Slight Hiatus.

So tomorrow I will leave the country for three weeks. I have some training exercises with the National Guard that will draw my attention and I wont be able to study while I am away. This aspect sucks because there is still a considerable amount of work that I’d like to do before I leave on my Coding Dojo Adventure, but then again, I really like being prepared.

As far as studying goes, I havent accomplished much over the past few days seeing as its been Memorial Day Weekend. I chose to spend my time with my wife, kids, and packing. Once I return from my military obligations I’ll turn around and dissappear for the whole summer. I wanted to enjoy their faces, laughter, and crazy antics as much as I could.

I’m almost done with the exercises on Code Academy for Javascript. I just got into their Object Oeriented Programming section and the way they describe methods is a bit muddling. I’ve come to realize that in programing, you really only have a few different things you can do: loops, if statements, and functions. Things like objects, methods, and classes are just chunks of code used in different ways, and often times, each language has different deffenitions and rules. For example, in Ruby, everything is an object. C only has functions. Javascript has methods and, on the surface, are exactly the same as functions. Its all a bit dizzying but I know I’ll get the hang of it. My biggest thing is that I just need to DO it. Enter Coding Dojo and the expected 80 – 100 hours a week I’ll spend coding.

I figure that even if I suck, by sheer brute force I’ll achieve some level of proficiency by the end of things 🙂

I’ve also had to start dabbling in wireframing. I think the idea is neat and 100% necessary, but I haven’t been given much guidance on what to wireframe. They just said, “Go therefore and create-ith two wireframes for your first two projects. Each shall hath 3 – 5 pages”. Needles to say, I haven met that goal. I’ll take my lashings when I show up and catch up as fast as I can.

The program we’re to use is called Balsamiq Mockups. Its pretty neat. Thats all I’ll say about that.

So yeah, this’ll be my last post before I start my drive out west. I just hope I’ve managed to find a place to stay before I go!



Ok, so I’m now onto Javascript with Code Academy. It’s pretty straightforward stuff. However, Code Academy has dropped the ball for the first time. I’ll do an exercise and fill in the code correctly, it’ll work, but then it returns and says that I’m wrong. I’ll get an error message telling me that it didnt output the necessary data but you can look at the prompt and see that it has. So yeah, Code Academy needs to work on their own code at that point.

The only other problem I have with it is that I already have a good grasp on functions, loops, etc. I understand the concepts, I just need to know how to write it in Javascript. But, understandably, they explain the hows and whys of everything about subjects I understand. This makes it a bit frustrating but I’ll work with it. I need to finish it soon because I’ve noticed that now they want me to study up on some PHP before I go as well.

I also started to connect with other people in the class. It looks like everyone is still house hunting. Hopefully, I settle something before I leave for some military training. I’ll only have a day or two after I get back before I start driving to Cali.


Code Academy.Com

So I’m prepping for my upcoming course at Coding Dojo. I’ve had a good bit more free time lately so I’m able to make some good progress. I’ve been working through Code Academy and I’ve completed the HTML/CSS and jQuery portion. Its pretty awesome stuff and it makes me appreciate those who actually create websites with pure code and no IDE help (like Dreamweaver). It sucks having to manually format everything by hand. I’m also pretty stoked about jQuery. The library is full of nifty things to make your web page look slick.

I just wanted to stop and share that Code Academy is probably the best free, online, intro to coding I’ve found. And I’ve found a lot of sites. Places like Treehouse offer a paid subscription and I doubt they go more in depth than Code Academy. I’m rather skeptical of any site that claims to teach you to code beyond basic introductory stuff. I’ve realized that coding takes a long time to become good at.

That brings me to my next little problem. So I’ve completed a few sections of Code Academy. However, its like I’m staring at a tool box of brand new tools after I’ve read a short manual and I’m wondering, “what do I do now?” The end of the jQuery segment gives you a place to create whatever you want and share it. Well, I didn’t really know what to create. I ran into a wall when I didn’t have the program holding my hand.

I think this is a matter of me not knowing what to do next. I have some great ideas but I’m not confident enough on how to use them. Thats why I’m stoked to attend Coding Dojo. I wont be alone. When I have a quick question or when I’m just blank on ideas I’ll have someone to talk to. Right now though, I’m all alone… (cue Donkey from Shrek)


I just thought I’d share an awesome video from http://www.code.org . For anybody wondering what sort of things inspire me on this wee journey, I think Gabe from Valve puts it well: “Today’s programmers are tomorrow’s wizards.” And also the one girl that said something like, “Programming is really about people, and learning how to help people with computer science.”


Blasting through my past.

As some may know, as a wee lad I taught myself the basics of how to write websites in HTML. This was circa 1995 – before Flash and CSS. So needless to say my websites were dull and simple.

Anyway, fast forward to now.

For prep material to attend Coding Dojo, I have to brush up on some JavaScript. They recommend using W3Schools ( http://www.w3schools.com ). I however think that site sucks for instruction. I might as well read a boring didactic book. So I’ve decided to use Code Academy’s ( http://www.codeacademy.com ) resources to get me up to speed instead (to be fair, they suggest using Code Academy after I go through W3Schools, but I digress). I was also advised to study Code Academy in a way that it matched the course’s week by week syllabus.

Well, they don’t start with JavaScript, they start with HTML. That makes sense because JavaScript is used in HTML. So yeah, anyway, I’ve been blasting through the HTML and CSS lessons and I’m almost done.

Once again, I find it fascinating stuff. The ability to create interactive data via the web is amazing. BUT, its incredibly tedious. I had a basic exposure to Dreamweaver in college and now I feel smug. Were I to ever become a web site developer/designer, you can bet I wont do it with straight code. Why reinvent the wheel?

Coding Dojo

New look, New horizons.

So I decided to piddle with the look of this wee place. Its a work in progress and the more intimate I become with the beast that is WordPress the more sleek it’ll look. So yeah, noob status shows again.

I also broke down my postings into different categories that are accessed by the menu on the top of the page. I have the prologue that contains all the posts from the past few months in my journey. In Coding Dojo one will find all the posts from my acceptance date until my graduation date (give or take). Lastly, I have Family Life as a separate place for me to share updates that pertain to the Dillon Clan.

All in all, this is going to be one hell of a ride.