As I write this post, it is exactly a week before Thanksgiving. Which means two and a half weeks before we start our third and final unit of LC101. (And six days til I leave for Breckenridge! Squee!)
I’m trying to go into this unit expecting another bump in difficulty, plus all the fun frenzy that comes with the 🥂Holi~day Sea*son🎄
1. Mosh Hamedani’s “Learn React – Crash Course 2018” video
Way back in July, when I didn’t know what a Github account was, let alone the finer points of Python syntax, I attended DjangoGirls Kansas City. From zero experience to coding a blog in Python using the Django framework, it was definitely a learn-by-doing experience.
To get us there, the participants were directed to a webpage with a series of tutorials that took us from learning things like ~ what even is a command line ~ all the way to making this piece of absolute artwork:
And I found that, even though I was in WAYYYYY over my head with the material, I liked that feeling. I learned much quicker than I would have if they’d tried to stand up and give me a 45-minute Powerpoint on Django. My learning pattern was: read, do, ask questions (the mentors were awesome), repeat.
If you’re starting from zero like me, there will be a lot you don’t understand, and it’ll take much longer than 2.5 hours to get through because you’ll pause, try some code, see it doesn’t work, rewind and do it again. It’s slow going but worth it. By the end, you’ll have gained a smidgen of fluency, dab of familiarity, and a skosh of confidence. And you’ll have an application that looks like this:
You’ll still wonder things like, what the heck is an arrow function, and should I make macaroni chili for dinner? The answers to both are yes, and will become clearer in step two:
3. LaunchCode’s Bootstrap lesson
This! This is what I’ve been waiting for this whole time: a way to make things PRETTY.
This is the front-end stuff I always KNEW existed — the things that make it easy to build on others’ code, the templates for making stuff that looks good right off the bat — but just didn’t know where to find.
As it turns out, I could have found it pretty easily at www.getboostrap.com.
One of my favorite resources in this lesson is What is Bootstrap: A Beginner’s Guide by Alexander Ouellette. He describes why LaunchCode probably didn’t have us start with Bootstrap right off the bat:
“There’s always the risk that, by using Bootstrap, you’ll get into a cycle of simply recycling existing code without actually understanding it. By spending the time to really learn what you’re doing, however, you can use Bootstrap as a way of accelerating your learning, rather than hindering it.”Alexander Ouellette, Career Foundry
Which: fair. Would I have enjoyed toiling for 10 hours over my blogz assignment, the result of which was this:
…if I had know than I could copy and paste everything from Bootstrap I needed to make a blog that looked like this?
Although W3 School’s UI isn’t the most awesome, their set of tutorials on Bootstrap (as with so much) was probably the most helpful. I found it most efficient to scroll down to the exercises to start, rather than reading through. You won’t learn til you do the dang thing anyway.
In this post I skipped over a very important question: why learn React over Angular or Vue? My reasoning boiled down to:
- I read in this article that more dev job postings on Indeed mention React than Angular or Vue.
- When I’ve asked people in class and at networking events which I should choose, more people said React.
So, my choice wasn’t terribly scientific: one stat + a handful of people.
There are tons of articles out there going over the finer points of React vs Angular vs Vue. There’s even a Reddit thread. I am way less than qualified to tell anyone which they should choose to learn, but here are a couple of bonus pieces of info that might help:
- Angular is a full-fledged framework; React and Vue are libraries. Here’s an article about what that means. The key difference seems to be IoC or Inversion of Control. As Geeks for Geeks say, “When we call a method from a library, we are in control. But in framework, the control is inverted i.e. the framework calls us.”
- Angular was created by Google; React by Facebook. I’ll leave it to your discretion which way to lay your alliance.