Tips for Everyone Doing the #codeyear

Learn to Code in 2012!

If you are a librarian interested in learning how to code, 2012 is a perfect year for you to start the project. Thanks to CodeAcademy (http://codeacademy.com), free JavaScript lessons are provided every week at http://codeyear.com/. The lessons are interactive and geared towards beginners. So even if you do not have any previous experience in programming, you will be able to pick up the new skill soon enough as long as you are patient and willing to spend time on mastering each lesson every week.

A great thing about this learn-how-to-program project, called #codeyear in Twitter (#libcodeyear and #catcode in the library-land) is that there are +375,443 people (and counting up) out there who are doing exactly the same lessons as you are. The greatest thing about this #libcodeyear / #catcode project is that librarians have organized themselves around this project for the collective learning experience.  How librarian-like, don’t you think?

Now, if you are ready to dive in, here are some useful resources.  And after these Resources, I will tell you a little bit more about how to best ask help about your codes when they are not working for you.

Resources for Collective Learning

Syntax Error: Catch the most frustrating bugs!

Now what I really like about #codeyear lessons so far is that some of the lessons trip you by trivial things like a typo! So you need to find a typo and fix it to pass a certain lesson. Now you may ask “How the hell does fixing a typo count as a programming lesson?”

Let me tell you. Finding a typo is no triviality in coding. Catching a similar syntax error will save you from the most frustrating experience in coding.

The examples of seemingly innocuous syntax errors are:

  • var myFunction = funtction (){blah, blah, blah … };
  • var myNewFunction = function (]{blah, blah, blah … };
  • for(i=0,  i<10, i++;)
  • var substr=’Hello World’; alert(subst);
  • –//This is my first JavaScript

Can you figure out why these lines would not work?  Give it a try! You won’t be sorry. Post your answers in the comments section.

How to Ask Help about Your Codes      

by Matteo De Felice in Flickr (http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3577/3502347936_43b5e2a886.jpg)

I am assuming that as #codeyear, #catcode, #libcodeyear project progresses, more people are going to ask questions about problems that stump them. Some lessons already have Q&A in the CodeAcademy site. So check those out. Reading through others’ questions will give valuable insight to how codes work and where they can easily trip you.

That having been said, you may want to ask questions to the places mentioned in the Resources section above. If you do, it’s a good idea to follow some rules. This will make your question more likely to be looked at by others and way more likely to be answered correctly.

  • Before asking a question, try to research yourself. Google the question, check out the Q&A section in the CodeAcademy website, check out other online tutorials about JS (see below for some of the recommended ones).
  • If this fails, do the following:
    • Specify your problem clearly.
      (Don’t say things like “I don’t get lesson 3.5.” or “JavaScript function is too hard,” unless the purpose is just to rant.)
    • Provide your codes with any parts/details that are related to the lines with a problem.
      (Bear in mind that you might think there is a problem in line 10 but the problem may lie in line 1, which you are not looking.) Highlight/color code the line you are having a problem. Make it easy for others to immediately see the problematic part.
    • Describe what you have done to troubleshoot this (even if it didn’t work.)
      : This helps the possible commenter to know what your reasoning is behind your codes and what solutions you have already tried, thereby saving their time. So this will make it more likely that someone will actually help you. To believe it or not, what seems completely obvious and clear to you can be completely alien and unfathomable to others.

Some JavaScript Resources

There are many resources that will facilitate your learning JavaScript. In addition to the lessons provided by CodeAcademy, you may also find these other tutorials helpful to get a quick overview of JavaScript syntax, usage, functions, etc. From my experience, I know that I get a better understanding when I review the same subject from more than one resource.

If you have other favorite Javascript please share in the comment section.

ACRL TechConnect blog will continue to cover #libcodeyear / #catcode related topics throughout the year!  The post up next will tell you all about some of the excuses people deploy to postpone learning how to code and what might break the mental blockage!


7 Comments on “Tips for Everyone Doing the #codeyear”

  1. Andromeda says:

    What a super-helpful post. I especially love your spot-the-error bit :)

    I want to add to your list of learning resources — we’re forming a LITA/ALCTS interest group for librarians who want to learn to code & apply code in their lives. (It’s springing out of, but not limited to, Code Year.) The IG isn’t live yet but we’re working on that — accelerating the timeline hard so that we will be ready to have awesome discussions soon and craft a great discussion for Annual. That’ll be announced in the Connect group, and doubtless the other places you note, once it’s ready. I’m cochairing so I welcome input from anyone on what they’d like to get out of a group like that!

  2. [...] » Tips for Everyone Doing the #codeyear ACRL Tech Connect If you are a librarian interested in learning how to code, 2012 is a perfect year for you to start the project. Thanks to CodeAcademy ( http://codeacademy.com ), free JavaScript lessons are provided every week at http://codeyear.com/ . The lessons are interactive and geared towards beginners. [...]

  3. [...] a great article  I just found that has a list of helpful resources for those working though Code Year. It’s [...]

  4. My answer for the ‘spot the error’ game:

    I can see the misspelling, the mis-matched (], the misplaced ;, the misspelled variable, and the improper comment form.

    Posting these was useful, because I didn’t see all of them when I started typing.

    Thank you Bohyun!

    • Jennifer Stubbs says:

      Thank you for writing your answers (without really giving them away either)! Now I can smile because I did retain a bit of that coding stuff.

  5. [...] ***   This post has been originally posted to the ACRL TechConnect blog. [...]

  6. nice one, many thanks for this info


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