How my website is progressing

Going into my project, I knew creating a website with no prior experience was going to be challenging and certainly has been.  I knew there would be a lot of aspects involved, but I did not understand how time-consuming it would be to create each individual aspect.  To see how my changes on the admin page affect the actual website, I have to save the admin page, refresh the website page, and then actually see what happened.  I only have to do that so often, but the four step process was a surprise.

My first major struggle was creating a template for game descriptions.  I talked with one of William and Mary’s web designers several times prior to the project, so I had a lot of really great plug-ins to work with.  Plug-ins are just another name for a program, and have mostly allowed me to avoid actually having to code, although I have started to do that as well.  The plug-ins for creating the template were not exactly what I was looking for, so I had to spend several hours testing out different plug-ins before finding one that worked.  More importantly, the plug-in allowed me to avoid the aforementioned four step process.  It was created such that whatever changes you make in it are the exact same on the web page.  The plug-in has been incredibly helpful, but I can only use it for the game description articles.  For the other web pages, of which at least initially there are many more, I have to endlessly go through the four steps.

The next struggle was caused by my stubbornness and naively assuming it would be easy.  I really wanted the template page descriptions to pop up when you mouse over the text.  While the template plug-in had a mouse-over option, it only worked for the whole paragraph, whereas I need each line or two to have its own tips.  I then spent several hours researching and trying different plug-ins for this application.  In the end, I actually got it to work through Microsoft Word.  The text is not quite as big as I would like, but it was the solution I have as of yet come up with.  This was just one example of when what I hoped would be a half-hour or one hour task has taken several hours.

At this point I have three articles written, and plan on doing two more before I start advertising the website.  Before I can do that, I need to set-up a log-in page.  I have a three tiered system in place: 1) regular users, who by logging in would also be able to comment on posts; 2) authors will be able to write articles; 3) myself as the administrator.  I still need to make sure that the system allows people who do not have WordPress to be able to add pages.

The past two weeks have been quite a grind, however I have actually really enjoyed it.  I have learned more about websites than I ever thought I would and I have only scratched the surface.  I should be finished with the basic set-up by the end of this coming week.  After that, I will be writing more game articles, trying to recruit people to author and post articles, reading and commenting on others’ articles, and then adding greater functionality to the web-site.  If I can get enough interest in the website, I hope to also have the website coordinate meet-ups for people in various locations to meet in person and play games.

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