I’m happy to say that – after lots of hours of reading books, searching through google, and pounding my head on the desk – this is my first entry to my shiny new blog!

In December of 2011, I gave myself a challenge to learn about the web and I went about it by learning Django (by my friends Tim and Red’s recommendations), HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Keep in mind that I was starting from absolute scratch – I knew NOTHING about the web. The closest I had come to knowing anything about websites was back in the late 90’s when I was a freshman in high school, where I built a simple page with an obnoxious background and random words in different states of size, color, boldness, italicization, and seizure-inducing effects. Fast forward to now, where everything standards-wise in the web has changed, so I essentially had to begin with a blank canvas. 

One big advantage of beginning with Django was that it was a Python based framework. I taught myself Python for work so that was one thing that wasn’t completely foreign. Everything else was learning about LAMP stacks and all kinds of terms that were extremely foreign to me, but every journey starts with a single step. I asked a lot of questions, started to get the in’s and out’s of things and I picked my first horse to mount: Django. Django represented the back end of web technology, which was the easiest for me to grasp since it had nothing to do with front-end technologies (HTML/CSS/JavaScript… basically making things pretty)… web folks, pardon my over-simplification. Django spit stuff out to the browser, so all I had to learn was how to write an output. Easy enough, right? I was lucky that Django had a great tutorial and I was able to get the basics. 

Once I had some outputs, I had to learn how to make things pretty – that’s where learning about HTML/CSS/JS really began. For those of you who don’t know what HTML/CSS do, a great example of what raw HTML looks like in a browser vs what HTML with CSS looks like, there’s a great website called CSS Zen Garden. Here’s raw HTML pre-CSS. The rest of the website shows how powerful CSS is in molding raw HTML into something intuitive and beautiful. A few example themes to get the point across: Make em ProudA Walk In The Garden, and CSS Co Ltd. Long story short, CSS makes all of the really elegant and impressive websites that you interact with on a daily basis possible.

After learning all of the basics, rather than build a blog from scratch, I decided to use an existing blog engine built in Django (think of wordpress but built using Django), that I could then completely customize to my own liking. Hey, why re-invent the wheel? Picking a blog engine also gave me a way to see how code is SUPPOSED to be written and learn from people who have been doing this for a while – 2 points in favor of blog engines. At the end I picked one called Zinnia and began my journey. 

This blog is the fruit of my labor. Welcome!




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Richard Taveras

Engineer/product designer by training. Jack of all trades by experience. Lover of all things innovative.

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