Rip It Apart – A Lesson in Learning

Probably one of the biggest questions I get asked in wordpress development or even by other coders is “how did they do that?” which often refers to a cool effect, or how a website pulls off some very insane over the top effect. Such as 3D parallax, a crazy menu, a cool loading screen etc etc etc.

This is when I tell my students “don’t just look at it, look into it.” What this means is I want them to view source. Use the web inspector, see how its built, look at the stylesheet, the javascript, see how exactly it works.

Now another thing I tell my users to do when they are looking at advanced themes, is that they download the theme. Upload it. And see exactly how it functions. Look through the theme editor or locally cause the theme editor doesn’t show all the files. Such as the javascript or CSS files or in some other cases, other sectioned off parts of the theme which will probably more than likely kill the theme and cause you to go “what happened?”.

I have actually seen teachers before tell their students, “just copy and use this code” what does the code do? Teacher doesn’t tell them. instead they just leave it up to hope and hope for the best. This is a big no no. I always try to help by students by guiding them through what the code does.  This will definitely help curb the insanity that is learning and trying to let the student figure it out on their own cause lets face it. If they have no idea what php is and you give them some code that does something then they will be pretty much SOL.

Anyways, that discussion will be tabled for another day. But if you ever wonder how a theme works, you should definitely download some that contain some cool stuff and learn how the developer did it. Or an even better idea is sometimes you can reach out to them and they will tell you how and why they built the website that way. Its definitely something everyone should try sooner or later.