Homework Day_3: The strengths and weaknesses of the platforms

In our hands on session today, I dove into Drupal Gardens (at least at first). I chose Drupal Gardens because it was touted as having the most flexibility in terms of site-design and capabilities (or at least that is what I took from the conversations around it), but that it might require a bit more elbow grease in getting the project/site off-the-ground.

This led me back to another set of issues that I have been contemplating, off-and-on, since my first thoughts about/on/around Mapping Paris: how much do I need to know about the technology going on in the background? If I need to reach out to others with different knowledge sets in the design/start-up phase of the project, how do I make them active contributors and not just service-providers to the project? Which led me to the place where I am now in this thinking: that I need to know at least a little bit about the inter-workings of the technology and software, so that I can (try to) 1) speak the language 2) understand other contributors 3) take software/tech into consideration while in the scope/planning phase of the project.

Drupal Gardens took too long to populate my website, so I decided to try my luck with the one-click installation of Drupal onto my webpage hosted by Reclaim Hosting. From what I understand, the differences between Drupal Gardens and Drupal, is that while the former is more flexible and open-ended than Omeka and SCALAR (the other CMS introduced today), it is more user-friendly and more regimented than plain-old Drupal, which is bare-bones AND (most important for me) needs some knowledge of HTML coding to really flesh out your site.

Which brought my previous musings on knowing the tech-side to the very-tangible present. I was able to make a node (a page, in Drupal-speak), but all it contained was some bare-bones text AND I was able to change the color schema and remove the logo (which I thought was distracting). Everything else will have to wait until I remind myself how to add emphasis to text via HTML tags, and (significantly) up-the-ante on my HTML skills. I have left my plodding work up for the moment, in an exercise of making myself vulnerable and allowing the unpolished, work-in-progress nature of the project to be visible, but it probably will be hidden soon, as I make slow progress towards a functional site. For now, check out clairekovacs.org/MappingParis/ to see my work, thus far.

Where am I going to start learning HTML? Good question, but here are some places I am going to start thinking about*:
Codecademy

The Programming Historian

Women’s Coding Collective

 

*My thanks to Lauren, Sharon and Stephanie for the programming suggestions!

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