Author Archives: Luis Gonzalez


It has by far been the most frustrating weeks of learning in the web development course.

JavaScript is not the easiest to comprehend, and yet it accomplishes some of the greatest tasks on the Internet.

The Codecademy lessons were somewhat informative, but also not easy.

Due to a work/vacation trip I had to work on the lessons before Tuesday’s class. Learning from a written lesson is not the best way of learning for me, and the errors on Codecademy don’t provide much assistance. I found myself in the forums a lot looking for key pieces of information, evaluating other coders who also had broken code and comparing them to mine. I finished the lessons before Tuesday class which I imagined would give me a leg up in class, but I was sorely mistaken. There were a lot of key terms and lessons that weren’t even a part of the Codecademy section.

I appreciated Emily coming into the class and diving deep into JavaScript and the console. I think I learned a good amount from it. I’m sure I forgot a lot of it during the trip, so we’ll see how much I retained.

The image gallery we built was by far the biggest frustration so far. After three cups of coffee, 4 hours of googling and repeated cursing, I finally figured it out and it was the simplest work around I could have imagined. Thankfully it works and I never have to look at that gallery again.

#HTML and #CSS for Tweeters

The key concepts are pretty easy to master across the board for both HTML and CSS for beginners. Remembering all the properties is a little more difficult. As a person who must have been out sick in the third grade when they went over colons and semicolons it was a bit more difficult than I imagined. I constantly forgot which one to use as I worked on styling different h tags. I would imagine one of the most confusing pieces is remembering all the different fonts it will accept as well as choosing and remembering different hex color codes.

Most of the time spent for me was trying to do edit the code from spelling errors and using the wrong punctuation. It brings me back to the first article I read on The Linchpen and the parallels between a journalist and a programmer. Unfortunately, for me I’m not a journalist nor do I aspire to be. As a person who tweets in fewer than 140 characters, often having to forgo punctuation it makes it a bit more difficult. For this very reason, I enjoyed the CSS part of the learning exercises.  It allows for clean code on the HTML file with just classes and ids instead of styling each h2 and div with repeat code over and over again.

As for how the Codecademy operates, it makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure how I would simplify it, but it seems a little heavy. I’m not sure if it will make it more difficult in the future, but I think it could do without the squares around the different properties to force memorization upon the students. The reading is a little heavy on the left hand side, but it does help in understanding. The only real complaint I have is that it often freezes and it wont let you input more code. Aside from that, it has really helped me understand many of the key concepts.

Web Inspector: Modern Day Sherlock Holmes

The articles on HTML and CSS brought me back to my and days. Changing background colors, fonts, adding boxes, and frames around photos was all the rage in my youth. Mostly on the HTML front, CSS and the curly brackets make my head spin but I think these articles made it clearer. The way I understood it is; you place certain qualities in a single style sheet and then you just reference certain portions of the sheet in your HTML document. By placing it in a separate sheet you don’t have to read two different styles in one document should you need to edit. This reminds me of the Zen of Python where you want to make things as simple as possible so that anyone can replicate or edit the document.

I really enjoyed the articles on responsive design as well as adaptive layouts.  When I worked at an agency everyone wanted to redesign the websites we made for our clients a few years back in a responsive layout. I imagine it was due to the amount of potential revenue it could drive as opposed to editing their current websites to create adaptive websites. The agency of course would recommend adaptive layouts should the client not want to redesign their recently designed websites. It makes a lot of sense for every website being designed from this point on to be responsive. The sites must be designed with mobile and tablet in mind as Internet usage increases among non-desktop devices. It really is a huge missed opportunity for so many local businesses. As I continue to brand myself as a social consultant that offers web services to local business this will be a big selling point that I’ve underused in my past pitches.

I found the Web Inspector article really interesting. I’ve used it before but I have yet to use the network tab and the files tab, which I will now start to use. I was so fascinated I also read the article on the “Dollars for Docs” project. It’s amazing to think that the drug companies make content very difficult to read to protect their relationships with doctors. It’s equally amazing that with a few keystrokes and clicks you can get a clear and easy to read document with all the information of your health professionals and the financial relationship with the drugs companies. The web inspector tool is the modern day Sherlock Holmes.

Advance with every line of code

To say half of the articles went over my head is an understatement. I did however enjoy the common themes among the majority of the articles. The ‘How The Internet Works’ video was really informative and I never thought there were that many pieces in play. I was already familiar with the concept that websites are on servers and that’s the very reason Bluehost charges me as much as they do.

The technological timeline of the Internet and other things is really inspiring and it really makes you think how much things will advance in the next 30 years. Perhaps we’ll never have to deal with slow 3G internet on phones again (one can only hope).

The ‘Rethinking Our Thinking’ article on The Linchpen was informative, yet made you think about the parallels between programming and journalism. I respect the journalism profession and I’m even more intrigued after seeing shows like the House of Cards.

The article on computational thinking advanced the notion of programmers and journalists seeking the same goals just in different languages. It made the case for journalists to learn about programming because its another way of delivering a story instead of the declining traditional print method. A few of the parallels were reaching, but I could appreciate the insight.

The ‘Pragmatic Programmer Quick Reference Guide’ was anything but quick, but it was well-written. The Unix Philosophy was also well-written, it just happened to go over my head. The overarching themes I got out of both articles was the need to write clean code, to always keep the end user in mind and to limit bugs by building in a way that helps you test. A few of the rules were filled with jargon, I imagine I will understand as I learn more.

My favorite articles were the WordPress and GNU philosophies. They described a community of do-gooders that are writing and creating great software to help the end users. The GNU philosophy focused more on the concept of freedom of speech and urged the need to make your code easily accessible to others so they can use it for their own projects or to improve upon your work. It made me think of scientists who write about their experiments and advances so that one day people can read their journals and replicate their results and build upon them. It’s a way to continue your legacy and make an impact on technology as a whole. I am familiar with WordPress and I believe that they truly operate behind that philosophy. It’s a great CMS platform that is versatile among many industry verticals.

The Zen of Python is eloquently written and also focuses on the need to write clean code and simplify everything if it could be made simpler. I imagine that Python users keep those words in mind when writing code. The words seem to be engrained deep into the programming culture (if there is such a thing). All of the articles gave me great insight into what programmers attempt to achieve with every line of code.