in Learning, Reflection

Recent Learning: Thursday February 8, 2018

Learning Log and Learning Radar Update: Tracking Daily Progress

I’ve been actually keeping up with my learning updates! I’ve been using my Hugo notebook subdomain to take quick notes and then revisit and craft into a post for my main site. On Tuesday I also added a learning radar to my notebook where I track topics that are, well, on my radar. This has been a great workflow and it encourages me to both document and to continue learning new things.

This post will include summaries of both Tuesday’s learning radar and today’s learning log. Let’s start with the radar. But first, some jump links:

Click to teleport to learning radar section.

Click to teleport to learning log section.

Things On My Radar

First, a quick distinction. The radar posts are collections of notes for technology, concepts, or other things I want to learn more about. Basically they are a way for me to actively take notes while discovering things, but before embarking on learning.

If the learning logs are the reflection phase, this represents the discovery phase.

Alright, here’s some new trends and tools that I’ve been encountering lately and want to dive into.

Hugo Build Tools and Peripheral Things

Netlify

I’ve now seen this mentioned in nearly every single Hugo boilerplate out there. Don’t think I need it for my current workflow, but this is something I’ve been encountering regularly with regard to Hugo. Will check this out.

Hugulp

There have been many Hugo boilerplate/build tools created recently. I read a bit about this one tonight and I’m intrigued by this workflow. I think Gulp brings a lot to the table for asset management, one area that I couldn’t quite get a handle on when I first was using Hugo.

Atlas

Another Hugo boilerplate setup. Seems like these are definitely worth checking out. Not sure which is best for my needs.

Forestry

CMS for Hugo/Jekyll with version control support. Investigate as something to recommend to newer learners who may not be comfortable with the level of hacking that Hugo still requires?

JavaScript and Peripheral Things

Headless CMS

Headless CMS overview and resource link: relates to JAMstack, Netlify, and Hugo.

Next.JS 3.0 and Headless WordPress…

Details on pairing React (NextJS) with headless WordPress via WP REST API. This post outlines the pros/cons of this as well as experiences taking this setup to production.

GraphQL Essential Training with Emmanuel Henri – Lynda course

GraphQL has popped up several times recently and I’ve added this to my list of Lynda courses to watch/take. Relatively short (1h54min) and created by a course author that creates high quality content.

WordPress Workflow

I need to fix the microformats2 markup on my site. My h-card is broken (leaking spans) and my entire page is showing up in an h-feed instead of just the post content. This is breaking brid.gy and causing lots of other issues.

One thing that’s been at the top of my to-do list for two months is to setup a WordPress workflow (develop locally -> push to production) that is similar to my Hugo workflow. I haven’t done this yet and this is even more timely now.

I love the WordPress backend. I’m somewhat leaning toward a headless CMS model at this point, but need to do more research.

Here’s what I know:

  • I need to fix either my IndieWeb supported theme, the IndieWeb plugin, the PHP template, or all of the above
  • I’ve had the microformats on my site break 3 times in 4 months.
  • Too many moving pieces -> things break when something updates
  • This is tricky to do without a local development environment
  • I enjoy the workflow I have for Hugo. My notebook -> refinement workflow has resulted in much more content being published
  • I need to reconcile all of these points and come up with a solution that increases my productivity.

Relevant resource: Converting WordPress Themes for Microformats 2 – Part 1 – David Shanske

Bookmarked David’s post and will use as reference when I start digging into these issues.

Other Interesting Things

Mozilla: Project Things

Goal to create a “decentralized ‘Internet of Things.'” Moving away from silo services for IoT platforms and to make a connected devices infrastructure more similar to the decentralized, open web.

This is pretty interesting. Going to do a bit more research on this… Lots of potential!

Visual Studio Code vs. Atom

Visual Studio Code: the editor I didn’t think I needed

  • Been hearing a lot of praise lately for VSCode. Checking out the pros/cons and why people seem to like it so much recently. Performance seems to be a pretty big reason.

Learning Log: Tracking Daily Progress

And now onto the learning log! It’s been nice to view these side by side because I’m able to see how well I pursue things that appear on my radar.

I’ve managed to track this all pretty well so far! In doing this, I realized that there are some days where I’m not dedicating enough time to discovering/learning new things, so there won’t necessarily be an entry for every day.

I also added a new type of post: Learning Radar. If the learning logs are the reflection phase, this represents the discovery phase.

Anyway, here’s a quick entry about things I’ve learned/am learning. Instead of being sorted by media type (blog/article or video/course), I’m going to lump this under the content topic.

JAMstack and the Headless CMS

On Tuesday’s learning radar/log entries I mentioned that I’ve become intrigued by Netlify, JAMstack, and headless CMSes. I started doing a bit of research about this and am going to share my current understanding/notes.

I’m in the process of watching two videos about JAMstack and a new trend in CMSes/web development. I’m still working through these and making observations/learning, but wanted to share the two videos I’m watching so far:

The Rise of the JAMstack CMS – Matt Biilmann

JAMstack Tutorial – Full site using Netlify & Hugo

The first is a conference presentation by Matt Biilman, the founder of Netlify and the second is an introduction about how to integrate Hugo and Netlify by using Netlify’s Hugo Boilerplate, Victor Hugo. I’m interested in exploring this as I’ve often wondered about the potential integration of a CMS style platform into Hugo as a way to make it more beginner friendly for users who expect/need/want a CMS experience.

WordPress security issues this week have made me think about all the reasons why I was against having my personal site run on WP. I originally had my reasons for switching – mostly IndieWeb related. I’m still evaluating the pros/cons of this decision.

WordPress Version Control

One of my ongoing goals has been to implement version control for my WordPress site. I decided that IF I keep using WordPress – and honestly, I’m still unsure at this point – that I need to implement a better workflow using version control with Git/GitHub.

I still need to set up the actual development -> production workflow, but I did manage to implement version control for my content. This was something I’ve been thinking about for a the last week, mostly because I wanted to find a way to version all of our content at DHF. My goal is to have all of our WP content living in the DHF organization on GitHub and figure out how to version all of the posts/lessons/etc. in repos, especially since we have more content creators on staff. This is also because I want to determine some best practices for scale, so that was motivating me to find some solutions.

I found two: VersionPress and WordPress GitHub Sync. First, I ended up installing the latter on my site and after fixing a few config mistakes, have it up and running. I exported all my existing posts to a repo. Each post is a separate Markdown file with Yaml frontmatter containing post meta-data, such as publication date. I’m happy with this for now but need to do further testing. I believe that it hooks into save_post in WordPress, so I want to play around more with this since the only thing I’ve done so far is export all my current content.

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