You Can't Get There From Here

I recently created some WordPress short codes for Know Your Music, my music blog. Short codes allow you to type a sort of fake code, which WordPress will convert to the big long ugly code on the fly, automatically. It's like shorthand for computers.

The process itself is fairly simple PHP coding which, as a web developer for 15 years, wasn't too tough. But it was unnecessarily complicated by a simple omission in every single one of the clear and detailed instruction sets I found.

They all spelled out the code; what each bit meant, what options are available, potential pitfalls.

But not one said where to put this code you're creating.

I eventually sorted out that you put it in the functions code for the them you're using. Sure, in retrospect, that might seem obvious, but unless you work with WordPress a lot, trust me, it's not obvious.

It's complicated enough to say (or hear) the right words, the instructions, the beliefs or teachings or exhortations, and grasp what's meant. Don't make it hard on your readers or listeners by starting at step 2 or 3 or 1.414 or anywhere but step 1.

First, establish a common ground. Get on the same page. Discuss what my friend and one-time supervisor Michele Martin called a 'level set'—get all the information on the table, all the knowns and unknowns, and which are which to each person in the conversation.

Read 'Crucial Conversations' for dozens of tools to help make this second nature.

Comments 2

  1. Karen J wrote:

    Oh, my Gods and Goddesses and Little Fishies!!! YESSSS!

    Thank you for saying that out loud -
    "...starting at step 2 or 3 or 1.414" is so common, and so frustrating.
    Methinks it comes, often, from the writer forgetting about "Beginner Mind" - losing track of the real world conditions where it's (whatever 'it' is) going to be used.
    Applies to highway signage and sewing instructions and automated answering systems as much as computer code!

    Posted 24 Apr 2011 at 7:29 am
  2. Joel D Canfield wrote:

    Curse of knowledge; exactly, Karen. What we know must be common knowledge, right?

    I've got loads of experience writing instructions for newbies, and I still trip on a regular basis.

    Posted 24 Apr 2011 at 3:05 pm

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