Author Archives: Capricia Alston

What we’re really getting ourselves into

Going into this class, I had absolutely no knowledge of what coding looked like or how it functioned (besides on MySpace). I really hope to get two major things out of this class. The first thing I’d like to do is be able to communicate with coders/programmers so that I’m not that annoying person coming to them frequently to do the easiest task ever. I’d also like to be able to create and manage my own portfolio website. I know this is pretty easy to do on WordPress, but actually knowing how to troubleshoot and how to make my site more unique is a skill I think it wouldn’t hurt to have. This may come off a little selfish, but it seems like the more you can say you know in this industry, the better of a brand you have created for yourself. It would be very gratifying for me to be able to list that I know HTML (or at least the basics of it).

I doubt very many people are reading our blog, but if they are, I do have a word of advice: If you have the opportunity to learn how to code in high school or college, go for it. I remember having a class similar to this in undergrad, but being an athlete, I — embarrassingly enough — was able to pass the course with flying colors with “help” from my tutor. I was practically handed a site to turn in by the end of the course and learned nothing besides the fact that I never wanted to take that course again. I can’t say I’ll leave this class being a master coder or even wanting to continue to pursue programming, but I do realize how important it is that I know the basics of what’s really going on behind all of these web pages.

Introduction Class

Like most first classes, we started out by introducing ourselves and our purpose for being in the class. What stood out to me though is that this was the first time I’ve been in a class and everyone had close to the same experience and hopes for the class. It’s nice to go into this class with people on similar levels because it will be that much more gratifying to see where we all started and where we’ll finish. It seemed like most of us are taking this class to be able to troubleshoot and manage our own portfolio pages, so we may even be able to help one another at some point.

We didn’t even touch our computers this class so I’m sure this sense of calm I have will be replaced by stress in the near future once we dive in. I like that Greg is realistic about this course and doesn’t seem to expect masterpieces from us. Most of the people I’ve talked to that know code have either taught themselves or felt like it was just their calling and learned it at a young age. The vibe I get from a course like this is that the learning is in our hands. Greg will give us the essentials on a platter but how good we get at it will be through just a lot of practice and searching ourselves. As much as I look foward to seeing my finished product (and others’ as well), it is all a little intimidating. I want my website to be this amazing site once we’re finished, but I’m comparing my hopes to work of coders’ that have done this for at least half of my life. Regardless, I am excited to see what this semester has in store for us.

I may need to stick to BASIC

I left this Codecademy lesson probably more confused than when I started. I found myself searching for whatever code would allow me to progress to the next page with very little to no grasp of what I actually did. No matter how many times I looked back on what I did, I could not figure out why or how I managed what it is I did.

My JavaScript experience in Codecademy was like night and day to how I felt when I had completed HTML. And yes, I do know that HTML and JavaScript should not be compared because we’re talking about two way different things, but it’s a pretty bad feeling to be sitting behind your computer for hours and still not feel that overwhelmingly short rush of victory once it is completed.

I would prefer the answers to be given to you at some point beyond just hints because at several points in this lesson, I found myself just completely off-track. I read one of Rob’s posts before and he made a good point that because there’s no such thing as really cheating, there is no reason why the answers could not be displayed somewhere. After hearing from our guest speakers, I understood that programmers often grab and add-on to other codes they find, so it’s not like it would take away from our learning if we had them as an option. By not having them, I found myself focusing more on how to complete this task on time, rather than really learning. Also, I’m curious if I’m just an extremely slow learner or if these assignments are taking everyone over 7 hours to figure this stuff out.

Now that I’ve complained this entire post, I will admit that I do understand why JavaScript is so necessary for a website to really catch and keep your attention. Even the most basic interactive websites use JavaScript and knowing that, I will continue to struggle but try as hard as possible to figure this out before the semester is over.

Content and Presentation

I really enjoyed this week’s lesson and assignments. Just like we discussed during the first week of class, this work is extremely gratifying once you see your code successfully appear as a website. I understand why this is becoming more and more common for journalists to switch over to. Coding requires a keen eye not only from a formatting side but a grammatical side as well. There were several instances where I was stuck in Codecademy and it had nothing to do with the formation of my code, but rather a grammatical error. Luckily this didn’t happen often but it is already difficult enough for me to remember what all of these tags mean and I was constantly reminded how important grammar is as well.

I had the most difficulty with remembering the image source codes and exactly how they were supposed to be formatted versus the hypertext references. This was our first week using Codecademy and I’ve already grown to love it. Although it took me a while to get through all of the lessons, I’ve truly learned from it. I’ve had to learn to build sites before in college, but the software allowed me to speed through and not really retain things. Codecademy had a lot of repetition (which can get annoying, but is worth it) and I enjoyed seeing my work as I went. I know that we are nowhere near pros, but from this one week, I’ve learned and actually believe that web development is not as scary once you learn what and why things are done the way they are done. Like most of us in this class, by no means do I want to take this on full-time, but it is so fulfilling to be able to know how to speak code and I’m looking forward to the end of the summer when I finally have my own website.