I missed most of the class this past week, so I don’t have much to say on that end. Based on what my peers have told me, the gallery assignment is a little daunting I even got told: “for real though you should try not to miss that class [redacted] is hard.” Ha. So I will do my best to attend every class for the remainder of the semester. (I will be in California on Oct. 4, but we can discuss that at another time).
Anyway, I will talk about my midterm project now. I did an interview with Brittany Ohalete, a senior in the school of engineering. We share a mutual friend, which worked out so perfectly. Brittany Ohalete is unique because she is an artist and a developer. She has a pretty popular graphic design business — called BOPHO — where she creates custom logos, event/party flyers, Snapchat filters, CD cover art, and more. On the other end, she is a full-stack developer. (Sidebar: it’s pretty cool that I even know what that means now.) She fluent in about 6 or 7 programming languages and loves to learn new ones as well as developing frameworks. I’ll end it here, as not to ruin the actual project.
I have written a little over half of it now. My next steps are to finish it — duh. Edit, rearrange, make things more concise, tighten up quotes etc. etc. I don’t really know the direction I am going with this profile, though. It feels as if I am just rambling. I think I need to figure out my hook and how to move the story to a natural progression. When I read profile articles from The Guardian or The New York Times there’s always a very strong hook. All the material is there, I just need to find a better way to organize it.
While I’m learning these new programming languages, it’s interesting to compare how these are similar to the language (or languages) we speak everyday. So this has me ponder: what in the English Language could be analogous to jQuery? What comes to mind first are contractions for words. Instead of cannot or do not or I have we instead use can’t and don’t and I’ve. These remind me of jQuery because in place of using the individual words to help portray our ideas, we insert pre-packaged words that still get across our point without using so many characters or in most cases combining two words. In both instances, conciseness is key. Lengthy, wordy, and down-right redundant speech is pushed aside for the brief yet comprehensive.
Approaching these programming languages from a linguistic point of view really helps in my understanding of these new concepts. Stepping back and looking at new concepts from a lens in which you are comfortable with is essential to learning. Many things in this universe are connected. There’s certain patterns that exist across species, languages, science, and math. I guess this all goes to say, you’ve always been aware.
This week we got to really dive into writing HTML and adding flair with CSS. In class we got to design a very basic webpage. Mine was simply “Welcome to my site” & “My name is Jessica and I am writing on my site” beneath it. For our homework assignment we were able to add a little more glamour. While I was working on it I thought I was doing such a good job and it felt like it was even taking awhile. Revisiting it about a day later, it looked HORRIBLE!! It looked so plain, ugly, and basic. But I guess it’s all in the process. That all goes to say, I’m excited to keep exploring the world of CSS. On Codecademy, one of the lessons prompted us to link a CSS sheet and it turned the boring HTML into a masterpiece. Get ready “Welcome to my site” — big things are coming.
Readings this week focused on utilizing inspect element to its fullest potential and responsive web design. Focusing on the latter, responsive web design is critical in today’s age. We are constantly switching between laptops, phones, tablets, and in some cases even our watches. User experience design is at the forefront of technology and web design. How can our users be more engaged? How can our design be as efficient and intuitive as possible? Responsive web design is just the first step. The W3 School article broke down how to customize essentially every aspect of a site — from templates to videos — to be able to make these aspects automatically configure to a given device’s mentions. Something as simple as an image scaling to fit varying dimensions can make a user’s experience that much better. The small pain of an in-cohesive site, truly makes a difference in how a user thinks and feels about whatever brand or service or personal blog your website is trying to promote.
After diving into actual HTML this week — I have discovered it is not so hard after all. Of course I save my full review for once I am beyond lesson 1 on Codecademy. Lesson 1 went fairly smooth, with only a few times I had to resort to the “solution” button. It was usually simple stuff that should have been easy to catch. For example, I thought I had this code instruction 100% right and could not figure out why I wasn’t advancing. The issue? I was writing under <h2> instead of <h3>. It’s the little things.
It’s been said that if you can memorize the basic seven tags, you can be pretty fluent in HTML. It’s incredible to me, that these seemingly complex sites can be broken down into a bunch of <p>’s <h>’s and backslashes. I understand that writing will produce an output, but I still struggle with why does the computer/site know how to do that. What does that programming look like?
This week’s dive into (intentional) HTML usage makes me reflect on my youth. I’ll start with MySpace. At the tender age of 8, I was customizing my profile’s HTML with different font styles and colors. How did I forget all that? I have seen interesting literature about these types of introductions into HTML/CSS. That they can actually be more beneficial for adolescents to learn how how to code rather than a Codecademy model. Notably, especially in keeping young girls interested in computer languages. I think this could be an interesting thing to discuss in one of our lectures. In my teen years, I was no longer this expert coder but had my fair share of fun with Google’s inspect element. I once added a class called “Underwater Basket Weaving” to my junior year schedule and posted it to Twitter. People got a kick out of that. I’m excited now, though, to use “inspect element” to actually understand what the heck is going on under this screen.
I never thought of coding as poetry. I never really thought of coding as anything. My mind refuses to accept that a bunch of zeros and ones can equate to anything other than a bunch of zeros and ones. How the technology we interact with everyday is the brainchild of math and science rather than magic. How can the intricacies of our apps, sites, and platforms be narrowed down to a wire? But the answer is in the term: coding languages. Languages. What encompasses a language? Grammar, technique, vocabulary, and so forth. And what sprouts of a language? Art, literature, film, expression, and poetry. I linger on that last one. The Zen of Python awakened a new meaning to those zeros and ones. A set of 19 aphorisms bordering on the intersection of prose and poetry unravel a complex set of ideas into concise proverbs. After all, simple is better than complex.
It really is so simple. Something created by humans, for other humans. What is a language if not a reflection of humanity?