Positive Feedback

—It is amazing how refreshing, invigorating, healing, and downright life-changing some kind words can be.

I get told often enough at my day job that I do great work but I think a monkey could do my day job so compliments there just make me feel bad about myself. I have a good work ethic and take pride in my work but I can’t say I’ve done much I’m proud of in the last 8 years. That’s why I’m on my current path (“escape route”).

Two nights ago, after I gave a presentation at Code for Tampa Bay, a couple people gave me compliments on the presentation and the web site and/or thanked me. I can’t even express the positive impact it had on my morale and self- … stuff. Then, this morning, this happened:

Meetup comment saying I did a great job on the web site

I know their name is publicly available but why tempt trolls?

This all made me so happy I finally decided to put up a screenshot of a page I did at work. I’ll explain why I’m so proud of it after.


We’re focusing on the main body content—the gray boxes.

This is a page from our local pile of Taleo Learn (which has been down for two days, BTW) owned by Oracle. According to what I infer from something eLearning Guru Craig Weiss told me (again, this is my opinion, not his statement), I was correct in my first impression that it isn’t really an LMS, it’s an HCM app we’re trying to use as an LMS.

A tweet from Craig Weiss thanking everyone for naming him number one most influential in corporate elearning

What makes me proud of the above page is that despite multiple obstacles, I was able to use everything I’d recently learned about the box model and block properties to make something that is, IMHO, pretty decent looking. Learn CSS Layout is the source that finally made CSS layout make sense to me. I was afraid Jon Duckett‘s HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites looked too “basic” for me (comparing it to his mind-bending, multiverse opening JavaScript & jQuery book) but it provided even more clarity and understanding.

One obstacle is that even those of us with relatively elevated privileges are forbidden to edit any CSS. Next thought was to embed the styles in the <head> but as with many CMS-type systems, editing a “page” doesn’t mean you have access to the <head> so I had to do all of my styling … yes, you already know what I’m going to say … inline.

I mention Taleo Learn is a steaming pile because one of the things it delights in is changing any code you type in the HTML editor for pages such as the above. It not only chews up code by changing it but, sometimes, just deletes chunks of it to prove it’s the one in charge. Also, it doesn’t support HTML5 and other rather standard web design tools, practices, etc.

Because Learn’s HTML editor is so cruel and vicious, I used Dreamweaver (so I could save my code and just copy & paste it). What looked fine in Dreamweaver and/or when tested in the browser, however, looked significantly different in Taleo Learn’s Bizarro World. After some effort and tweaking (I learned you can use negative margins!), it turned out pretty good, I thought. Certainly better than most of the pages we have which are nothing more than paragraphs, bullet points, and the occasional header image as pictured (which I did not make, BTW).

Even if you think it’s ugly, I was able to arrange, place, and space everything nicely because of what I’ve learned and I am unashamed.

The SharePoint peeps at my organization create some pretty sweet intranet pages for other departments and groups but, for whatever reason, they don’t let me play their reindeer games so I made do with what I had for this next page which is merely some hyperlinked images in a table created from still frames in the videos they link to. I haven’t mentioned how ridiculously convoluted the processes are in Taleo Learn for uploading files (images, PDFs, videos) and linking to them, have I?


Better than a list of text links like most of our pages.

Note: I used the handy-dandy, Export Frame button in Premiere.


About jotascript

Aiming to please. Seeking to impress.
This entry was posted in Code for Tampa Bay, CSS, HTML5, myProjects, Web Design. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Positive Feedback

  1. rosemarylemming says:

    Very proud of you.


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