January has been a surprisingly busy month - it's normally a bit quieter than this. My contract was extended until the end of March - it was supposed to be just a 6-week contract until mid-January, so I had lined up some freelance work to tide me over before starting a new contract.

Work

My contract with CMI was extended until the end of March - it was initially a 6-week contract to help out with day to day front-end work, but instead, I was tasked with helping out with the new website.

CMI hired an agency to build them a custom WordPress website backend, whilst the Digital team at CMI design and build the front-end. I started by setting up a local WordPress development environment so we could start building components to be used by Beaver Builder - their chosen WordPress page builder.

I've not done much WordPress work in the past, but it seems I'll be doing a lot more of it now.

I had never set up a development environment for working with WordPress locally - there are quite a few options and I tried a few of them, ideally, I would have used Docker, but I couldn't get it to work with how the agency setup WordPress and their theme builder tool of choice, so I ended up using MAMP - which works well enough.

Once, the agency finishes their work and we take over, we'll likely look at simplifying the setup so we can use Docker instead.

Most of the custom components are built now, so we've started creating pages and testing all the custom components built by us and the ones built by the agency.

Freelance

  • I've done some more WordPress work on the Lemanoosh.com website - working on a huge update to the company profile section - both front-end and admin section. More to come in February.
  • Also been helping out a backend developer with some front-end work for one of his clients in France. Bit of a rush on this one, so not entirely happy with the code produced, but now the deadline has been met, I can go back and refine some of the code I'm not happy with. Also, it used Elementor - so my second exposure to a page builder and I'm still not impressed.
  • I've now finished changing business bank accounts to RBS and closed the Santander account. Hopefully won't have to do this for a while. It's a long process making sure all services, direct debits and clients update and use the new bank account details; which meant keeping the old account open for a few months just in case.
  • Closing the Santander account was surprisingly easy; I thought they were going to try and persuade me to stay when they said I had to call them to get the account closed - but they didn't which was a pleasant surprise.
  • One of the reasons I wanted to use FreeAgent was their recurring invoices feature - after I finish setting these up, it will offload a huge admin task. Nearly there.

Personal

  • Finished moving my website from NetlifyCMS over to Forestry.io. NetlifyCMS is good but has a few bugs that meant it wasn't great, especially their lack of mobile/responsive support. It was very easy to switch over to Forestry.io due to the fact I was using Eleventy and Nunjucks templates.
  • There's been quite a few bug fixes closed and also went back to using Cloudinary for image hosting, I initially removed it when I was getting rid of PHP and PerchCMS on my site, as it was easier. Took a while to get this working properly as the Cloudinary service on Forestry is still in beta. I think this is now working - after a few test posts without images!
  • I've also been tinkering with Photo and Notes posts - again I think these are both working properly now - finger crossed.
  • January also saw the return of the New Adventures conference in Nottingham - it was different in a good way and still a great conference - so much information to take away and process.
  • One of those takeaways was Laura Kalbags' talk on privacy, which has spurred another deep dive look into my privacy and apps/services that I use and thus hand over data to. I've been tweeting about this and will write a blog post as well. So far the hardest service to replace is the Google Calendar, I'm struggling to find a good alternative that allows sharing of a calendar with family members and doesn't cost a fortune!

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