Intro to HTML & CSS Class tomorrow at HackerLab Rocklin

It’s not too late to join my HTML & CSS class at HackerLab in Rocklin.

I will be guiding very beginners on a path to creating web pages with HTML, then some basic styling with CSS.

Here are some resources for the class:

W3C page on HTML elements:

Another way to look at the same info:

The brilliantly organized Wikipedia post on HTML Elements:

The less memorable or more complex tags:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=“en-US”>

Linking to styles and scripts outside the document (a local file or a CDN):

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/path/to/style.css" type="text/css">
<script src="path/to/script.js"></script>

Learn WordPress, HTML & CSS through Hacker Lab

I’ll be teaching three new classes with Hacker Lab in Rocklin!

This new facility is a great resource for western Placer County with cool maker stuff, co-working and a bunch of geeky brainiacs networking and producing awesomeness.

Nov. 14th, 2015, 12-3pm — Intro to WordPress
This 3-hour class will give you a first look at WordPress, the free content management system that is the most popular website platform in the world. If you’re thinking of creating a business or personal website, or someone has built a WordPress site for you, this class will help you understand what WordPress does, how it works, and gives you hands-on experience creating posts, pages, adding images or videos, and making links.

Nov. 21th, 2015, 12-3pm — HTML & CSS for WordPress Users
If you’ve been using WordPress for awhile, this class will help you understand the underlying HTML and CSS. This will help you change colors, understand links, as well as position and tweak content in your pages and posts.

Dec. 5th, 2015, 12-3pm — Intro to HTML & CSS
So you want to make web pages? This class will show you the basics of web page creation. All web pages start with HTML and CSS. In 3 hours you will make your first web pages and start to understand how they are presented in the browser. We will learn how images are embedded and links between pages work.


New Classes

On Monday, Oct 12th my new WordPress class starts at Sierra College Community Education. It runs for 4 weeks this time so you can get 8 hours to learn what WordPress is, why it’s a good choice for your website needs, how it works, and how to use it.

Also, coming in November: WordPress and HTML classes thru Hacker Lab!

Introduction to WordPress: Hands-on

Tuition: $89.00   Materials Cost: $20.00
Schedule Information:
Dates Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
10/12/2015-11/2/2015 Weekly – Mon 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM Roseville, Roseville Gateway  Map, Room: RG-224  Rich Webster


What is Code?

What is Code Screenshot

Have you ever wanted an overview of what programming is, without actually having to think too hard?

This article in by Paul Ford is a very good introduction. It is oriented toward a businessperson making decisions about what to spend money on, and that’s how it starts out. It’s pretty funny, if you can relate to that… but even if you can’t, skim that part and read on. You will get a very nice 10,000 foot view of what geeks mean when they say “that’s gonna take some work” with some nice chuckles along the way.


Deploying WordPress using Modern Version Control (not!)

So, I wrote this article in March of this year, and it is no longer true: It is now possible to do full version control for WordPress deployment. I hope to write about how, soon. Now it’s October. Maybe by 2016 it’ll be easy.

Here’s the old post, anyway:

A client recently asked:

Hi Rich,

Question for you.

We need to refine our process for pushing content from UAT to Production. Here are our requirements:

  • Near-instantaneous updates
  • Database downloads quickly. Currently, it takes ~ 20 minutes
  • Eliminate the need to download the full database every time. We perceive this as risk mitigation, the potential overwriting and downloading of the database, potentially multiple times a day.

Oh, how I wish I coulda said “No problem!”

The current state of affairs with WordPress deployment is ‘it’s not easy or obvious yet, but getting closer’. 

The problem with WordPress:
Over the last couple months I’ve looked for better tools. The problem is this: With WordPress, the database is integrated with plugins and themes, as well as content. Site, theme and plugin settings are stored in the DB. If you update a plugin or a theme or change any setting the DB is changed. So any change that is not done on the live server cannot be kept in sync with any dev server, without copying the live server to a dev server, make sure the live server is ‘frozen’ (no changes allowed), complete the work on dev, and then everything live gets overwritten by dev (or the dev server ‘becomes’ the live server, by pointing the main domain.

The Problem with Databases:
With a database, it’s ‘all or nothing’. There’s no version control tool I’ve ever heard of for syncing changes within a database. Since WordPress ‘mingles’ the content and settings everything fragile during transitions. In addition, URLs (links and images) are stored complete – including the domain, so a dev domain to live requires not just overwriting the DB, but then running a couple queries to change the domain throughout. Ugh!

The Past:
For several years, I have used a backup program (BackWPup) to dump my live site to DropBox. If I then work on the site locally or on a development server, I can do a backup, copy the wp-content directory, and grab the database dump and import it locally. Then I can make any changes, while freezing changes on the live server. Then I move the changed files back to the live server, and if there have been substantial database changes I replace the database on the live server, if they’re minor changes on the db, I might just repeat the steps on the live server (usually a setting or two).

This is really only suitable for development in large chunks, with major design changes that hit both the DB and the files. 

Content changes and additions are always done on the live server. For most people, updating WordPress, plugins and content is all done live, with a backup immediately prior (we hope). Also keep in mind, WordPress may receive priority patches for security without intervention by you.

The Ugly: This is not modern ‘version control’. It’s just what ‘everyone’ does.

There is now an alternative or two…

WP-Engine is a host that allows you to ‘clone’ your live site, make changes to the clone, then push the changes back to live with a couple button pushes… but still the live site must be ‘frozen’ while development is happening.

There is this new tool called “Revisr”

It supposedly makes version control simpler. It handles the database, too, even allowing control over syncing some tables, and not others — for instance, the “wp-options” table contains all the plugin, theme and WordPress settings (unless a plugin/theme has its own custom table). If your changes are all content-related, it can be left alone. If the changes don’t touch the content, you can ignore the ‘wp-posts’ table, etc.  It’s pretty new with only 8 reviews… but all 5-star reviews.

They should try it repeatedly on a clone dev and a clone live site, before trying it in production. They should develop a procedure that is fully tested and provide that procedure in documentation… why? Because you could easily wipe out content or settings in a permanently destructive way, just doing things in the wrong sequence.

There are some other projects out there, like Gitium,
which is still in Alpha…

and Deploy:

But neither of these seem to address the database problem.

…uses Capistrano which I have no experience with… but may also be a solution.

Here’s some further reading that kinda validates what I’m saying:

WordPress Class Coming in July

Learn WordPress and Blog Your Way to Success!

Eventbrite - Learn WordPress and Blog Your Way to Success!

WordPress is so popular that 20 percent of new websites on the Internet are made with it. They say it’s easy, they say it’s free… But getting started is both time consuming and can be confusing without a head start. This workshop lays it all out so you can get started.

This class, on two consecutive Saturdays, will teach you how WordPress works, why it’s a great tool for business or personal use, and how it works with social media, search engine optimization and the Internet in general. 

You will need a laptop or notebook computer with WiFi. Windows Laptop rentals are available with prior arrangement through Construction Science.

I will supply a blank site to work with. You will learn how to select a theme, add plugins, create pages and posts, and add images and YouTube videos, and much more.

The event is limited to 7 people. It will run 9am to 4pm with an hour for lunch, two Saturdays in a row.

Optionally, you can attend the first class only, which explains what WordPress is, how it works for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), connects to Social Media, what the software does, and how it does it. The second class will provide more hands-on experience, and gets into detail on how to modify the appearance of your site.

1 Day:   $90
2 Days: $180


Construction Science, LLC
Rocklin Professional Building
5701 Lonetree Blvd, Suite 319
Rocklin, CA 95765

[ MAP ]


Eventbrite - Learn WordPress and Blog Your Way to Success!

The “Web” is 25 Years Old (depending when you count from…)

It’s 2014 so now I can say I have been building sites for 20 years! When I started, the web was brand new. Sorta. It depends on when you start counting.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee should know for sure, because he started it.

Anyone interested in the history of the Internet, nay, the history of the world should read this post by Tim. It’s like if the guy who invented the wheel sat down to write about it, and we could all read his impressions. Sir TB-L also mentions some detail of the issues the web faces going forward… which is a big deal; carriers like Comcast are messing with it, the NSA is messing with it, some places don’t have it, and in the US it’s pretty dang slow (the US is 38th in the world on Internet speed)

Yet, because we might remember modems, pretty darn fast. It used to take 10 minutes to download a 300 pixel-wide image. Now we watch full-screen video… so much that data carriers are starting to throttle data from source like NetFlix. Also, mobile is catching up. People are using mobile devices to access the web at a rate approaching, and soon to surpass that of the desktop and laptop machines we’ve had for years.

1.8 billion users is a big deal… it may be worth paying attention.