far behind?), but then using CSS to impose the form itself, generated by a Formidable shortcode, on top of the image.

The result (click for live example):

reach-more-customers

The only actual content in the WordPress “Page” is the Formidable shortcode; everything else, from the headings and randomized background images to the promotional copy and “FAQ” links below, is hard-coded onto the custom Page template file. I may alter that eventually, but for now I was looking for maximum control to meet the “client’s” desired specifications — and I needed it fast. The content of the Page isn’t expected to change much, if at all, ever.

Fortunately, I’ve become quite familiar with child themes over the last year with my work on Nerdvana, so I know my new Page template customizations are safe from future parent theme updates. (I wish “child plugins” were a thing — I haven’t figured out the best way to update-proof plugin customizations, but that’s another matter entirely.)

Shout-out to my digital media/graphic design intern Severino Martinez from Pueblo Community College (soon to be Colorado State University-Pueblo) for help optimizing these beautiful background images in PhotoShop for this project.

Next stop: wherever you say …

What can we in the print sphere learn from public radio’s ‘internet’ moment?

Recently it was fascinating — and, I’ll admit, a bit entertaining — to watch public radio news insiders publicly struggling over the same digital media dilemmas those of us in the newspaper industry have faced for so long. Continue reading “Next stop: wherever you say …”

It’s a Star Wars life

Writer Jayson Peters poses with a small sample of his 'Star Wars' toy collection circa 1983.

Do you hear what I hear? The Force awakens merry movie nostalgia

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Shoppers lining up and camping out for exclusive merchandise, humming familiar tunes and bathed in the warm glow of red, green and blue lightsabers.

Oh yeah, it’s Christmas. Nerd Christmas.

The release of a new “Star Wars” movie isn’t just a special occasion. It’s a big deal, but it’s so much more than that. This is a new holiday. And with a new space fantasy adventure expected every year now under Disney’s leadership of Lucasfilm, we’re looking at an annual tradition inaugurated by the latest episode in the Skywalker saga, “The Force Awakens.”

By the time you read this, I’ll have seen the new movie, officially opening today, at least once with my 11-year-old son. He was born just as the last “Star Wars” trilogy — those polemical prequels — was fading into the binary sunset of Tatooine. I was 6 years old in 1983 when “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi” brought George Lucas’ original trilogy to an end. In addition to wrapping up the cliffhanger ending of 1980’s “Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back,” “Jedi” has the distinction of being the first midnight movie my parents ever let me attend. It’s also the last midnight opening I remember seeing until 1999, when “Episode I — The Phantom Menace” kicked off the prequel trilogy that continued with “Episode II — Attack of the Clones” (2002) and “Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” (2005).

Writer Jayson Peters poses with a small sample of his 'Star Wars' toy collection circa 1983.
Writer Jayson Peters poses with a small sample of his ‘Star Wars’ toy collection circa 1983.

That’s enough about them. Back to ’83.

I was over the moon of Endor, not just because I was seeing the new movie, but mainly because, for once, I got to tag along with my two older brothers and their cool high school friends to Phoenix’s Chris-Town Mall and stand in a line so long it seemed it would never end. I remember making up, and then loudly inflicting upon others, some truly unforgivable lyrics to John Williams’ epic “Star Wars” score. Even more embarrassing, I recall telling everyone in that line who would listen that the “Return” in the movie’s title must mean that the spectral Obi-Wan Kenobi would be coming back from the dead to put an end to Darth Vader and the evil Empire.

That sounds silly now, but I think my brothers planted the idea in my head, the same way they had me convinced that Jawas dwelt in the shrubbery surrounding our neighborhood park’s golf course, and that helpful Christmas elves lived in the utility closet under the escalator that eventually carried us up to the mall’s United Artists cinema.

That’s par for the course when you’re the youngest of three boys.

This time next year we’ll be lining up to see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” which will depart from the now-familiar trilogy format to present a side tale of the Rebel spies who stole the Death Star plans that were so central to 1977’s original “Star Wars” (or “Episode IV — A New Hope,” as it was later retitled by a tinkering George Lucas, who was just getting started when it comes to controversial director’s cuts but is now out of the picture after selling his company to Disney for billions of dollars).

It looks like we’ll get an anthology of these “Star Wars Stories” every other year, alternating with the main, numbered episodic Saga films. Even now, casting directors are zeroing in on a young Han Solo for another such prequel, and rumors are flying of a Boba Fett film in the future.

Disney’s Lucasfilm seems to be determined to keep “Star Wars” going forever — a true “never-ending story,” to risk mixing movie metaphors. Years of original books, comics and animated TV series like “Clone Wars” and the new “Rebels” have kept the Force alive for fans, but the big screen is where these big adventures really belong. It will mean high points and low points, but it’s a fantastic gift to those who have long dreamt of escaping again to that galaxy far, far away.

Happy holidays. And may the Force be with you . . . always.

Jayson Peters is The Chieftain’s digital media director, a pop culture blogger and lifelong ‘Star Wars’ fan whose parents had to carry him from the theater screaming when he got scared by Darth Vader sometime in 1977. Follow him on Twitter: @jaysonpeters.