The First Big Project

Built from scratch

This is a post about blogging software using another piece of blogging software.

I’ve never built a WordPress theme from scratch before 2 months ago. I’d hacked a lot of themes, but had always considered building one to be an intimidating challenge, and when I started coding with WordPress about 2 years ago, I could never see myself actually sitting down to write a theme from scratch. Life happens, though.

2 months ago I was approached by a friend/colleague of mine who I’ve become closer with over the years. He was interested in him and I working on building a WordPress site for a news department of the local TV station where he’s employed. I obliged, and we sat down to start drafting what would soon be my summer.

We knew pretty quickly that building our WordPress theme from scratch would have a lot of payoff in the end, but would take a lot of time to build. Little did we know just how long it would take us to build such a product.

As I sit down to write this article, 2 months later, we have still not finished the theme. Why? We’ve run into a number of roadblocks here and there, all of which have contributed to my own personal knowledge as a web designer, and have helped me learn what I need to avoid when I sit down to create my next project.

So in that sense, I guess you could say that there has been some takeaway from building the WordPress theme.

Throughout the whole design process, there have been a number of moments when my friend and I have discovered something that we thought worked really well, things that didn’t work so well, and countless tweaks that needed to be made.

Above all though, nothing stood out to me more when my friend and I visited the completed “Single Post” page and upon seeing the full-width fluid video smack-dab in the center, he said to me:

“Noel, what I love about this single page is that full-width video. It really has its own inner meaning to it that says ‘We’re here to watch a video, and BOOM, there it is.’”

It’s moments like that that inspire you to keep creating, keep designing, and keep going with your work, so that you can drive more and more people to have the same thought that my co-designer had when he looked at that video, only with a regular viewer, the content that they’re seeing requires no explanation or thinking, and that’s when you know you’ve done it right.

That said, there was a lot to take away from building a WordPress theme, and now that my co-designer and I are nearing the end, I can say with confidence that I am pleased with my work on what I’m considering to be my first major project.

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