Hello, Stranger.


Well, it’s been over a month since my last post. I have been up to my eyeballs in learning things. New information has been flying at me from all angles. For example, just tonight, just an hour ago, I learned Markdown. A basic, simple, method for creating XHTML documents. Some people might call it a language, but it’s actually a tool, written in Perl. It is commonly used for readme files on GitHub, which is exactly the reason I learned how to use it tonight. From the time I was first introduced to it, to the time it took me to finish my readme file was about 30 minutes. So that shows how basic the “language” is.

The coding bootcamp got intense and I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. Then the first section, the Front-End portion, came to an end and I had to create a final project. That took me about three weeks I think, maybe a little more. I just wrapped that up this past weekend. I still have some code cleanup to do, but as far as functionality and UI goes its complete. I had some friends tell me it breaks in Safari though. I will need to re-visit that another time. I need to put this one behind me for now and move on to the next section of the course.

The next section of the bootcamp course takes me through backend JavaScript, using Node.js. I’m really excited to learn Node! I had fun learning Front-End development, but I think I might enjoy backend more. We’ll see though. This will be my first exposure to any backend language.

Ok, onwards and upwards! I’ll try to post again soon. Here are a few links…


Online Course Dump


In no particular order, but some loose grouping, here is a list of online coding courses…

JavaScript oriented…

Boot camps…

Not a complete list. Feel free to put your Google Fu to practice.

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I think I am about one week into learning jQuery now. From the perspective of a jQuery beginner, what I can glean from it is that the concept is simple yet it’s quite powerful. Basically, from what I have learned so far, I select something and then I manipulate it. Or I “listen” for an event and then do something. That’s about it.

Obviously, there is much more to it, but on the surface that really is about it, again, just from what I have learned in my one week of lessons.

The power comes from all the events and methods available for listening and manipulating! There is a lot of depth to the library and I can see how complex I could make it if I wanted or needed.

My first jQuery project that I worked on is a text analyzer. It grabs some input and then parses it and returns the total word count, unique word count, and the average length of each word. Here’s the GitHub link. Is that my first time sharing my work? I can’t remember. I would have to check my other entries…. but anyways, that was fun and I’m ready for more!

Last week, when I started learning jQuery for my first time I had a couple days where I was feeling extremely discouraged and I had a lot of doubtful thoughts creeping in. I was starting to think “how in the hell am I going to learn enough to actually land a job?” Then I stumbled onto a quote that picked me up:

The truth is we all get tired, we all get weary. In fact, if you never feel like giving up, then your dreams are too small. If you never feel like quitting, then you need to set some larger goals. When that pressure comes to get discouraged and to think about how you can’t take it anymore, that is completely normal. Every person feels that way at times.

— Joel Osteen

That quote made me feel so much better, the instant I read it. I lost a couple of productive days but I bounced back and I’m hitting jQuery hard today.

I’ll end with a couple links:



It is almost midnight. I’ve been coding all day and my eyes feel strained and heavy. Most of my time today was spent working with JavaScript Objects; which in turn took me back to Arrays. I was also briefly introduced to Regular Expressions.

During a break from practicing, I read a couple of good articles today. I’ll pass those along below. When I wake up tomorrow, I’ll jump into jQuery. It will be my first time ever working with jQuery. If I was more awake I would be jumping for joy. I’m excited to start my journey into JS libraries and frameworks!


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It’s been all about JavaScript for the past couple weeks since my last post. This is what I’ve been working on:

  • variables- local and global
  • data types
  • working with strings and numbers
  • functions
  • control flow with conditions and logic operators
  • try … catch
  • arrays
  • loops
  • scope (the reason why global vars should be avoided)

The next lesson takes me through Objects. This will be my first time ever working with Objects. I’m getting into uncharted territory now! I’m excited! After I publish this post I’ll get started with that lesson.

The lesson on Objects will actually wrap up the JavaScript stage of my course. Well, kind of. I should say that will wrap up the “pure JavaScript.” Or some people call it “vanilla JavaScript.” The next stage of the course introduces me to jQuery. Wooo! Finally! I can’t wait to start learning some JS libraries and frameworks!

After jQuery comes React- but thats still several months out. There will be many projects in between those two sections.

No links or videos to share this time. I just wanted to get something posted because it had been a while. Ok… back to studying! See ya next time.

Back From Vacation


I just got back from a ten day trip to Asia. My wife and I spent some time in Jakarta with her family and then we went to Bangkok for a few days. I didn’t have access to a computer so I fell behind in my lessons, but I’m getting back into the routine now. I did pick up a book to read before I left though, that kept my mind on coding. It’s called The Self-Taught Programmer. It’s a good read; I recommend it. However, I was expecting less how-to and more about life as a programmer. That’s the impression I got when I ordered it, but a bulk of it is teaching Python. Which is great, and I plan on returning to the book when it is time for me to learn Python, but it’s not something I have time for at the moment. The last couple chapters talk about life as a programmer and what to expect when someone lands their first job as a developer, and it goes into best practice and etiquette and things like that.

Other than reading, I haven’t done anything with code for the past ten days, so there isn’t much to report on.

On a side note, I decided to drop my Coursera.org course for now. I want to focus solely on Thinkful.com. I think it would be best to pore all of my time into one course rather than trying to divide my attention across more than one course. My lessons at Thinkful.com took me through Responsive Design right before I left for vacation. I’m about to dive into JavaScript now. Since I recently had some good exposure to JS from the other course, I think I’ll start out strong. It should all be fairly easy at first, but this course moves at a rapid pace! I should be getting into new territory soon!

Responsive Design and the DOM


Last week I had my first exposure to the Document Object Model (DOM) in my Coursera.org JavaScript course. Today I get my first exposure to responsive design in my Thinkful.com coding bootcamp.

For my first time working with the DOM, I created a game that manipulates the DOM by cloning and deleting nodes. On a side note, I have been putting in a lot of practice with Git and Git hub, so I have pushed that game to my profile. Here’s the link: https://preston206.github.io/Smiley-Face-Game/.

I want to share a few things I learned yesterday. I was creating a mock signup page and I learned some good lessons about CSS layout. I had some code that looked like this:

  <a class="forgot-pw" title="forgot password" href="/forgot-password/new">Forgot Password?</a></div>

…which was wrapped inside of a form. I was trying to center the text. I succeeded, however, my mentor from Thinkful.com pointed out that I could get rid of the div tags, set the anchor as a block, and then use text-align to center it. That worked perfectly and I learned that I shouldn’t get div-happy. I think in most cases, less elements is better. In a similar instance within the same project, I had a paragraph tag wrapped by a div, which I was also trying to center. I applied the same steps to it and got the text to align properly. It makes a lot of sense.

I also learned another thing yesterday while reviewing a previous project. In a fake Craig’s List page I was creating, I had a static header at the top of the page with a couple of navigation links in it. I treated the entire header as the nav, so I targeted the nav element when I setup all the style declarations. My mentor from Thinkful was discussing the project with me and he showed me how I should be targeting the header and making that static, instead of the nav. It made a lot of sense. So I should be setting the header as static and treating everything within the header separately and positioning them accordingly. Such as a logo and nav links.

It was a good day of coding yesterday. I learned some valuable lessons that I’ll take with me through this journey.

I forgot to add some links in my previous post. Here’s a few things I’ve been reading and watching:

  • I took a little side trip into Jekyll. I had heard about it but had no idea what it was or what it did. Now I have a brief understanding of it. Seems like a pretty cool tool! Plus, I love that guy’s tutorial videos. I’ve watched lots of them. He does a great job at teaching!
  • I found this simple interactive Git tutorial.
  • I found an interesting, concise article about how we should be naming our classes. I’m guilty of the “bluetext” or “marginbottom” names.