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[Article] JWSE Year 2 - moving forward yet another year

Jimi Wikman

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Today is my birthday. It is also the first birthday of this website after I converted it to use Invision Community. This last year have been filled with ups and downs, not just in life but the entire world seem to be having trouble finding it's footings. As I move into year two of the latest incarnation of this website it is time to find that footing again, at least for this website.

When I started the conversion last year it was just another experiment. A way to try out the good old Invision Community again. Something I have done on and off since 2002 or so, but never really stuck with. What I found was that Invision Community was working very well for me now. The many years had matured Invsion Community as a product and as I got deeper into the template system it really appealed to me as it allowed me a creative freedom that not even Wordpress can match.

In this last year I have created hundreds of blogposts, hundreds of videos have been added and I have recreated my entire swedish blog again. I have built several databases such as the Awesome People section and My Projects section. I have also had a few setbacks such as loosing all graphics for some strange mishap at my hosting company and also had my account ravaged by virus due to the presence of my old Wordpress site. This has since been corrected and I am now on a new webhost and I have setup an AWS hosting for images (which also cost me dearly due to a script malfunction, but that has since been corrected).

Over all it has been a good year, filled with exploration and learning. My passion for front end development have been reignited and my passion for design has also returned. The writing comes and goes, but overall I feel good about it and i feel that it is far easier to write using Invision Community than it is to use Wordpress. It suits me better I think.


Moving forward

Last year I wrote some goals for this website in the form of short term, medium term and long term goals. These goals are still valid and while I have created the databases and I have a design that works for at the moment, I will rebuild this design again as part of the 4.5 upgrade.

Short Term Goals

My short term goals is to upgrade the site to version 4.5. With that comes some new features, but the main goal is to reset the structure and design  bit. I have played around and experimented a bit in the last year and it is time to clean that up now. So the first short term goal I have is to build a new design, recreating the current design for the 4.5 version. This includes building some new templates that I need for certain databases, but also organize the databases properly.

One of those templates I want to build is to recreate the block design I currently use for this blog. It is based from a purchased application and as much as I like it, I do not need the functionality. I also want to build a design I can understand fully and can control rather than relying on someone elses design. I also want to experiment a bit and use css grid, flexbox and maybe even currentColor, which will be superfun I think.

The second template is a listing template that I will use for things like My Education and if I decide to add a reference feature, like the CSS reference on w3schools. It will be a very simple template, but very useful for different types of listings.

Another short term goal I am working on right now is to update all the projects in My Projects and rebuild My Gallery section.

Medium Term Goals

The medium term goals will be to create the information for guest blogging and about this site.  About this site is not just for the visitors as I also need to define what this site is for myself. I also need to figure out who I build the site for so I know what to create for them. For this purpose I am starting to create sort of a personas gallery for myself, which is actually already helping me focusing the content a bit.

Guest blogging is probably not going to take off that much in year 2, but I still want to make sure it is easy to understand how to do it. Having a page and instructions on what it means to guest blog is just a first step however. I still need to build a few things to make it valuable for the guest bloggers so I can repay them for their contributions. I have create a new user group just for authors and I am considering to build a new database for them as well.

With the My Projects on it's feet I will take another look at My Roles. I realize that it is quite easy to build a CV - like structure by connecting to the My Projects database. So I will build a new template for this later this fall and combine that with acual CV's as time permit.

Long Term Goals

The long term goals for year 2 will be to create more content that is helpful. What I mean by that is that much of what I write here is mostly for me. It is news that I think is interesting and my own thoughts mostly. While that is good and fine, I also want to make sure that I add content that can help and inspire. Things like short tutorials, downloadable graphics and inspiring posts on new tools or practices is probably more useful for a visitor, so I will focus a bit extra on that in year 2. It takes a bit more time and energy, but I think it will be worth it.

I get a lot of questions on how I built this site, so I am going to write more about that. I know how hard it can be to get started with Invision Community as the information is a bit scattered, so if I can help people get started, then that would be great.

Overall the long time goal is still to provide useful information and resources to make people want to come here. The long time goal is also to use this site as a way to keep my toes wet in the front end development area and the design area primarely.

These long term goals always balance against me having fun. This site can never be a source of stress, that would defeat it's puprpose. Slow and steady progress over perfection as time permit is key. As is doing this with love, not obligation because this is a website created to satisfy my need to write and create. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Onwards to year 2 with new adventures and discoveries!

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