Since January, I’ve been learning front-end web development through the Udacity Grow With Google scholarship. It’s been a fast, fun 2.5 months. I first learned to code in 1990 (dating myself) when I took a Fortran class. And although I went on to take computer science classes in Ada, Lisp, and Smalltalk, and later learned Perl and some Visual Basic, I’ve never experienced a learn-to-code environment as supportive as this one.
The 3-month challenge course is almost over now, and I’d like to give back to future Udacity students (and anyone else learning front-end web development) by highlighting a few confusing concepts. I’ve created a Medium Publication, Showing Our Work, where I’ll blog about what I’ve learned. And I hope fellow students will join me.
I don’t mean making the clacky nose on a keyboard. I mean variable types. Some programming languages, like the first ones I learned, are strongly typed languages. A variable can be a few different types. For example, an integer, meaning a whole number; or a string, meaning a series of letters, number, and other characters. You cannot add an integer to a string, or you will get an error.
"julia" + 1
Reference vs. value
This can run you into trouble when you think you’re changing a value in your function, but actually you’re just changing a copy of the value.
Fellow student Megan Spaulding does a terrific job of explaining this (with drawings) in her blog post, Changing Array Values in a forEach Loop.
Ok, I admit that jQuery is not my favorite subject. When we got to this stage of the course, the lessons switched from a mix of text and video to mainly video. And that’s not my preferred medium. (Shocking to hear from a professional writer, I’m sure.) Also, there are a million ways to do things in jQuery. Some are more efficient than others.
But the main thing about jQuery, the thing that first baffled me when I tackled project 3, the pixel art maker? I forgot you have to include jQuery in your HTML, otherwise you can’t use it. 🙂
I felt like the stupidest person in the world until I figured this out, so I’m passing it on to you, so you can at least get started on your Pixel Art Maker project.
BTW, fellow student Matt Cranford wrote a great blog post on how to get started, so if you’re still feeling stuck, make sure you read Navigating the Pixel Art Maker Project on his blog.