Author Archives: Alexia Nal

Road to Fit

My final project will be focused on one of my niche interests of fitness and nutrition. My goal is to connect with others that want to get into fitness, but don’t know how or where to start. I chose this because I have always been into blogs and Instagram posts that inspire me to go on my own personal fitness journey. I want my final project to be personal, but also allow others to connect through input of their journeys as well.

When did we get here?

As I started to dive into the reading materials for week 7, I couldn’t help but reflect on how far we have come in the course. It feels like just yesterday we were learning HTML and CSS, but here we are at week 7 about to put all the pieces together through WordPress!

When I took a glance at the syllabus, I remember seeing WordPress and thinking about how this class was going to be a piece of cake. Man was I wrong! feels a lot more complicated than the that most of us know and love. It looks like this time I will be in charge of fully customizing my site and making it my own. Since I had a lot of trouble setting up the local host and linking the website, I am pretty scared to see how my final project turns out in the end.

I was incredibly overwhelmed while I was reading the WordPress assigned readings because it felt like a lot of information to fully comprehend. Although I know I will have to revisit the WordPress readings, I feel like they were introduced by our instructor for a reason. From reading these excerpts, I think it is incredible how helpful is in creating documentation entry excerpts that assist users in better understanding customization options.

There are a few things I have taken away from this week’s reading and it all starts with there bring three major components to WordPress: core, themes and plug-ins. From these three components, I should not touch the core function because when it updates as a new version, it overwrites core files. Then, I noticed that “plug-ins” came up multiple times in the different WordPress readings. It seems thatĀ  plug-ins will give me the customization that I want for our site since everything goes through it. Overall, it sounds like there are a lot of options for designing my site and I have no idea where to start. šŸ™

Making sense of PHP basics

I was nervous about being introduced to the PHP basics after the amount of time it took me to finish the gallery assignment. Another web development ingredient thrown into the mix sounded to me like a disaster in the making. This week I tried to make more sense of the purpose of PHP and I decided to turn to metaphors. The metaphor is, “the website is the restaurant and PHP is the cook who serves up a particular dinner order made from a set of ingredients. HTML is like the food on your plate when it arrives. CSS is like the restaurant decor- the color of the plates, the placement of the lights and table clothes, the quality of the silverware and the outfit of your waiter.” I understand that PHP is a server-scripting language, but wouldn’t that mean that every website requires PHP? With this metaphor in mind for the creation of websites, you can’t have a restaurant without a cook making the food. After learning a little bit about PHP in last week’s class, I feel like it would be helpful for me to reinforce the purpose of PHP with a website and then examine the impact PHP has on that website. This will definitely be one of my questions in tomorrow’s class so stay tuned!

Another thought about PHP is that it seems awfully similar to JavaScript in some aspects. For example, the “$” and for loops. I know there are some web developers that like to do HTML, CSS, and JavaScript on one file, but how do you avoid getting confused between PHP and JavaScript especially as a beginner? Is PHP basically a version of JavaScript, but for back-end purposes? Are there websites that are robust without PHP or does PHP help make the world go round in the web development world?

Is it ever helpful for beginners to understand back-end before front-end?

I found this chart on a website defining the difference between JavaScript and PHP and I thought I’d share to help other students:



JavaScript & jQuery: Challenge Accepted

I walked out of the February 12 class feeling somewhat positive that I could rock this gallery assignment. I quickly found out that feeling would not last as long as I would have liked it to when I was put to the test to do the gallery assignment on my own. During Tuesday’s class, my eyes were glued to the screen as my instructor went through HTML and the pseudocode for JavaScript. With Codecademy as my resource and a head start on the gallery assignment, I was not going to accept defeat. This assignment was going to be the best one yet, as so I thought!

Here is a run-down of what happened this week following the Tuesday class:

Wednesday: JavaScript lesson review

Thursday:Ā  jQuery Codecademy review

Friday: reviewed class lecture on Google Drive

Saturday: stared at pseudo code, used YouTube as a resource

Sunday: felt confident, reviewed gallery pseudo code, felt stressed, emailed instructor, desperately emailed 2 classmates for help, met up with 1 classmate, did my best to throw something together, felt defeated

Ultimately, my goal was to meet the deadline, but I became frustrated when I could not figure out how to get my buttons to work. One of the biggest lessons learned from this week’s assignment is that there is not a right way to create a finished product. I believe that my biggest mistake was overthinking that I was not doing the assignment the right way. There are so many ways to get to the final product!

I watched plenty of videos on how to create a gallery and noticed that a few people would use the hide feature in CSS instead of using this feature in JavaScript. Is there typically best practices of when to use CSS or JavaScript? I think it also confused me when I saw HTML, CSS, & JavaScript in one file of code. Do beginners separate the files to understand how each language functions or do some developers separate the files to keep everything organized?

Although I felt very defeated from this assignment, I am not going to let that get me down. I accept the challenge to eventually understand jQuery & JavaScript at the most proficient level that a beginner can be!

The adventures of jQuery

I attended my first class with little to no experience of web development skills. I have always heard people claim JavaScript as one of the tricky languages. However, when I finally becameĀ  comfortable enough with HTML and CSS, JavaScript and jQuery came into my life and I felt doomed. I understand that JavaScript is used for adding dynamic behavior to web pages, but I was a little confused by why people still use JavaScript if there are libraries like jQuery that make developers’ lives easier.

From my understanding, jQuery is basically pre-written JavaScript code that can be used in any coding project. As a newbie, I visited the first page of the Introduction to jQuery assignment thinking, “isn’t this cheating? Can JavaScript really be simplified?”Ā l have realized that in cases like this one, it isn’t worth reinventing the wheel. It finally makes sense why people claim that developers are lazy and I thank my introduction of jQuery for that. As a fan of metaphors, I like to think of it as you wouldn’t manufacture your own wood when building a house. With jQuery, web developers can spend less time connecting JavaScript features into a web page and dedicate majority of the time incorporating features that are unique to their site.

jQuery sounded too good to be true, so I went to the internet to research why jQuery is not always a good thing. During the lesson, I was confused on why we didn’t jump to jQuery and completely skip JavaScript. Rather than being built for JavaScript and DOM API combined, jQuery is built for DOM manipulation only. Apparently jQuery wasn’t exactly made for beginners so it is necessary to learn the core JavaScript language or else it would be difficult to use jQuery properly.

I guess I can’t quite say goodbye to JavaScript.


JavaScript is like muscles of the body

Is it normal to be more frustrated with JavaScript than HTML and CSS? In last week’s post, I wrote about how it is not a good idea to cram Codecademy lessons into one day; so for this week, I made it a mission to split up the lessons into multiple days. By doing this, I was able to go through each JavaScript lesson slowly and figure out the topics within JavaScript that I need to review again.

At first I thought HTML and CSS were overwhelming, but JavaScript completely blows both of these languages out of the water. This past weekend, I was at an event where I somehow ended up talking about web development with a girl that chose this field as a career. The first question I could not help, but asking her was, “Is it normal to be extremely frustrated with JavaScript?” She reassured me that everything would be okay and that eventually I will gain a full understanding of this language with more practice. I remember that in one of our past classes Greg explained HTML as the structure, CSS for styling this structure, and JavaScript as the behind the scenes actions. The girl I vented about my JavaScript confusions described HTML as the skeleton, CSS as the skin, and JavaScript as the muscles.

The way I like to think about it is JavaScript is the muscles and it communicates with the body in complexing ways. I think I got scared about JavaScript when the ‘Introduction to JavaScript’ Codecademy lessons began talking about math operators. I know that the lesson claims that math does not need to be a strong-suit to learn this language, but I think I’m still confused about the connection between math operators and the affect it has on a web page. Stay tuned for a question asked about this in class!

In addition, I really enjoyed the if/then statements of JavaScript. Although I wasn’t able to write them fluently, I can at least say that I was able to understand the syntax errors I was making in the exercises. I thought it was cool to see the if/then statements make cool additions to a web page that are “behind-the-scenes.” I am hoping to eventually become stronger in this language and I’m sure it will happen over time.

Practice, practice, practice!

As I glanced at the syllabus for this week’s assignments, I could not help but my find myself stressing out about creating a prototype homepage. Might I add, this feeling lasted for majority of the week and resulting in me avoiding Web Development homework at all costs. On Sunday morning, I decided it was time to stop being dramatic and begin digging into Codecademy lessons: “A Closer Look At CSS,” “CSS Visual Rules,” and “CSS Setup and Selectors” before taking a stab at the prototype homepage. Procrastination at its finest? Yes, but I have quickly found that procrastination might not be suited for the newbies of the coding world.

In last week’s post, I compared coding to my experience of learning a new language. I remember it became apparent that I needed to practice Arabic each day to become more proficient at the language. I don’t believe that procrastination is suited for learning languages, and neither is it for learning code. For this upcoming week, I have made it a goal of mine to practice the class material each day of the week to feel more comfortable with the different languages and desktop apps like Sublime Text and GitHub. Once I reviewed Codecademy lessons from last week and completed the new lessons focused on CSS for this week, I felt more confident in testing out some of the tags for my homepage. Honestly, I have a hate/love relationship with CSS. I think it is incredible that I can style the HTML text, but naming some of the HTML text as a class or ID confuses me. I feel like I am having trouble deciphering whether sections of the HTML text should be a class or an ID. I’m hoping to ask many questions in tomorrow’s class about this!

Also, I must owe credit where credit is due and thanks to Susan I was finally able to set up my brand new laptop with Sublime Text and GitHub while understanding how the connection of these apps work. I am still a little confused about the full functions of GitHub even after this week’s readings, but I am excited to become more acquainted with it in the future.

The beginning steps of building structure

The highlight of this week in terms of assignments was being able to do lessons on Codecademy! For the longest time I was not sure what HTML and CSS stood for or the difference of these languages. I am happy to say that I finally discovered that HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and the purpose of this language is to structure content on a page. As for CSS, it stands for Cascading Style Sheet and it is the style that dresses up the structure. These languages go hand in hand and often work together to create a beautiful web page. I think the reason why I have always been hesitant of code is because I was afraid of not understanding the purpose of each language. However, these two languages have names that speak for themselves once you know what each letter stands for.

In Codecademy, I was able to pick up on the material pretty quickly. However, I felt like the experience of doing these lessons had similarities to learning a foreign language. During undergrad, I studied Arabic and had to learn different rules in order to read and write. With HTML, there are different headings and tags that can easily go wrong if you do not follow the HTML rules. It is similar in learning Arabic, it is possible to completely change the meaning of a word by not following the rules of which letters go next to each other. It is important to continue practicing a foreign language daily in order to exercise this muscle in your brain. So far, it seems like it will be the same case for HTML & CSS. I feel determined to build the structure and let the rules flow after I continue to practice and revisit these lessons on Codecademy in the future.


A Whole New World

As I began watching the YouTube video for one of week 0’s assignments, I got excited when I had many “aha moments,” due to my experience in information technology on the military side. However, as I got my eyes on the reading assignments, I had a mixture of anxiety and ease.

In all honesty, programming seems like it is a giant puzzle that takes a lot of effort to solve. I have always had an interest in teaching myself the basics of coding, but I got extremely overwhelmed when I made the interesting choice of starting off with JavaScript as my first language. I used to feel extremely discouraged when people’s response to me expressing my love for public relations and interest for programming was “they are completely unrelated.” The blogs regarding computational thinking & journalism part one and part two granted me some ease and made me feel like it can be one of the most marketable skills a communications professional could have.

In the “Timeline of Software Languages” reading, it conveyed that coding languages are always changing. It was interesting to read that there are so many languages out there that serve different purpose, yet have the ability to feed off of each other. In the technology realm, programming and devices are constantly evolving. I predict that in the future, there will be many professions that will be valuable if they have at least some exposure to programming. The “Timeline of Computer History” is a great example that computers have never stopped changing from the 1930s.

Overall, I am happy to learn that programming isn’t so much a new world, but a part of ours that many professionals haven’t taken the time to get to know.

Is this a whole new world or is this a world I never took the time to see?