Welcome To Catchy Lab's Blog!
A quick peek at the author of this blog before things really get started!
Hi, my name is Bobby! For over a decade, I have been a full-stack developer for various marketing and brand management agencies. This blog will document lessons from my past, offer code and expertise I have gained over the years, and assist me as I continue to build my future. I hope you will stick around and see what I have to offer.
Hi, my name is Bobby. 👋🏻
I am a full-stack developer. This is my first blog post! Pretty awesome if you ask me.
But who is me? Good question right? Even if it is grammatically incorrect. I thought for my first post I would write about myself. Who am I? What’s my story? What brought me to this moment that I would want to start a blog finally? What makes me an authority to write on anything?
Before I get too far into it, let me get that last question out of the way from the beginning. What makes me an authority? In short, nothing. Mostly because I do not think like that. I believe everyone has something to say. Everyone is an authority on something. Just depends on what they have to say that determines whether or not they are worth listening to. And that is subjective. Hopefully, this first blog post will help you decide for yourself.
I have a lot to say about being a web developer. I have worked in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area for over a decade. My primary employment and freelance clients have been for marketing agencies. These agencies have put me in the company of the best designers, copywriters, market researchers, and account managers our city has to offer and beyond.
I have been lucky to be around so many creative people on the marketing end of things. But the clients I have worked with are probably more interesting. Being inside one of Tulsa’s biggest agencies unlocks access to all types of clients. They ranged from massive corporations to small businesses and non-profits. I have worked with government entities, restaurants, sports teams, art galleries, energy companies, writers, and eCommerce stores. An ever-changing list of clients keeps things interesting.
My Tech Stack
My tech stack keeps changing too. Over that decade, I have worked with several programming languages making websites in several CMS’s. Clients have had me working in WordPress, Drupal, Sitecore, and even Umbraco. It’s nice to work on new things in new environments. It keeps you fresh and loose. It teaches you different ways to do things and if those ways are better or worse.
However, my primary love will always be WordPress. This is the CMS where the vast majority of the hundreds of sites I have worked on have come from. I have made hundreds of custom themes and plugins to meet client needs. I have used WordPress for corporate sites, E-commerce sites, single-page brochure sites, and writer’s blogs (of course 😆), I have even used it for a small business’s intranet. Weird right? Hey, if it works, it works.
However, the web is not the extent of my resume. One day, my boss sends me some files. He had hired a freelancer to build a client of ours an app. I was charged with getting it on the app stores. The files included Xcode and Android Studio files. Thanks to my expert-level googling skills, I was able to quickly figure out what needed to happen. Thank you, YouTube!
But, looking at these files, my interest peaked. I took a lot of programming classes in high school and college. Tech was just easy to grasp. I thought, “I could do this.”
A few YouTube certifications and simple app projects later, I approached my boss with my newly acquired skill. Shocked at first, he quickly realized what he had. Soon enough, we had another client looking for an app. I hit the ground running and soon pumped out the iOS version of the app. Then I wrote the Android version. And I quickly regretted my path. 😂
However, that poor decision was quickly corrected by making progressive web apps held in native WebViews. There were a few I even used WordPress as the web app. Why not, right? I may even open source and write an article on a few of my projects that didn’t make the store. Worked pretty well for a little while. Then I found this thing called React-Native. I have now written and launched one app for a client with React-Native along with many fun, test drive style projects. I am already planning a few articles… anyway!
All of that to say, I may have something to say about what I have the lessons and tips I have learned in my career. However, my past is interesting and defines who I am, it also dictates where I am going. And that is much more exciting to me.
I have spent much of my professional career working for others. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing. I have learned a lot from all of the creative, hungry, and amazing people God has sought fit to put in my life. But, I feel like it is time to start on my own a little bit more. This blog is part of that, which I will expand on later.
For now, I plan to begin combining some of my better-coded themes and making a full-blown theme for public use as well as some plugins with premium features. I hope to expand my freelance client list. Neither of them requires a blog, however.
I have always loved writing. I have endeavored to start a blog or some writing project many times, but I typically abandon it. Work or some side project would take my attention, or I would never have anything to say about the topic I was attempting to write about. Then one day, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me. Why am I not technical writing? Why am I not blogging about all of the projects that I have worked on? The tricks I have learned. The problems I have solved. The code I have written.
What you can expect from my blog.
I want to share what I have learned. Hopefully, help others and maybe even build connections with people with the same drive as me. So here is what I will be talking about:
I love this topic. Mostly because it is the thing I have the most to say about. But I have learned a lot about making a beautiful and functional website with the WordPress platform. Big and small. Simple or complex. It is the perfect platform for so much of what is popular on the internet.
Whether you are a developer, I want to give you tips on making plugins and themes. Methods of streamlining your code or setting up your server on AWS or WPEngine.
If you're a front-end developer, I want to show you Elementor tips and design tricks I have learned from better designers than me.
If you are a WordPress site operator, I want to show you methods of optimizing your site (Hello version 6.1! Big news there!) and tell you what plugins are available for you to use and those I have used in the past and had success with.
More than just WordPress!
In addition to WordPress, I want to talk about what I have learned as a full-stack developer. Things from setting up servers to maintaining a health code base to building your own API for use in your apps or websites. I’d love to even write multiple series of articles about bots and tools I have made to help my web dev career.
Freelancing and building your own business.
As of writing this article, I would say I have a nice side hustle that keeps me and my family very happy. I want more. I want to be my boss, set my hours, go into an office when I want to, and control my destiny. Something that every red-blooded human strives for.
I want to share tips and tricks that I find for landing your first client and how to retain and build long-lasting relationships with clients.
Improve my writing and me.
As I mentioned above, I love to write. A definite side benefit would be to improve my writing. Not just the storytelling or even copywriting side of writing, but also technical writing. Better technical writing skills can help you probably instruct clients and even client customers on how to effectively use the product you built them. Writing is just a powerful tool any person should have in their arsenal.
Thanks so much for reading this far if you did! 😂
This article kind of got away from me, but I am honestly excited about this blog and the people I will meet sharing what I know. I hope I stick with it. Wish me luck! 😊
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