Learning Web Coding Basics

Two of my most regularly referenced books in the 1990s were an HTML 4 guide and a beginner’s Javascript manual.  As my career has progressed, I have had less need to dig into programming and coding details but I have taken on a Web development team in the last year and it has reawakened my own interest in coding.  I had heard from numerous sources about Codecademy.com (NOT codeAcademy.com and NOT codeAcademy.ORG) and the free lessons you could get there in Javascript.   When I was home sick the other day, I decided to give them a try.

The three that were up there when I first visited have been supplemented with a fourth.  I particularly liked the basic Javascript course and the new JQuery course in the way they deliver information.  The interface is really impressive, with its imitation coding interface so that you can type in code and run it and see the output in a console, all within the Codecademy Web site.  I was pleased to find that I had remembered some things but also found lots that was new to me.  If someone asked me, I would say it was definitely accessible by beginners and I think I will have my kids take a look at it and see what they can work out. As a comparison point, I was looking at some PHP programming books at the public library and all of them started out with a much higher knowledge level than the online courses do.  The hands-on experience is also far better than looking at a code sample in a book and having to figure out how to recreate it, or, as often happens, just using someone’s pre-written code samples and learning to tweak them but not really understand what is going on.

I’d highly recommend anyone with a bit of curiosity to try the Codecademy courses.  Managers who are dealing with Web developers can learn a bit of the lingo and there is just something so satisfying at seeing the console spit out what it is supposed to!

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