Archive for category Web Site development

Review of 2009 and Plans for 2010. Part 1

Happy new year!

It has been almost a year since I began looking at personal development, and I’d like to give a quick review of some of the stuff I’ve done and what I’m looking forward to in the next year.

I’d like to have a go at breaking my posts down to smaller chunks, so I’ll post this in segments.

My path of personal development began at the start of 2009, when I entered into a course at work to develop product creation and selling skills. This was called “Dragons Apprentice”, a mixture of 2 closely related BBC TV programmes: Dragons Den and The Apprentice. Would you ever have guessed? 🙂 Unfortunately due to other work commitments I had to leave the course early but it left me hungry for more. This led me to look at my personal communication skills and think more about my effectiveness when talking to other people and to get over my nerves when speaking publicly. Since joining Toastmasters in March 2009, things have snowballed with various topics, including blogging, volunteering and looking at my own beliefs of my existence.

I’ll go for a topic per post. Topics I have so far are:

  • Blog
  • Mind set – Beliefs
  • Communication skills – Toastmasters
  • Health
  • Work-life
  • Life – major events

Ill try to make a post out of each topic.


I started this blog in February 2009 and I am glad to say that it is something I have benefited from, though not in the ways I expected.

As far as the technical side goes, I found it very interesting to begin the process of signing up for a domain, and uploading the software to get WordPress blog software online, and tinkering with all the settings to get something which aligned to the vision which I was aiming for. I even had a go at creating my own php code for the archive page which was interesting as this was the first web-based programming I’d ever done. I’ve posted the code here (

Unfortunately this site didnt turn into the mass traffic hub I thought it would. In fact if I look at the statistics I would see less than 10 hits per week and of them I assume most are bots, considering the amount of spam that comes in. I’ve manged the hefty sum of £6 from google adsense clicks, which is still too low for me to take out! So as far as attaining recognition and making money from this venture is concerned, its been a complete failure.

But positive results have come in unexpected places. Because I took the time to set up and continue doing blogging, it has made me more aware of other people’s blogs and writing. I now find myself reading and replying to posts made by others whereas I would otherwise have just skipped over them or not replied before. The result is I have read more about different opinions and this has opened me up to other thoughts I would never have previously considered.

I made some heavy claims in the blog at the start, about how this would be the saviour for everyone who read it and how I would post almost every day! Maybe it was a bit overzealous to make these claims but making these outrageous claims and seeing the result has allowed me to reform what I can reasonably achieve and what I can aim for.

The blog has taken on a new platform in my mind. Instead of being the soap box that I can proclaim that the world is flat, it is more of an access point for people to connect to my thoughts if they choose to. I dont take offence that it appears that not maybe people choose to do that, as my skills to do this still need to be more refined. It shows me that I need to work on my visions on life and the ability to articulate my views in a way that aligns to others.

Aims for the blog in 2010 would be to blog more often! A reasonable amount would be to blog at least once a week.

I’d like also to work on the technical skills behind the blog and keep up with other communication technologies. For example, I have a facebook which I use for my friends, but I dont use twitter. I would also like to spend more time communicating online with people in the field of personal development.

To be continued…

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Article Archive Page Added. Add your own archive page easily! (code included)

Last night I added an article archive page to this site. It makes it easier to navigate all the blog posts by listing all the blog posts by title on one single page. It is sorted in chronological order. My intention is to have all the articles easily accessible so anyone can quickly scan through any posts of interest. This is better than a standard blog page as typically you would have to wade through the whole content over multiple pages.

The credit for the archive page code goes to for his post. The steps are there on this person’s page and they are reasonably clear, however it requires knowledge of ftp, the folder structure of your wordpress installation and notepad or other text editor to modify php code. I noticed a couple of mistakes in his php insert code which caused it not to work on my page straight off, so I will post what i did…

Steps to create an archive index page on your wordress site (For wordpress 2.7.1)

1. Make an archives2.php file – First step is to make a new page template file. I went to my theme directory /wp-content/themes/arc/ using my ftp client ( where arc is the folder for the theme ) and copied index.php over to my desktop. This was then renamed to archives2.php ( I called it this because this theme already had an archives.php file, didn’t want to get rid of it just in case. Note that the filename doesn’t matter as no reader will see it )

2. Modify the code in the archives2.php file – Now this file must be customised for making a template. Edit the file with a text editor. I used notepad on windows. For me I had the first block of text..

/* Arclite/digitalnature */

This needs to be changed to..

Template Name: Martins Archives Page

The name here is only used for your own reference so it can be anything you like. Save the file now

3. Remove the page code and replace with new code – This I belive is the hardest step because you need to see what background code is (i.e. Side bars, background, links, etc) and see what the main code for that page is. The way I did it was to look at the code I needed to put in…

<?php if (have_posts()) : ?>
<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>

<!– post –>
<div id=”post-<?php the_ID(); ?>” <?php if (function_exists(“post_class”)) post_class(); else print ‘class=”post”‘; ?>>

<div class=”post-header”>
<h3><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” rel=”bookmark” title=”<?php _e(‘Permanent Link:’,’arclite’); echo ‘ ‘; the_title_attribute(); ?>”><?php the_title(); ?></a></h3>
<p class=”post-date”>
<span class=”month”><?php the_time(__(‘M’,’arclite’)); ?></span>
<span class=”day”><?php the_time(__(‘j’,’arclite’)); ?></span>
<p class=”post-author”>
<span><?php printf(__(‘Posted by %s in %s’,’arclite’),'<a href=”‘. get_author_posts_url(get_the_author_ID()) .'” title=”‘. sprintf(__(“Posts by %s”,”arclite”), attribute_escape(get_the_author())).’ “>’. get_the_author() .'</a>’,get_the_category_list(‘, ‘)); ?> <?php edit_post_link(__(‘Edit’,’arclite’),’ | ‘); ?></span>

<div class=”post-content clearfix”>
<?php if(get_option(‘arclite_indexposts’)==’excerpt’) the_excerpt(); else the_content(__(‘Read the rest of this entry &raquo;’, ‘arclite’)); ?>

$posttags = get_the_tags();
if ($posttags) { ?>
<p class=”tags”> <?php the_tags(__(‘Tags:’,’arclite’).’ ‘, ‘, ‘, ”); ?></p>
<?php } ?>

<div class=”post-links”>
global $id, $comment;
$number = get_comments_number( $id );
<a class=”<?php if($number<1) { echo ‘no ‘; }?>comments” href=”<?php comments_link(); ?>”><?php comments_number(__(‘No Comments’,’arclite’), __(‘1 Comment’,’arclite’), __(‘% Comments’,’arclite’)); ?></a>

<!– /post –>

<?php endwhile; ?>

<div class=”navigation” id=”pagenavi”>
<?php if(function_exists(‘wp_pagenavi’)) : ?>
<?php wp_pagenavi() ?>
<?php else : ?>
<div class=”alignleft”><?php next_posts_link(__(‘&laquo; Older Entries’,’arclite’)) ?></div>
<div class=”alignright”><?php previous_posts_link(__(‘Newer Entries &raquo;’,’arclite’)) ?></div>
<div class=”clear”></div>
<?php endif; ?>
<?php else : ?>
<h2><?php _e(“Not Found”,”arclite”); ?></h2>
<p class=”error”><?php _e(“Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.”,”arclite”); ?></p>
<?php get_search_form(); ?>
<?php endif; ?>

At the top you can see the line <?php if (have_posts()) : ?>  – this is the beginning of the loop which shows every single post in the archive. I then looked at the archives2.php file I had.. I saw..

<?php if (have_posts()) : ?>
<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>

Quite near the top of the file. It was also indended. Scrolling down I also found the closing <?php endif; ?> for that starting if line. The indentation helped me to see this was page content and not the background for each page. I removed it all and replaced it with the required code mentioned earlier. Note that I have no experience whatsoever for php programming, this was done only by looking at the <?php tags within the file. Now save this file. Dont worry if you think you did it wrong, even if it wont work, the worst youll see on your site is an error message and you can try again. No damage will occur and you wont lose your previous posts.

4. Upload the new archives2.php to your theme folder where you got your index.php file from.

5. Make a new page. Go to your admin page on your website and make a new page. Call it something meaningful such as “Archives page” (this is what the reader will see for the page name) Dont add any text to the body of the page.

6. Apply the template. On the right hand sidebar ‘attributes’ you should see Template. Under that drop down you should now see your “martins archive page” or whatever you called it earlier. Select this and then click publish. Youre done!

Navigate to the page to see how it looks. If you get a page which looks nothing like your other pages (i.e. background gone) or an error line at the top and nothing else, then something went wrong. I have found the error lines quite helpful as it tells you the line number to check. Turns out my initial code had spaces in <?php…  so it was  <? php…  and that crashed it.Just try to re-upload a fixed file until you get what you want. There is no irreversible damage here as you are using your own file and not wrecking anything else in the theme. Even if you do accidentally damage a critical theme file, you can just re-install the theme and restore.

I hope this is of use to you, It makes navigation much easier for your blog posts and articles so I would highly recommend it, even if you dont regard yourself as a programmer or it seems a little messy. Let me know how you get on and post links to your own sites’ archive pages here!

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