By recent AUR graduate, Ruth Castillo
The idea for creating a website on Italian Cuisine came in an effort to choose a capstone project that I would love working on. I love Italian food, and I thought I’d give it a try. I had never before attempted web design or development but I knew I was ready for the challenge. I began working on the project in Fall 2011 as I simultaneously took my first site design and development class. After the first two weeks I knew the project would be much more difficult that I had anticipated. Working alongside Professors Kristen Palana and Timothy Allen I began to develop the content of the website (recipes, articles, pictures, etc.).
In the second semester I began to put the whole thing online using WordPress as my Content Management System, I had butterflies in my stomach at the thought that finally my work would be available for the whole world to see. The next time you look at a website don’t take for granted anything you see. You never realize how difficult it is to develop a site until you build one. Hours are spent choosing the perfect domain name; nothing is placed randomly, no color is chosen randomly, and pictures must be of good quality. If things are not just right, the risk is that the site will appear cheap and amateurish. So, hours and hours were spent cooking each recipe, photographing each dish, taking the pictures and working with various color palettes and layouts to see what combination looked most professional and clean. In web design (as with most things), less is more. I sought advice from many professors and fellow students to get more feedback on what worked and what didn’t.
Once we were able to establish the colors that worked best with the pictures and the layout was customized to fit perfectly with my concept, and after many hours spent debugging (fixing) problems with the code, the site was ready to present and turn in. It was a great experience and an immense satisfaction to be able to step back at the end of a year’s work and see a finished functioning website with my name on it online. It’s something that I can continue working on and developing years after my graduation from AUR. If any student chooses a website as a capstone project thinking it’s the easy way out, boy are they in for a surprise. But, if you are ready for a challenging, fun, and real-world adventure, the development of a site will be the most rewarding experience ever. A piece of advice: don’t forget quotation marks, brackets, or semi-colons in your CSS, it’ll save you tons of time!
To see what I was able to pull off in one year, check out http://aldentecooking.com and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed building it. Leave a comment on any recipe you try to let me know how it turned out!