Hello, Stranger.

6/23/17

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…

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5/7/17

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:

Firehose…

3/23/17

My classes are moving at a fast pace now. At Coursera.org I just finished a JavaScript project and at Thinkful.com I just finished up some CSS positioning lessons. It’s like drinking from a firehose! I’m having trouble keeping track of all the new things I am learning that I want to get logged here. Just over the past week I was introduced to Git and GitHub- GUI and command line. I learned the Git commands that I’ll be using the most as a developer. I’ve been practicing them in Git Bash. I’ve also checked out GitKraken to see what the GUI is like. I will be checking out SourceTree soon as well. The Git flow is taking me a little while to fully grasp but I’m getting there. I’ll have it down like an old habit soon. I’ve also been working out of three different code editors- Sublime, Atom, and VS Code – so I can get a feel for all of them. My goal is to pick one and move forward with that. Right now, I am leaning towards Code. I basically made a list of all the features I want my code editor to have and then figured out which editor I can get there with the least steps. Sublime wins; it comes with the most features out of the box. However, for some reason there is a draw to Code that I am having trouble resisting. I just like it a lot. So why fight it. I’ll most likely make that my go-to.

This is what my feature wishlist looked like. This is an out-of-the-box comparison.

  • dark theme (atom, sublime, visual studio code)
  • auto-indent \ beautify \ format (sub, code)
  • html boilerplate (sub, atom)
  • emmet (code)
  • vert guides (sub)
  • minimap (sub)
  • last line of code can be scrolled to the top of the screen (sub, code)
  • multi cursor edit (code, sub, atom)
  • insert lorem ipsum text (code, sub, atom)

As you can see, Sublime ticked almost all of the boxes. I should totally go with Sublime, but like I mentioned I am just drawn to Visual Studio Code more. From a fresh install of VS Code, all I need to do to get it up to speed, is install extensions for the boilerplate code and the vertical guides. The rest, such as the minimap, is enabled in settings. Pretty simple to get my coding environment to my liking. That’s exactly what I want too. I want the least amount of setup as possible.

Here’s a few things I learned lately:

  • The other day I had a realization about the CSS display declaration. I was having trouble fully understanding the difference between inline and inline-block. It finally clicked! I use inline-block if I need the element to fit inline AND if I need to adjust its dimensions. If it’s just inline, then I can’t adjust width and height.
  • I learned a couple methods for eliminating white space between inline divs. That’s something I have struggled with prior to these classes that I’m taking. If the divs are on separate lines then the browser renders the carriage return as a space, so by keeping the divs butted up against each other it will eliminate the space. Another method is to add “font-size: 0” to the parent.
  • I had another ah-ha moment when I was working on a JavaScript project. I was using a while loop but I couldn’t figure out why my variable wasn’t getting iterated. Well I realized I had the variable called within the loop so it was always getting reset every time the function was called. I placed it outside of the loop but it still wasn’t working properly. Well then I realized my while loop was looping until my variable was zero, so then it was reset back to the initial value each time the function was called, rather than iterating. That’s when I discovered the power of For Loops! I learned how to use an index to iterate, and then my project worked! It was such an awesome feeling to have one of those moments. I had been trying to get my code to work for at least two hours. As soon as I got the For loop dialed in everything worked! That’s the best feeling when I figure something out and learn something valuable at the same time.

 

There is probably a ton more to share but like I mentioned it’s all going so fast now! I’m learning a lot and I am really enjoying it too.

Github Newbie

3/13/17

Yesterday I joined Github. I have no idea how to use it yet but that will change soon. I will start uploading projects that I work on for my online classes. Speaking of that, I created a color guessing game, using standard JS, yesterday. It was a project for my Coursera.org Full-Stack class. It’s already up on Github. Hopefully I can buy a domain soon though. I’d like to link to my projects for people to see the functionality. I don’t know yet if that’s possible on Github. I tried to find a way to launch the webpage but all I can do is view the code.

Last week I learned a valuable coding lesson while I was practicing. I had a couple of textareas and I was practicing grabbing text from one and copying it to the other. I had a couple of variables setup which were assigned to the content of the textareas using getElementById. Well, I was troubleshooting the reason why it wouldn’t work when I clicked the button to copy the text. After a lot of head scratching and internet searches I figured out the problem. So, the textareas started out empty when the page loaded, and then I was entering in text and then clicking the button. All of my code syntax was correct, but the variables were outside of the click function so the variables were empty when the page loaded. When I included the variables inside of the function, then it would grab the text I entered and display it in the other textarea. I think that is a lesson I’ll take with me forever now. It made a lot of sense when I figured it out and I had one of those ah-ha moments.

The other online Full-Stack class that I am taking is over at Thinkful.com and so far it’s been really great! I am off to a slow start, but that will change as of today. I am going to shoot for 20 hours of coding practice every week. I’ll continue to do my Coursera.org class as well but that is completely self-pace. The Thinkful course is much more official, like an actual college class, but it’s 100% online. They assigned me a mentor, who I’ll meet with 2-3 times every week. Also, there are weekly “reflections,” where they want me to talk about what I learned in the prior week. So with those two things- the mentor and the reflection sessions- I’ll be motivated to stay on task. I don’t want to fall behind and not have relevant topics to discuss at those meetings. It’s going to be a really tough six months, but I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited!