Learn HTML CSS Javascript first!

Hey friends,

So i don’t know how most of you got into web development.  Mine is a bit of a weird story.

I had just discovered the fact that i liked programming or to phrase it better re-discover it after years. How did this happen? In my day job  i had to actually start doing some parsing of xml files in order to make accomplishing things much easier.I was at the time working with a framework that was using zipped xml files for many many things and the ability to actually manipulate these files outside of the framework would decrease the time of everyday tasks by a lot.

Flirting with Programming

So i actually picked up Python ,our software engineers were using it for all sorts of parsing and i believed it would be a cool skill to aqcuire(and it was), and through a coursera class i tried to re-learn  many fundamental programming ideas.

I want to take a moment to praise this class because even though it never goes way too deep but it gives you enough to get started and start looking for yourself.Charles Severance is simply put an amazing teacher and you can find all sorts of random amazing  videos throughout the courses he teaches. You can tell from the way he talks how much he loves teaching and how much he loves programming and you can’t help but start loving it too. After this course i took some other courses as well regarding python that were touching object oriented programming a bit more than this one but i won’t tire you more now because this is not the point of this post.Maybe in another one.

See something missing here?So far i have not mentioned web development at all.To be honest at that point for some reason i had in my mind that being a web developer was not cool at all?That web development at our age had something to do with only building simplistic things with no actual depth…I sincerely don’t know what i was thinking. We were at a point that most of the applications started moving from our computers to our browsers and i was still thinking that you could not do much in the web…I really really don’t know what was in my head. Somewhere at that point i heard from someone that Ruby was an amazing language with very elegant syntax, great for beginners and that it had a framework called Ruby on Rails that was really popular and and and…Still see something here? No web development involved.Basically until the moment i took my first class in Ruby i was not fully aware what it meant to be a web developer or that i even wanted to become one. It was like my mind was blocking these two words at the time: Web Development.

Rails First Contact

So i started a coursera specialization called Web Development with Ruby on Rails just out of curiosity and the course started with setting up ruby and rails and the second week was all about ruby.So far so good(i am not actually reviewing the quality of the course here). The third week was intro to rails and there was were the weird feeling that i was missing something huge started growing. At some point the professor said something like, oh by the way if you are not familiar with html and css (and javascript implied), pff don’t worry about we are gonna go over it in the 4th course of the specialization which at the time was not even yet out and still is not yet out.At that moment i froze a bit.And started thinking how is it possible to do things if i don’t even understand how a web page is structured.I was not gonna wait 4 months for a course to be released.I really think that this was silly from the professors to expect something like that and not even suggest at least some non competitive/free website for someone to go to learn these things.

So basically at this point i started creating the big picture of what exactly is web development and what are the basic elements.What is a framework?What is front-end?What is back-end?
Also somewhere around this point i really really reviewed my way of approaching a new subject but this is a post in itself.I realised many things myself because my approach with web development was really really horrible and if i had not realised this early this would end up holding me back for a long time.

I was heavily influenced by a man called  John Sonmez who runs simpleprogrammer.com and he also has a  youtube channel .John is really trying to be helpful to fellow programmers and his videos were eye opening to me about how how should i treat my potential career in web development or development in general.I can’t praise him enough really.

HTML CSS

In my opinion if you are trying to learn web development even if you are focusing mostly on backend  you are handicapping yourself if you avoid or delaying learning html and css.
Html for those who don’t know is the structure of a page and CSS is the way things are styled or positioned in the page. What can you do with only these two you say?

  1. Build full websites.Nothing fancy but you can really build websites with only html css if you want
  2. Debug existing simple pages or change a  small feature here and there .This is important because many many freelance small jobs ask something that simple.Really.
  3. You are enabled to learn bootstrap or similar frameworks that can help you create even cooler sites with minimal effort.Learn bootstrap also.Please!

I like games and sometimes i like to think my skills similarly to those of an rpg character.. For those you don’t know what an rpg is .You usually have stats in several areas like Strength,Speed,Intelligence.
Most of the times your character is really strong in one or two areas and weak in most others. In many games what you are trying to do is get the bare minimum points to just unlock a whole new set of abilities that are offered by your weaker areas. You don’t really benefit much after a while if you just make your  strong abilities stronger but making a weak one reach a critical point that unlocks a set of abilities is really cool 😀

The above could be a bit failed metaphor but i hope you can see where i am going with this. On one hand you really want to specialize and focus but not spending some small amount of time to understand related subjects can only hinder you in the long run.Also it is cool when people from the other side don’t have to explain basic things from their job to you and vice versa.

JavaScript

I actually decided to split the 3 because tackling javascript can be a bit harder  and challenging as it is a full programming language in itself.
Ruby on Rails and i suspect other frameworks make a pretty good job in the eyes of a beginner to hide javascript but it is there hiding ready to kill you…No it won’t kill you but it is there nonetheless 😀
I was working on a project where i had to implement ajax and other javascript elements and i was really lost and ended up copy pasting things that did not make sense and again i stopped.I really needed to at least get some basic knowledge of javascript and i am currently doing that and you know what? It is really fun and it really got me interested on going to my browser and play with things way more than before. I believe that if you know javascript you know what i mean and if you don’t, you will once you start learning.
Also  javascript is the most marketable skill at the moment or at least one of the most marketable skills so how can it possibly hurt you to learn it?

Not much rails here mr Railswalker

Yes there is not much rails in this post.I am actually urging people to learn other stuff. And from this post this is something i really want you to take.
Don’t be religious.
Don’t be fanboys.
One technology is not better than the other.All things have their use,their time and their place.

Learn how to learn

We work or want to work in constantly changing field.
The most important skill is to learn how to learn and each one of us must develop his/her own routine/ritual and keep refining the process of acquiring a new skill and putting it to good use.
If we don’t love learning then i think that really we are in the wrong field.

Railswalker