I like that we are beginning to see results on our own webpages, because the conceptualization can only get you so far. I feel like we have learned a new foreign language (or several!) in a short period of time, and only now are we starting to talk to anyone in those languages.
One of the greatest skills in a work environment (like mine) with coders and management is the ability to be a liaison between the two. Seriously. Coders talk in these funny languages and everyone else talks in English (or French, or Spanish, etc) and usually neither side takes the initiative to try and understand the other. The ability to understand “code-speak” and translate it into real results is a highly valued commodity, and I think that this class is beginning to make it a reality for us.
In my normal coding experience, we specialize so deeply that once we send the code to production, we simply move onto the next project and rarely see the end result. To be honest, I have never really cared because all of the work I do refers to life insurance accounts and how their algorithms work. It has never really engaged me more than the simplicity of my work, and I have always wanted to get out of that business (hence journalism!), but with this class, it has brought me back to why I started learning about computers in the first place. I am very excited about what we are doing, and have already been envisioning building the website to host several things that can be related to a new business and journalism at the same time.
I am a bit intrigued that PHP is its own language rather than just part of the HTML syntax. I like that the PHP is self-closing and makes it easy to find and, hopefully, easy to work with the code. It makes me chuckle that the PHP language started because a coder wanted to write some code for his own webpage, and it grew into an incredibly popular language used by so many people. It just epitomizes the way that coders live and work.
This week seems to have less concepts to learn and more syntax to learn. I am glad, because I have been feeling like we are constantly building upon what we have already learned, but we usually only did the things we just learned once or twice. Now that we are doing things that allow us to practice using the earlier concepts, I am feeling more confident with the earlier material. I think this is because I learn by repetition and doing something just once or twice isn’t enough to make me confident in the practice.
I’m not sure if this is because it is the summer semester or just the material, but I felt that the first few weeks were a firestorm of new information, and the next few weeks will be figuring out what information was vital and we need to get proficient in.
The weeks that we have been doing this have shown me that I can be getting better at coding, while constantly being confused about one thing or another. As soon as I get the answer to something I don’t understand, the next thing we do reinforces the idea that I am learning via the “trial by fire” method. (Lots of fire.)
I really want to get into some actual web-based setup, so that we can see tangible results (including massive failures!). I want to attempt to make some things work on my website, realize that they don’t work, try to figure out how to make them work, give up and Google why it’s not working, and then laugh about how simple the mistake was that I made. This is how I learn best (hey, don’t judge me, haha!).
The only part I am confused about for this week was the web hosting and setup of our sites. I got the GoDaddy and installed WordPress on it, but I didn’t do anything that I remembered from class (I wasn’t able to do them in class because my laptop wasn’t able to handle the “newfangled” software, and so I wrote everything down). I’m not sure if we’re going to go over it again in class, or it was a “FYI” kind of thing, or if we will use it later?
I was a bit upset that GoDaddy couldn’t sell me the domain I wanted, and there’s nothing even on the domain, so I wanted to take it over, but alas, I think I will be able to move on from it.
I like the slow pace of the Codeacademy, because it is actually teaching a lot of material very quickly, but it makes it seem manageable and not overwhelming. I remember (and STILL have) many of those fat language books you referred to in class (right now I can see three COBOL books, an HTML for Dummies and a SQL book weighing down my bookshelf). The manner I learned COBOL was a trial by fire (and almost fired…) that really made me feel that it is so hard to pick up a language cold, and I wish I had found the codeacademy long ago.
The following is due by Sunday at 5 p.m. Please refer to the syllabus for links:
- Bring your laptops: or else you have to set MAMP or XAMPP all up on your own at home for homework next week!
- Complete the two Codecademy lessons: I’d recommend starting these as soon as possible because, even though there are only two, they’ll probably take longer the HTML lessons
- Add styling and captions to your gallery page: the captions part is actually simpler than it seems. Take a step back and think about what code you already have and what it’s doing before you add any more jQuery.
The following is due before next Tuesday’s class:
- Sign up for a GitHub account: free!
- Install GitHub on your computer and log in with your account: also free!
- Download MAMP (for Mac) or XAMPP (for Windows)
The summer semester nears! Please completely the following no later than Sunday, May 19 at 5 p.m.:
Everyone will receive an individual login for this WordPress site so you can submit the analysis. If you haven’t used WordPress before, please see the first section on how to post. Be sure to:
- Add a title
- Under “Categories,” check the box for “2013 Summer class”
- Change the status to “pending review” and save
- If you don’t want it published on the course blog, please put DO NOT PUBLISH at the top
Please let me know if you have any questions by email or in the comments below. I look forward to meeting everyone at the first session of class!