Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Learning from My Latest Project

My latest design project is a responsive website for a conference my church is hosting next year.

While I've created several websites in the past, this is my first since responsive web design became the new "thing." With the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets, you never know what size of screen your website visitor will be using. Responsive web design attempts to create websites that will work well on all devices.

Responsive websites are pretty cool, but require a different type of thinking when it comes to designing a site, and a new skill set for coding. Thankfully I've been exposed to the conceptual side of things through my church's website redesign project (where I'm really just a consultant since someone else is doing all the work).

But the coding side was a whole new ballgame.

So I got to play with a new Adobe tool. Well, new to me. I first saw it demonstrated at an Adobe tech talk a few years ago, but I never needed to use it until now. Adobe Edge Reflow gives you a WYSYWIG interface to quickly develop responsive website templates. Once you're happy with it, you can export the code and start editing it. (I wish it let you view the code as you worked, but it was still super useful.)

Even developing in Reflow was difficult at first until I fully grasped the responsive concepts. I had to keep switching back to their sample project to see how they did things. But finally I had a template that I was happy with, and exported the code.

And then the fun began. As I tried to turn the template into a full website, I dug down deep in the code and really had to learn what everything was there for. This was a trial and error process. What is that line of code there for? I don't know, let's try deleting it. Oops, that really messed stuff up! Undo, undo!!

Often I discovered that lines of code which seemed useless were actually quite necessary.

It occurred to me that this is often what we discover as we apply God's guidelines to our lives (or don't apply them, as is more often the case). As my husband taught recently in our Sunday School class series on the book of Ephesians, God has outlined for us templates for the family, the workplace, and the church. His reasons behind the "code" that he has given to us are not always clear, and our culture today encourages everyone to delete the lines they don't understand.

However, we can trust that he does have his reasons, even if we don't understand them. The consequences for deleting what we don't understand will be seen eventually--and unfortunately, we don't have an undo button in real life.

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