Another swing at Javascript and jQuery

I think I’m starting to get the hang of this jQuery thing. Last week felt like I had jumped into the deep end of a swimming pool after taking a single lesson on land. This week, I found a noodle to float on. jQuery seems a lot more straightforward – but I think I would feel more comfortable if I had a list of the most common commands or terms jQuery uses (fadeOut, slideToggle, etc.). How do programmers know if jQuery can do something on its own or if they have to write a whole new function for it? Obviously I’m not building anything on my own right now, but I would like to have a broad view of what the language is capable of so I can start envisioning what I want my future site to do (right now, I’m thinking it will be a personal portfolio website). Right now, I kind of feel like I’m still just obeying simple instructions from the Codecademy lesson, not testing to see if I actually know anything.

Last week, Greg half-jokingly suggested that we compare our weekly assignments to dancing – one of my favorite sports – in our analysis posts. I thought, “Why would coding ever remind me of dancing?!” Of course, I spoke (thought?) too soon. Yesterday, my girlfriend surprised me with tickets to seeĀ Anything Goes at the Kennedy Center. The first act ends in a show-stopping tap dance number (I LOVE MUSICALS), and it occurred to me, as a former not-so-great tap dancer, that tap dancing is kind of like coding.

There are really only four or five sounds you can make with tap shoes, but the way you put them together can result in infinite steps and rhythms. Javascript has only a few basic commands, but combined in different ways produces all kinds of cool effects. Also, if you mess up one little part of a step, you’re kind of screwed for the rest of the dance, because it’s hard to jump back in at the right time. A wrong tap that stands out from the group makes the whole ensemble sound messy. One little coding mistake – a misplaced parentheses or errant semicolon – can prevent an entire webpage function from happening.

Hopefully I’ll end up a better coder than I ever was a tap dancer.

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