I’m not exactly a trained web programmer. I mean, I’ve taken classes in basic Java coding and data structures. And heck knows I’ve hacked my way through a sugary sweet collection of itty-bitty web scripts to enhance my blog or just-for-the-sake-of-it stuff. The meal planning and shopping list maker database we’ve been using for just over three years now has been working great and without fail. The bits of dynamic content code I’ve inserted into various websites, code that quietly slurps content randomly from invisible databases and slides it gently into pages, has ticked away without crashing for neigh on many years. And the full-out hacks I’ve trounced upon various WordPress installs has resulted not only in functional websites, but functional websites that draw incredible amounts of traffic, one even given the nod on the Discover Magazine site a few months back. (A long sort of story.)
I do a variety of things to keep myself organized — not only related to code, but related to life in general — and that may be construed as either weird or sensible, depending on your general outlook. One of those things is keeping to-do lists and checklists. I keep a daily list on my desk of the four things I need to get done each day. And I’ve been quietly using a weekly checklist to make sure I (at least try to) get done the odd assortment of little need-to-tasks each seven-day span.
In the last few weeks — the holidays helped, big time — I merged the coding know-how with the desire to simplify and automate the whole re-building checklist things. My first checklists were just scraps of paper. I started back by hand-writing, then eventually moved up to a nifty desktop-published version, and — as of a couple days ago — have now ascended into the realm of having my weekly to-do list dynamically generated via a mostly-functional little web script and a printable PDF. It’s cool. Or I think it is.
Call me a geek if you will, but I actually think I learn a few dozen little skills every time I take on a project like this. If you are interested in that sort of thing (keeping in mind I built it for my personal use first and will be expanding it for more general use as time permits) I’ll soon be publishing the dark, dirty and in-depth details on one of my other sites, but the (beta version) tool is online now for a sneak peek. It’s free to use, of course though — admittedly — the database needs a lot more options to round it out.