A nice straightforward introduction to web development for anyone starting from scratch.
An excellent potted history from Cassie on women in computing.
NASA’s “Keypunch girls” would work in cramped rows translating programming instructions onto paper pads, whilst the machine operators would sit in comfort, feeding the code decks through card readers and enjoying the esteem of the end result (I imagine it a bit like Mad Men, but with more sexism and astronauts).
Oh, how I wished everyone approached building for the web the way that Rachel does. Smart, sensible, pragmatic, and exciting!
Here’s a great opportunity for somebody looking to level up in web development—mentorship from the one and only Aaron Gustafson.
Ignore the clickbaity title—you don’t need to do anything this holiday; that’s why it’s a holiday. But there are some great talks here.
The list is marred only by the presence of my talk Resilience, the inclusion of which spoils an otherwise …ah, who am I kidding? I’m really proud of that talk and I’m very happy to see it on this list.
It reminds me of the old jQuery philosophy: find something and do stuff to it.
See, view source is a human right. Since the beginning of the web, thousands, probably millions, of users have bootstrapped their way to technical understanding through exploring the way the existing web is put together. I did. You might have done. And you, we, should be able to. And more than that, we should be encouraged to. For fun, for experience, for education, for revolution.
James is right. And he’s made a script to encourage further exploration.
welcome.js adds a friendly message to the console when it’s first opened, as well as links for users to find out more about the console, and programming in general.
The New Digital School - An Alternative to Design Education by Tiago and Cláudia Pedras — Kickstarter
You can back Tiago’s excellent New Digital School. It’s a fantastic project with the web at its heart, and I really hope it gets funded.
Lara’s new book really is excellent. I was lucky enough to get an early preview and here’s what I said:
Giving a talk in public can be a frightening prospect but with Lara Hogan at your side, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish. This book is your shield and sword. Speak, friend, and conquer!
It’s a bit like CodePen but it shows the whole HTML document, which makes it particularly useful for teaching front-end development to beginners (ideal for Codebar!).
CodePen for snippets; Thimble for pages.
I agree with Chris’s conclusion here, but for a different reason. Here’s a shocking thought: what if the cascade is a feature not a bug?
(no really; imagine if programmers stopped trying to bend CSS to their immutable will, and instead embraced its declarative power)
We should be asking why we need a framework or a tool before just dropping it in. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t learn new things. YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD BE CONTINUOUSLY LEARNING! But you should ensure that you have a solid base to work from.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we evaluate technologies (it will be the subject of my next talk). Tim is thinking along the same lines. I like his list of four questions to ask when weighing up the pros and cons of any web tool:
- Who benefits from the use of this tool and how?
- Who suffers and how?
- How does it fail?
- Does the abstraction feed the core?
I can very much relate to Jonathan’s learning process (except for the bit about reading Hacker News—spit):
I think I read about 20-30 times more than I write, but the writing part is still crucial for helping me get stuff straight in my own head.
Some typically smart thinking from Mike—what if success were measured in learning rather than shipping?
Organizations that learn the quickest seem the most likely to succeed over the long haul.
This really resonates with me, and it aligns so closely with our values at Clearleft that I think this is something we should be pursuing. Fortunately Mike’s post comes with plenty of examples and ideas.
Adult training represents a way into coding for millions of women who never learnt when they were younger. Meetups such as those run by organisations such as Women Who Code and Codebar can introduce women to the collaborative, problem-solving world of programming.
A workshop for codebar students: Build a portfolio or blog site | Charlotte Jackson, Front-end developer
Charlotte did a fantastic job putting this workshop together on the weekend. It was inspiring!
Phil’s write-up of teaching web development to beginners is immensely valuable in the run-up to the Codebar workshop that Charlotte is running this weekend. This bit gave both us a real “a-ha!” moment:
It only occurred to me at the end that I should have encouraged the students to try and fix each other’s bugs. If anyone had problems I’d go round and help people and often it’d be a little typo somewhere. Helping each other would acknowledge that this is entirely normal and that a second pair of eyes is often all that’s needed.