Tag Archives: week3

The jig is up.

Oh, JavaScript. The most popular programming language.

With HTML and CSS, I felt comfortable. I thought I’d be able to conquer anything. Everything was a breeze. Coding wasn’t that bad, after all.

Until it was.

I felt like I was in math class all over again. I was reliving my worst nightmare. The last two lessons almost defeated me. But just like math class, I realized that I just had to practice to prevail.

At first, I was really confused as to what JavaScript did. Why were we adding numbers and doing true/false equations? What was all the craze? Could I not do these things with my calculator? I slowly began to realize that the adding and subtracting, were just the foundation for larger functions, like creating widgets, games and apps. And just like in math class, if you mess up the basics, the whole equation will come tumbling down. Needless to say, I’ll be revisiting the lessons.

The hardest thing for me was remembering the syntax and all of the necessary elements of a function. After Tuesday’s online class, though, I was reassured in knowing that no one fully memorizes everything in JavaScript. I’ll just have to make a (or find) cheat sheet.

Another thing that baffled me in the Codecademy lessons, specifically, was that the system would sometimes return a syntax error, but I’d still get a check in the box. I found myself restarting the lessons over and over, trying to note the differences between what I typed and what Codecademy wanted.

One good thing, though, is that I fully understand what jQuery is used for. I think whoever wrote that library is brilliant. I also think that I will eventually be able to fully grasp JavaScript. It’s just a matter of time and practice. As I reflect now, I realize that I wasn’t struggling as much as I thought I was. It was a lot of material, but nothing I can’t handle.

The “Script” is Off

This week obviously was very different seeing how we don’t have a formal class. JavaScript has probably been one of the most interesting lessons thus far. From what I’ve understood just from Codecademy and our brief Google Hangout, the program seems to be what makes a website move. The “script” is the what the website follows which causes things such as but not limited to: drop menus, highlighting hyperlinks, and pop ups on the page. Which makes it the most interactive lesson that we’ve had up to this point. Interactive in how we interact with the websites mechanics. The lesson was a bit difficult trying to remember the terms, and then applying that when moving on to the next lessons. I think it will be helpful to see this lesson again in person to fully grasp what it is I’m learning. Overall though it was enjoyable to learn a new step in my coding development and look forward for what is to come next.

One Cup of Java(Script), Please

This week was all about JavaScript, and no that isn’t a fancy latte you’ll be be able to find at your local Starbucks. Rather, JavaScript is  “is a scripting or programming language that allows you to implement complex things on web pages — every time a web page does more than just sit there and display static information for you to look at.” This looks like the unfollow/follow feature on Twitter, Google giving you search suggestions while you type, and yes, JavaScript is even responsible for those pop-up ads we adore.

JavaScript is the third layer of website, client-side programming. Combined with HTML & CSS, JavaScript makes webpages dynamic and more interactive. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are all client-side programming because the language is interpreted by the client — which in most cases is our web browsers. Our web browsers read these languages and then present us with the finished product. The opposite of client-side programming languages are server-side programming languages. Server-side programming languages “deal with dynamic content. It runs on the server. Most web pages are not static since they deal with searching databases.” These programming languages structure web applications, query the database, and encode data into HTML. Examples of server-side programming languages are: PHP, C++, Python, and Java. Yep — sans “Script.”

Practicing JavaScript on Codecademy, I learned that they are three essential data types in this language: strings, numbers, and booleans. Strings are any grouping of words or numbers surrounded by single quotes. Numbers are well… numbers, but we don’t put these in quotes. Lastly, a boolean is either going to be the word true or the word false. These also don’t go in quotes. These are the building blocks of JavaScript, similar to nouns and verbs in our own language. To see what we’re trying to say in JavaScript, we simply use console.log and a pair of parentheses. JavaScript also has some pretty neat math functions. It can do the basics (multiple, divide, add, subtract) and it can even find a modulus. Now, what exactly does that mean? That’s a question better served for Google.

Throwback Sunday: What class looked like on week 3

This weeks’s introduction to JavaScript felt like a dumpster fire. After reading some of the blog post entries it seemed like I wasn’t the only person who felt overwhelmed so that was helpful.
Codecademy is a great learning platform to a point. At the beginning of the JavaScript lessons I felt like I was getting all the concepts, but it quickly escalated to concepts that I felt needed more explaining. Especially on some of the directions for control flow and functions, I felt like the “hints” were information that I would have liked to have before I gave my first attempt. Other than that, its still wildly annoying that Codecademy gives you ALL the code when you’re just stuck on one specific thing. It really makes its hard to absorb all the information, especially when you have a 3 or 4 step activity.
Beyond that, I also had some issues with the interface. The Codecademy interface had some really weird bugs this time around. Either it would say things were wrong before I began, or it would say things were wrong after I ran something even if it was correct. Perhaps the most alarming thing was it would give me all the code at different steps before I even began. That made it really hard to learn things, and it makes me considerably stressed that I don’t have a good foundation to move forward in the class.
Overall I have a lot of concerns about my performance in class. With how fast things are moving, I feel like I have questions about CSS, let alone JavaScript. So, moving forward and doing things on my own, like a gallery or something really concerns me. I want to be able to do good work but I just feel incredibly behind. Hopefully things will level out soon, because I do want to learn these concepts its just taking a little but more time than the class is allowing, it seems. But, hopefully things will look up soon!

Not Jiving in JavaScript, Yet

I found this week’s Codecademy lessons on JavaScript (JS) and jQuery quite difficult. I got lost a lot because each new step built upon the last, and the lessons didn’t (unlike previous lessons) do a great job repeating each step over and over so it could sink in. Also, the building blocks of the language weren’t as simple, straightforward, and intuitive as I found those in HTML and CSS to be. The data types and console.log statement seem easy enough, but once we started building in operators and functions, arrays and loops, I got lost. I found myself needing hints and cheating to get the code… it was very frustrating.

Also, for the first several lessons I kept wondering how this language would jive with what we have learned in HTML and CSS. I think I would have preferred to have the JQuery lesson first, then the others to follow. That last lesson did a good job explaining how to link JS to the DOM and how they interplay with each other in real time on a website. Because I wasn’t able to attend class last week and missed our initial discussion about JS, I did some research on my own and found what I think are a couple good “Intro to JavaScript” resources others might find helpful:

  1. w3schools.com — https://www.w3schools.com/js/js_whereto.asp
  2. dummies.com — http://www.dummies.com/web-design-development/javascript/javascript-and-html/
  3. betterexplained.com — https://betterexplained.com/articles/the-single-page-javascript-overview/
  4. htmldog.com — https://www.htmldog.com/guides/javascript/beginner/

Questions for the week are: what is the recommended order for developing HTML, CSS, and JS?; could we inspect a couple webpages to see how they are using JS?; if I wanted to create a rotating image block, is that done using JS?; and is an RSS feed JS? Also, would one ever code JS in CSS?

I look forward to working through some examples in class on Wednesday and spending some more free time practicing all three languages!



JavaScript — Difficult, But Not Impossible!

The JavaScript assignment this week was complex, yet simultaneously the most logical for me to follow. One of the Codecademy lessons pointed out that a lot of the JavaScript functions are very straight forward statements – “if” something then do [blank], otherwise, do [blank2]. The logical of that set-up, for me, is much easier to internalize than some of the CSS or HTML code (such as the difference between a class and id, still unclear why those need to be separate). Similarly, I found a lot of the functions to be relatively understandable. With if/else statements, for example, depending on the variable, the function will run though “if” “else” or “else if” statements until it finds the correct variable and then execute the appropriate statement.

Where the confusion, for me, came in was actually executing the code. Reading the Codecademy explanation, and reviewing the code provided by Codecademy, while time consuming, made sense after I read each line a few times. I struggled, however, when trying to recreate the code for a new set of variables, specifically when we got into functions.

Last week, my inability to execute the code would have been very concerning for me. However, this week I realized that my understanding of HTML and CSS has already greatly improved. I was able to build a new homepage with different fonts, colors, pictures, sizing, and overlapping images in a relatively short amount of time, which took me numerous hours last week. Thus, I am hopeful that with time and practice I will gain a similar familiarity with JavaScript.

I am excited to learn more about JQuery as I think that will simplify a lot of my confusion be de-cluttering the code. Sometimes I think I get lost in the numerous statements, variable, numbers, etc. I have a feeling I am overcomplicating the code, but I think the introduction of abbreviations will help me understand where I can cut back on wording.

Also, as a final side-note, I am interested to discuss in class how everyone’s slideshow is coming thus far. I feel relatively confident that I have built the CSS and HTML blocks correctly for the slideshow, but am struggling with (as mentioned above) actually executing the JavaScript code and wonder how others progress is coming along.

JavaScript: Even More Difficult than I Thought it Would Be

Echoing the thoughts of some of my peers, I found this week’s Codecademy lessons to be the most difficult to really understand. In particular, the lessons on functions, arrays, and looping really confused me, and I needed to go over practically each hint to figure out the correct code.

I think what I am struggling with most in learning JavaScript is understanding the purpose behind some of the pieces of code we are learning. I am still not exactly sure what a function does, which is the main thing I am struggling to understand, but I also don’t quite understand the purpose of elements like .pop() and .push() – why not change the initial array to include or exclude the items you specify in .push() or .pop()? I think seeing more real-world examples, like we did last week, will help me now that I’ve gone over the basic foundation laid out by Codecademy.

Another thing I struggled with was understanding how to correctly write pieces of code inside of code. Codecademy would ask me to write a for loop inside of a for loop, and I would have no idea how to set that up or where in the code to begin. It also made it hard to differentiate where one element of the code ended and another began.

As we go along, I am interested to learn more about how JavaScript, HTML, and CSS can work together. In Codecademy, it was really cool to see how you could use all three to make elements clickable or make them disappear. I know we went over a real-world example in class, but I’m excited (and slightly scared) to delve into making the gallery for next week’s assignment. I think it will be the best way to help me understand what I’ve learned. I am also looking forward to learning more about JQuery, since anything that can make JavaScript easier to understand and execute will be a big help. 

JavaScript – Help!

The past two weeks, I’ve spent most of my time attempting to learn the building blocks of JavaScript and JQuery. This is by far the most difficult part of Codecademy thus far and has taken me the most time to comprehend and complete. I was able to conquer the first two lessons of Codecademy with a little difficulty; the thought process behind variables made sense. Once we began adding in Functions, strings, and loops, I started to lose the literal connection between JavaScript and a functioning website. I learn by doing and through visualizations.  In order for me to comprehend something, I have to be able to see what the end result is of something…and is the reason why science has never been my strong suit. I am hoping that in the next class, we can take a step back and look at the building blocks of JavaScript from the beginning. While I valued the time you spent teaching Java Script from the w3school code, I think I need to start from the beginning, looking at the big picture and then at each individual piece, because it all builds on each other.

In an effort to not fall behind too quickly, I found a few resources that I thought were helpful in learning more about JavaScript. You can find them linked below. I hope they are of use to the class as well! Please let me know if anyone finds any other helpful resources.

Additional JavaScript Resources:

  • HTML Dog
    • On HTML Dog, they have different lessons and pages that go through similar content that we learned on Codecademy. I appreciated how easy it was to follow along and didn’t feel as lost as I did when going through the Codecademy lessons.
  • YouTube Tutorial
    • I found it helpful to see someone else in action writing the JavaScript code and connecting it back to how it works on a website. That being said, it isn’t the most thorough video.

The second half of the week, I started working on the midterm interview by searching on LinkedIn for potential connections with web developers. Would interviewing a web developer from HHMI’s sister research campus be too close of a connection? I am nervous about this assignment. I haven’t interviewed anyone for a story since college and know that my journalism skills have fallen flat since then. I’m looking forward to the challenge and what I’ll learn from someone who has made a career out of web development.


This week, I appreciate that our work was broken down into a small increment that was more manageable for me to work through and digest between last week’s class and this week. That being said, I definitely struggled with keeping all of the concepts straight, and I definitely took comfort in the fact that my fellow classmates had difficulty with some parts of the lessons as well.

One thing that confused me, and that I think Codecademy did not do a good job explaining, was some of the small pieces of syntax that got overlooked. Most specifically I believe this case was demonstrated when the syntax switched from regular parentheses to square brackets when writing out arrays — something I didn’t catch initially but only noticed when I worked through the problem for long enough. Things like this are very minute, but obviously make a difference when writing code. I also thought that the amount of knowledge (most specifically lumping in jQuery and JavaScript together) was a lot to comprehend. Even though it makes a lot of sense to learn those two language together, it was very hard for me to digest JavaScript and then jump right into jQuery — a language I don’t think was explained all that well.

One question that I had was about the explanation in Codecademy about generating a random card by using the Math.random and Math.floor functions. I wasn’t sure why you would multiply that function by 4, and where exactly that number and matching “card” came into play. Hopefully Greg will be able to shed some light on this, or hopefully walk us through this example and explain where the multiplication comes into play.

Overall I am looking forward to working through a couple of examples, similar to how we walked through the photo gallery last week, so that the overall structure of some of the jQuery concepts can be explained, and how that integration process works.

Muddling Through JavaScript Madness

I do have to say that I found this a little easier than the combined HTML and CSS lessons. Somehow this was less confusing. Much of my trouble came from Codecademy’s unclear instructions.

I also wonder if there was a glitch with the program. I have no idea if other students had the same problem but for some reason when I opened some of the lessons, the code was already complete. The solution was simple, I just refreshed the code. But when you are just starting out it is a little confusing.

I also struggled with the directions at points. The exercise would say to write JavaScript but not where. As I found out, the placement of certain elements is very important. I did not find the hints helpful with this, especially since they often gave the answer instead of gentle nudges in the right direction.

Thankfully many of the codes are very similar and build on each other. I struggled with divs and how to put them together and the way they interact with the elements on the HTML page. Variables and functions though, I picked up easily. It is strange because structurally they are kind of similar.

Overall I had significantly less trouble understanding this than I thought I would. Surprisingly enough I found myself enjoying learning this language. Maybe my fear came from the way it was described in class. Or seeing the completed code in another language while I was still struggling with the first two. I’m not sure really, but I like it now that I have tried it. Will I say the same thing later this week while trying to build a photo slideshow? Will I have the same level of clarity as I do today? Watch this space in a week for my answer.