Posted 12.18.2009

How I taught myself to program

I’m often asked, “How do you know all this stuff?” Usually, I just chuckle and say “Oh, I just I picked it up.” This time, instead of laughing my geekiness off, I thought I would share. Most of the stuff I know, I taught myself.

Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign

I’m a huge fan of You can subscribe for $25/month, which gets you access to her entire video library. I’ve learned so many tips and trips for using Adobe products that I’ve quickly become the go to person on my team for “How do you do __________?”


My very first job was with a web company. I came in, knowing close to nothing. They were very gracious and patient with me. Within the first couple of weeks, I was handed a basic introduction to HTML book. Read this. –So I don’t remember exactly what the book was… but, I’ve written a basic crash course of my own that should at least give you a starting place.


NOTE: This book concentrates on the concepts of CSS 2. I know people are pushing for CSS 3, however, I’ve yet to really sink my teeth into it, because it’s not supported across the board.


Kevin Yank does a fantastic job of explaining code in a way that makes sense. This book will help you with all the essentials you need for understanding PHP and MySQL.

If you’re looking for more advanced PHP (i.e. Object Oriented programming), I also read a good chunk of Harry Fuecks’ The PHP Anthology. However, I’ll warn you: he’s a large contributor for PEAR. I was disappointed by how much he relied on the PEAR libraries instead of rolling up his sleeves and actually explaining PHP.


jQuery is a JavaScript library. Other popular libraries that you may have heard of are MooTools or Prototype. I don’t know what prompted me to pick jQuery, but I’ve been so pleased with the ease of use. It was far easier to learn than what I expected.


I watched the Flash Actionscript 3.0 videos and then use the Flash Quickstart and O’Reilly’s Essential Actionscript 3.0 for reference.


If you’re not familiar with CodeIgniter, it is a PHP framework. A lot of the functionality that would normally take a few hours to set up is already been built in. Recently, I’ve realized that I’m a control freak when it comes to writing code. I love the fact that I don’t have to give up any of this control, but can move ten times faster in the building process.

The hardest part for me, in learning CodeIgniter, was wrapping my mind around the MVC model. Once you get that, it’s pretty straight forward.

One of the reasons that I love CodeIgniter is Ellis Labs has done such a fantastic job in writing documentation. (thank you!) So between reading through their site, forums, and other people’s tutorials, I got up to speed pretty quickly.

Expression Engine

Jason Irelan has done a fantastic video screencast on Expression Engine. — Granted Ellis Lab just released EE2.0, but Jason’s already written an ebook for that too! I haven’t read it but, I’ve already bought it.


The other day, I shared my entire WordPress collection. As I mentioned at the top of that post, Digging into WordPress, has proved be the best resource I have found, to date, on WordPress.

Movable Type

This one is a little bit harder. As I mentioned in my CMS comparison post, it’s been hard for me to find ACCURATE resources. On their site, Movable Type has a Designer’s guide that is so-so, at best. Even then, I’ve found some of the documentation to be wrong and definitely lacking. The best resource I’ve found has been co-workers that have run into the same issues I have. (helps you alot, I know.)

My next undertaking: Building an iPhone app

So, I guess it’s pretty obviously, I LOVE to learn. Once I feel like I have a good grip on a subject, I look for another challenge. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to write an iPhone app. The syntax is a little different than what I’m used to, coming at it from a PHP background. But, I’m finding that my knowledge of Flash helps more than anything else.

One final shout out

A resource that is often overlooked is Google. I don’t think I could code without it. You don’t think about it, because it is the middle man, but it is an invaluable resource.

Posted 12.15.2009

My Entire WordPress Collection

I’m a digital pack rat! I love collecting links, images, and little nuggets of information. Today, I thought I’d dive into my Delicious account and share my WordPress collection with you.


A few weeks ago I wrote a post that compared multiple CMSes (Content Management Systems.) WordPress was one of them. I talked about how the community was over saturated. There is so much information out there! I don’t know who to trust. However, I recently found an ebook that Chris Coyier helped write:

Digging into WordPress
It is hands down, the best comprehensive resource that I have found to date on WordPress. His ebook is more than worth it’s weight in gold.

Elliot Jay Stocks has written some quality WordPress blog posts. His WordPress Theme, Starkers, can be downloaded for free. It is a fantastic starting point for creating your own custom themes.


These by the date I found them, with the most recent at the top:

Advanced Power Tips for WordPress Template Developers: Reloaded – Smashing Magazine

22 Latest Exceptional WordPress Hacks | Tutorials | instantShift

The Business of Selling WordPress Themes: Part 1 | Design Shack

Creating a Static Front Page « WordPress Codex

WordPress News, Hacks, Tipps, Tutorials, Plugins and Themes – WP Engineer

Ask the Expert – Using WordPress to Build Large Scale Websites with Derek Herman | Design Informer

Stupid WordPress Tricks • Perishable Press

10 Tutorials to Take Your WordPress Development Skills to the Next Level

Advanced Power Tips For WordPress Template Developers – Smashing Magazine

20+ Brand New and Incredibly Useful WordPress Plugins – Nettuts+

Excellent Tutorials to Utilize the Power of WordPress and Facebook

10 WordPress Plugins To Boost Up Your Theme You Have Ever Known | AEXT.NET

My WordPress Cheat Sheet

How To Change WordPress Permalink Structure with Permalink Redirect Plugin | SYP

10 Useful Text Enhancing Plugins for WordPress | Web Design Ledger

The Autopsy Of WordPress As CMS With 25 Great WP Plugins & Designs | Onextrapixel – Showcasing Web Treats Without Hitch

How to Create a WordPress Theme from Scratch – Nettuts+

How to Write a WordPress Plugin | Devlounge

13 Helpful Cheat Sheets for Building WordPress Themes | Web Design Ledger

9 WordPress Hacks to Encourage User Interactivity | Vandelay Design Blog

10 Useful WordPress Coding Techniques « Smashing Magazine

How to Set Up Custom WordPress Category Templates in Four Easy Steps

#41: WordPress as a CMS

30 Incredibly Useful WordPress Hacks | Tutorial9

List of all WP action hooks and filters || Adam Brown, BYU Political Science

Dissection of a WordPress theme: Part 1 | Urban Giraffe

How To Create a WordPress Theme: The Ultimate WordPress Theme Tutorial

10+ WordPress plugins for developers

13 Great WordPress Plugins To Power Up Your Admin Area | Pro Blog Design

300+ Resources to Help You Become a WordPress Expert | Webdesigner Depot

7 Very Simple Tips and Tricks for getting More out of WordPress – Inspect Element

15 Unconventional Uses of WordPress in Action

Create astonishing iCal-like calendars with jQuery | Stefano Verna

15 Resources for Setting Up an E-Commerce Site with WordPress

Create A WordPress Theme: setting the working environment | Designer Daily

Big List of Ping Servers – Joe Levi

12 Essential Security Tips and Hacks for WordPress

30 WordPress Development Tutorials | Pro Blog Design

WordPress Configuration Tricks

20+ WordPress Recipes (Codes)

10 Social Media Plugins for your WordPress Blog | Social Media | Tutorial Blog » So you want to create WordPress themes huh?

In the Woods – Create an Options Page For Your WordPress Theme

WordPress theming for beginners, an introduction | Design Reviver

22 Mixed Quality WordPress Hacks | Tutorials | instantShift

10 WordPress Plugins That Will Increase Your Search Engine Ranking

10 Things You Need To Know About WordPress 2.8 |

10 WordPress Hacks to Make Your Life Even Easier

10 WordPress Plugins Guaranteed to Save You Time

The Ultimate Guide to Setting up WordPress after an Install | Pro Blog Design

40 Exceptional “CMS Enabling” WordPress Plugins | Noupe

Custom Fields Hacks For WordPress | How-To | Smashing Magazine

In the Woods – 9 Useful Snippets for Your WordPress Functions

In the Woods – WordPress for Designers: Day 14

110+ Massive WordPress Video Tutorial Collection | 1stwebdesigner – Love In Design

101 Techniques for a Powerful CMS using WordPress | Noupe

Download “Gallery”: A Free WordPress Theme | Freebies | Smashing Magazine

15 Impressive and Beautiful Uses of WordPress | Web Design Ledger

Developing a WordPress Theme | Dezinerfolio

12 WordPress Plugins for Theme Development | Vandelay Design Blog

Shopp — plugin ecommerce for wordpress

WordPress › All in One SEO Pack « WordPress Plugins

Working with Custom Fields in WP | Self Conclusion

20 WordPress Tricks to Improve Your Blog

15 Useful WordPress Tricks to Make Your Theme Even Better –

The TTFTitles WordPress Plugin @ WordPress Plugins

10 Steps To Protect The Admin Area In WordPress | Developer’s Toolbox | Smashing Magazine

Flutter : WordPress CMS Plugin by Freshout

WordPress How-To: Styling Author Comments | Spoonfed Design

Info: 8 Useful SQL Hacks for WordPress | WordPress Blogging | Blog Perfume

Plugin: Organize Series Posts In WordPress | WordPress Blogging | Blog Perfume

10 Killer WordPress Hacks | How-To | Smashing Magazine

WordPress Tutorial: Category Trick for WP 2.7 | Vandelay Website Design

5 Amazing New WordPress 2.7 Features – NETTUTS

Interesting resources to add new features to WordPress

15 Useful Tools for WordPress Bloggers – Six Revisions

Function Web Design & Development [ Blog ] » How-To: Taking WordPress One Step Further

Building Custom WordPress Theme

10 Useful RSS-Tricks and Hacks For WordPress | Developer’s Toolbox | Smashing Magazine

DISQUS | Turn Blog Comments into a Webwide Discussion with a Powerful Comment System

The Very First Steps After a Fresh WordPress Install

Most Wanted WordPress Hacks: 11 New Requests | Noupe

100+ WordPress Video Tutorials, from Basic to Advanced : Speckyboy – Web Design, Web Development and Graphic Design Resources

10 Steps to a Client Friendly WordPress CMS |

How I Learned To Build WordPress Themes | Design Reviver

40 Great Web/Graphic Design Resources | Think Design

WPCandy – WordPress Reference Guide

Color Paper: A Free WordPress Theme | Freebies | Smashing Magazine

Top 10 Tutorials for Developing WordPress Themes | Vandelay Website Design

Function Web Design & Development [ Blog ] » Tutorial: Creating Custom Write Panels in WordPress

5 Trends of Popular WordPress Blogs- Part1

Ultimate Plugins For WordPress | I’m Blogging That!

How to Disassemble a Free WordPress Theme Part 2 | Blog design Blog for Blog Designers

Automating My WordPress Workflow — WPCandy — WordPress Themes, Plugins, Tips, and Tricks

WordPress Plugins To Use On A Design Blog

78 Unique WordPress Themes – CssLeak | CSS Gallery, Showcase of beautiful Web Design

How to Create a WordPress Theme from Scratch – NETTUTS

All In One SEO Pack WordPress Plugin | Semper Fi Web Design

10 Checks to the Perfect WordPress theme – Yoast – Tweaking Websites

How To Create WordPress Themes From Scratch Part 1 » Themetation

13 WordPress Plugins You Probably Don’t Use But Should – Opensource, Free and Useful Online Resources for Designers and Developers

25+ Essential Articles For Every WordPress Beginner

8 WordPress Plugins for Page Management – Mashable

WordPress Archive that *works*: StepxStep Guide and Plugins

WordPress Developer’s Toolbox | Developer’s Toolbox | Smashing Magazine

The Top 12 RSS Plugins for WordPress

45+ Must See WordPress themes

60+ Unusual WP Blog Designs

Powerfull List of WordPress Lifesavers Plugins

Mastering Your WordPress Theme Hacks and Techniques

Most Desired WordPress Hacks: 11 Common Requests and Fixes

Build Your Own URL Shortening and Redirection Service in WordPress | WebDevLounge | design, development, SEO and wordpress | articles, discussion and community

WordPress › WP-CMS Post Control « WordPress Plugins

WordPress CMS modifications » Getting started

How to use WordPress as a Truly Customized CMS (Multiple Headers, Footers, Sidebars and more!) | Web Designer + Front-End Web Developer | Selene M. Bowlby

Five WordPress “CMS Enabling” Plugins « Andy Peatling on WordPress

Things To Consider When Using WordPress as a CMS | Devlounge

WordPress Theme Hacks

User:Matt/WordPress as CMS « WordPress Codex

WordPress Lessons « WordPress Codex

Photopress Theme for WordPress

Top 10 WordPress Plugins | Blog Oh Blog