Road to Code #35

Another update on learning to code.

Now I’m working on something called REST. REST (Representational State Transfer) isn’t a kind of code, but is a set of coding guidelines for how to build things where a client and user interact. Things like having a uniform interface throughout the entire thing you’re building, and having a base/starting URL that every other function you write extends from.

As I’ve gone through the course, there’s been a tension between going through the course fast (and feeling like I don’t completely understand things), vs going through the course slower (to be thorough, but delaying when I finish the course). I’ll set a goal for when I complete the course, but then end up slowing down.

I think I just need to speed up, and trust that whatever I don’t understand now, I’ll understand it later. After I finish the course I was already planning of watching all the videos again on double speed (which I do for most videos/podcasts). There’s 64 hours of video in the course, so I can watch 32 hours of double speed video over the course of several days. Then watch them all again. And then, I can go to youtube and watch those videos like “Learn HTML in 4 hours!” or “JavaScript: The Complete 12 Hour Course”. After that, anything else I need to learn can either be learned on the job, or learned over the course of a career in tech.

The work continues.

Road to Code #34

Another update on learning to code.

This week I finished up with EJS (or at least the parts dedicated to EJS). The major thing covered at the end here was what the instructor calls “partials” or “includes”. The idea with partials is to take code that needs to be on multiple pages (like a link to a code library, or the code for a navigation bar that’s on every page), and puts that on a separate page that you can reference with a short line. Doing this really shortens the code, and makes it more manageable.

If this course has hammered anything in, it’s that coders don’t actually remember a lot of stuff, and have to rely on online documentation to remember how to build different things. Developer friends have told me that, but I’ve seen it myself. The instructor for the course has been a web developer for years, and yet when he’s using a popular code framework (Bootstrap) to build a navigation bar, he needs to go to the Bootstrap website to look up their code for building it. If experienced coders have to look up things like that, I have zero chance of memorizing things as a new coder. This makes me less worried and more worried about being a developer.

The work continues.

Road to Code #33

Another update on learning to code.

Still working with EJS, but I’ll be finishing up the EJS part of the course soon. Then I’ll learn more about servers and databases in the next sections.

Honestly, I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to this week. I spent a lot of this week distracted by a car problem, and getting it taken care of was a hassle. I won’t go into the details since these posts are about my journey learning to code, and not about me fixing my car.

Closing out May, I did make some decent progress, but not as much as I was hoping for. Oh well. I’m going to keep working in June, and keep making progress towards finishing the course.

The work continues.

Road to Code #32

Another update on learning to code.

Now I’m working with EJS (Embedded JavaScript), which is very useful for taking data, and displaying it dynamically. You make template pages, and then you display different data from different databases on the page depending on what is needed. Instead of just having static pages or static databases, you combine them together to create new pages on the fly.

I’m getting close to two thirds of the way through the course. I’m not done yet, but the end is in sight – at least, the end of the course. My coding education won’t stop after the course is done, but would be a huge step towards a career in tech.

The work continues.

Road to Code #31

Another update on learning to code.

Still working with Node. Now I’m learning about servers, and about using a JavaScript framework called Express for setting up servers, handling requests and sending responses.

The course is about front end web development, but I’m learning a lot about back end development (and general computing) in the process. This is one of those courses where every time you learn something, something you don’t know about is brought up, and you become a little more aware of just how much there is to learn.

The work continues.

Road to Code #30

Another update on learning to code.

I’ve entered the node.js sections of the course, which is a runtime library that uses Javascript for server scripting (back end) instead of just in the web browser (front end). Learning about file permissions, setting requirements, modules, and Node Package Manager (npm). Having used package managers on Linux over the years, some of this is pretty familiar.

Understanding of the material comes and goes. Sometimes it clicks instantly and I speed through the course. Other times it’s difficult, and progress slows down. It depends on the day, or even the hour.

The thing to do is to keep moving forward.

The work continues.

Road to Code #29

Another update on learning to code.

This week the course introduced the terminal, using text commands to navigate folders and create files. Not very difficult stuff, especially after using the Linux command line before. The terminal isn’t directly related to front end web development, but the course is about to introduce Node.js and some server related content, and terminal commands are important for that (I’ll find out how important in the server sections).

The work continues.

Road to Code #28

Another update on learning to code.

I finished up with AJAX and APIs this week (or at least the introduction to it). Learning all about JSON (a file format for easily sharing data), HTTP status codes (“404 not found”), query strings, using XHRs (the old method) or Fetch (the new method) to make HTTP requests, and more.

Alright. I’ve got about 30 more sections left in the course. What I’d like to do for the month of May is do about one section a day, and get most or all of the way done with the course. May has often been a good month for getting serious work done.

The work continues.

Road to Code #27

Another update on learning to code.

Still learning about AJAX and APIs. I can tell you that AJAX is how a web page will request more data (such as getting new tweets on Twitter, or new posts on Reddit) without refreshing the entire page. I can also tell you that APIs are a kind of software the talks to other software, and is especially useful for things like retrieving a stock price, temperature, or tweet without getting other data (such as the entire web page that data is sitting on).

I’m still wrapping my head around it. I’ll be finishing up with AJAX and APIs (and JSON) this week.

The work continues.