Cleveland GiveCamp 2019: day one

The tenth annual, and my ninth, Cleveland GiveCamp started today.

I took off the whole day of work today to make it easier. The decision was fairly necessary, because it took much of the day to pack, prepare my laptop, prepare my house for my absence, and make it up there. I had tried to get some extra sleep the night before, but didn’t get to bed that early and only slept in a little.

The day was very hot. I was already hot before I arrived in my non-air conditioned car. I set up my tent before kick-off, a rarity for me: I usually end up doing so at night.

The kick-off went reasonably quickly, with each organization giving a very brief synopsis of what they do. They then funneled the large mass of people through the main door of the boat, to find our teams by map. Seemed to go better than the held up sign of the past.

Every team was put on the boat this year because of air conditioning. It was noticeably cooler just going through the door. A little cramped and loud in there, though.

My team started out as Music Pebble, an organization that helps provide musical instruments and lessons to kids who would otherwise have trouble getting them. Their intention is to build a much better website using WordPress.

The main thing I did for the project was to look up information about a “Donate your birthday” fundraising setup where interested parties create a fundraising page to raise money for the charity on their birthday. Classy, a fundraising service they already use, has an ability to do this, but it was hard to find information on how to set it up.

Not long after dinner, I was called sent over to another team because I have WordPress experience. I gave the information I had found to my project manager and headed over, the new group being just two groups over.

The new group was Stonebrook Montessori, also intending to replace their website completely, also using WordPress. They are a Cleveland area school with a specific education style called Montessori.

The new project manager introduced me to the group and guided me easily into the project. Once I became acquainted with the project and logged in, I set up stubs for all the new pages and set up the navigation pointing to them.

WordPress’s menu system is cool in theory, but a pain to work with. Every page that gets added must be checked in a list on the one side and a button pressed to add them to the root level on the other side. They must then be dragged into the desired order. It seems to be impossible to drag an item to the bottom of a submenu, so I ended up dragging them one above where they belonged and then moving the now last one up. Tedious. Also, with a large number of items, the items must be dragged up so the window scrolls until their spot appears, also tedious. It’d be nice if they could give this some UX love.

I began putting in some of the organization’s color, figuring out where they were configured in the theme. I had trouble finding where some were configured though, such as a donate button in the header.

While working on that, the navigation disappeared for the desktop view. It was still there in the regular WordPress menu system (luckily; I’d be very cross to have to rebuild that), but not showing up on the rendered page. I spent quite a while looking into this, but couldn’t figure it out. The PM eventually got a floater, Mark I believe, over to help. It took him several minutes to figure it out, way quicker than me. Apparently, this theme has a layout configuration separate from the regular theme configuration and the theme’s own option tab. It’s up by the post area. I probably would never have found that on my own.

I then worked with one of the other developers to set up a form using Gravity Forms, already installed. I had worked with it before, but still kind of had to figure it out with the other guy, who had never worked with WordPress. He set up the form with my help, and then I had him create a page to put it on. I hadn’t used the new editing interface, Gutenberg, before, but we figured out that it allows adding a form as a block, the new way of separating the old WordPress blob of content into bits.

Cake was served at the airport to celebrate the 10th anniversary of GiveCamp’s start. One of the ladies from the organization grabbed cake for several of us so we could keep working.

After we broke for the night, I went outside and was hit by the wall of hot. I went to the roof of the boat for a bit, and there was a nice cool breeze and view. I also went for a walk over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. No attempting to go for a run tonight.

My tent is hot, though a nice breeze blows occasionally. I brought a portable fan my mom got me, which I had thought a bit too luxurious for camping, but turned out to be much appreciated for a night like this. It is late and I won’t get a full night’s sleep before I must wake, and hopefully get a shower in.