I write about... Development

development writing

Where did that quiet kid go?

05 September 2023

I am not a naturally social person. I do enjoy seeing people in real life, but what restores me is staying home with a good book or a Star Trek marathon. I am the textbook definition of an introvert.

development wordpress

Converting static blocks to dynamic blocks

17 March 2023

I started working with custom Gutenberg blocks sometime in late 2017. Or, perhaps, it was early 2018. To be honest, the timing is a bit fuzzy because I was pregnant at the time and pregnancy brain is real. For those of you keeping track, these timeframes are well before the WordPress 5 release date of December 6, 2018.

development wordpress

Static vs. dynamic blocks: What’s the difference?

27 February 2023

Published on the WordPress Developer Blog** The Block Editor offers two types of blocks, static and dynamic. The difference between these two types of blocks comes down to how they are rendered on the front-end. Read on to learn more about the details, advantages, and disadvantages of each.

development wordpress

Writing a Custom WordPress Block

27 September 2022

This post has been a long time coming. I have talked about custom WordPress block creation for several years now, from blogging about registering dynamic blocks with block.json to speaking at various conferences about why dynamic blocks are awesome.


Was my degree a mistake?

26 August 2022

With the latest news about exponentially-rising tuition costs and student debt forgiveness, I keep asking myself whether college was truly necessary. Truth be told, I have been asking that quite a bit over the years.

development wordpress

Overriding WP core: Dynamic blocks edition

07 February 2022

I was recently given the task of making the WordPress core RSS block look exactly like one of our custom blocks posts block. That custom block displays a series of news stories. RSS feeds are series of news stories, so this request totally makes sense.

development wordpress

WordPress Customization: Supports and Variations and JSON. Oh my!

04 May 2021

The new WordPress editor (“Gutenberg”) has been a part of our lives for almost 2 1/2 years. Since that initial launch, WordPress has come out with so many different ways to customize block editor: theme.json, block variations, and block supports. These are three distinct features that provide different customization options. Yet, for some reason, I can never remember what controls what (or how much control each feature really has). This blog post aims to clear all that up.


Regularly online developer conferences: An impossible post

29 June 2020

This is a post long in the making, even before the days of our global pandemic and quarantines. In fact, I have been attempting to write this post for so long (6 weeks and counting) that I have deemed this post to be “impossible”. However, before I go there, let’s start with why I wanted to write this post to begin with.

development wordpress

Besan Block: A long time coming

15 August 2019

A few times a year, we hold an internal event at work that we call “Serendipity Day.” We use this day, inspired by NPR, to work on projects that are somewhat work related, but have been sitting on our back burners for a while. Sometimes we use this day to research a new topic. More often than not, though, we use this day to build something new.


I have a dirty little secret: I want to be a junior dev again

05 August 2019

I have been a professional developer for 20 years. Actually, I have been writing code for much, much longer than that, but I have only been getting paid for it for the last 20 years. In recent years - especially the last couple of years - I have noticed my days filling up with other tasks.

development wordpress

Featured Images, Gutenberg, and You

25 March 2019

A very common editor update that us WordPress developers make is to add options to the featured image meta box in the post editor. This is usually something like a checkbox to determine whether the featured image should be displayed at the top of a post.

accessibility development

The Accessibility of ::before and ::after

19 December 2017

I was recently reading a tutorial on how to use CSS counters. They look great! CSS counters are a new feature of CSS that allow us as developers to enumerate elements in the DOM and then do something with that information. There are plenty of practical uses for this - from numbering highlighted blocks in the text to creating complex nested ordered list bullets. (I mean, we’ve all read government documents that include bullet point Right?)

accessibility development

I'm lost!: A brief introduction to web landmarks

20 July 2017

Let’s pretend for a minute that you are a new visitor to Washington DC. You look around and see a lot of streets, buildings, and other structures. You need to get from one point in the city to another. You ask me, a local, for directions. I could give you directions like this:

accessibility development

Bold and strong are not the same thing

10 July 2017

Believe it or not, the <b>, <i>, <strong>, and <em> tags have all been a part of the HTML spec since nearly the beginning. All four of these tags were introduced in HTML 2. However, for a very long time, the community was focused on the <b> and <i> tags only. It is only recently that the <strong> and <em> tags have become “popular”.

accessibility development

Accessibility testing: Screen reader edition

16 September 2016

Accessibility testing on our websites is a large, large topic. I am writing about testing with screen readers here, but please keep in mind that accessibility testing != screen reader testing alone. There is a already great article from Viget about web accessibility testing in general – “How to do Web Accessibility QA“. (Be sure to read both parts.)


When Git ignore doesn't

01 September 2016

Imagine this: You have a file in your Git repository that you need to modify. Perhaps it is a settings file for your CMS. The settings file works perfectly for your QA or production environment, but you need to modify it for your local environment to run off of a different port or to enable developer logging or to do whatever else. These local changes are critical to your local environment, but they will not work on production. No matter what, you must not commit these changes.


4 ways teaching code made me a better developer

11 May 2016

Late last year, the good folks at General Assembly hired me to teach one of their part-time Front-End Web Development courses. I have been coding for years and, more recently, have given a few one-off guest lectures. However, I was never completely in charge of the education of a group of people for any extended period of time… until now.


A few of my favorite (dev) things

22 December 2015

I started teaching a web development class and I have been thinking a lot about what happens after class is over. My students will learn a bunch of HTML and CSS and a bit of Javascript over the course of 10 weeks. After that, development gets harder.


How to write code: Kid edition

03 December 2014

I was recently asked to do some research on how to teach an 8-year old about mobile app development. This made me happy on a bunch of levels. This kid is interested in something that is pretty complicated for adults. And she’s a girl. Not to go into gender issues here, but this fact made me even happier. Women in STEM are still so grossly under-represented it is ridiculous.


Reverting remote commits in Git

07 November 2014

I had a “git” of a problem this week. (Ha… see what I did there?) I committed a bunch of changes to a remote branch, merged them to master, and then needed to back out those changes. (Why this need occurred is another story for another time.)


Adventures in IE: A story of Javascript dependencies

03 June 2014

I have never really been one for developing in IE. To be honest, I usually exclusively develop using Chrome and save my cross-browser testing for the end of the project. This is very likely a debatable practice, and I may write a blog article about that in the future, but that is not why I am writing now.


Hybris: Create components manually

09 July 2013

I have spent a large part of this year working in a system called Hybris, which is a Java-based e-commerce platform.  The Hybris back-end seems to be very robust and includes a decent amount of documentation.  The Hybris front-end also seems to be very robust - but it is not the most user-friendly thing on the planet and includes very little documentation.

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Taming my Frankenstein monster of a website

24 May 2013

It was a disaster. My website, that is. I started my site with good intentions. All I wanted was a simple site with some basic information about me. Maybe my resume, too. After all, any serious web developer needs a website. So, I created my simple, static website and published it using Fastmail’s file services. I was already using Fastmail for my e-mail and using a single service for my online needs was completely logical at the time.


Cheap Trick with YUI Carousel

23 August 2011

This is just another example of why Internet Explorer 7 (and earlier) needs to die. I have been working on a project where a group of images needs to be displayed on a page, four at a time in a carousel. The site uses YUI 2.7, so naturally, I am using YUI Carousel to implement this.


Adding a character limit to a text area using YUI

29 July 2011

In the UI world, it is a good idea to let the users know about any constraints they have on any form fields. We all know this. There are a million ways to do this – through error messages, help text, and so on. For character limits on input fields, the best way to avoid a user error is to limit the number of characters the user can physically type in the field.


YUI 3 in a YUI 2 world

24 May 2011

I know what you are probably thinking. You want to use YUI 3 inside YUI 2? Really? Why not just upgrade to YUI 3 altogether?


YUI vs. jQuery

20 September 2010

Ever since I started my consulting gig, I have been learning so many new (or, rather, new to me) technologies. Most of my learning experiences have centered around Javascript libraries – namely jQuery and YUI. In light of the fact that I’ve only been consulting for about 9 months now, I’m going to preface this entire post with the fact that I definitely do not consider myself an expert in either of these libraries.

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