Learning to code – Week 8 – HTML & CSS

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End of Cycle 1 : HTML & CSS

Week 8 was the last week of the HTML/CSS cycle. It was about forms, and it was a relief after the Bootstrap headache. Not that forms cannot be complicated, but getting the basics of it is quite accessible, I could even add a simple contact form to my resume without sweating too much over it !

So week 8 was the end of the first « cycle » of my programming course with Simplon : HTML & CSS.


The Simplon online Game of Codes programming course

(I would soon discover what real headaches mean, when starting Javascript. But we’ll get to that in later posts !)

So what did I find useful and what did I struggle with this first couple of months ? A short recap:

Week Useful Difficulties with
1 Understanding the web (Open Classrooms) Git, Git Hub, the Terminal, Cloud 9: Starting with these that early in the training program was not really useful; it was more theoretical than practical at this stage, and quite complicated to grasp.
2 Codecademy on HTML

Understanding how Git and Github work with Le Wagon video

Understanding CSS in 12 minutes with Jake Wright

3 Codecademy on CSS A tutorial on SMACSS by Grafikart: it wasn’t difficult to understand as such, but that early in my practice of CSS, it wasn’t really useful in reality. Such methods and advices should come later in the process, when you’re already accustomed to doing some CSS and so you can find an immediate benefit in applying such methods.
4 Starting with Ruby (via a few lessons on Codecademy and a « simple » exercise): no use for me, doing it one shot like this. I didn’t see the point in doing that… I understand the idea (like a teaser or an advertising), but doesn’t really work for me.
5 Learning to develop your website with HTML5 and CSS3 (Open Classrooms).
This course was rather clear overall, despite a high level of detailed explanations that can be overwhelming for a beginner.
Too many details on certain subjects, like managing earlier versions of Internet Explorer: no need to be so detailed at this stage…
6 Boostrap by Open Classrooms : that course was not part of the program but I found it absolutely necessary to understand step by step how Boostrap works ! Bootstrap! I get the theory very well, but putting it in practice without being guided step by step is not something I could do : so I had to find by myself additional resources to help me do so…
7 A step-by-step tutorial on jquery filtering that was extremely useful ! Introduction to Javascript via the usage of jQuery effects: I was totally lost! I felt helpless and didn’t get a clue. Had to search the web for a step-by-step tutorial explaining what was happening…


Designing forms with CSS / Useful resources: http://css.mammouthland.net/formulaire-form-input-css.php



http://www.grafikart.fr/tutoriels/html-css/contact-form-css3-230: difficult because involving jQuery that I wasn’t familiar with yet


In summary :

. Giving too many details too early is not really useful :

It requires too much energy from the student without much use as most of these concepts cannot be applied that early in the process.

. Learning styles and teaching styles :

I found I was very comfortable with some courses or tutorials or resources, and not at all with others. Rather than spending too much on the latter, I now try to find very quickly those I find helpful to get me where I want to go.

Codecademy, for example, is a personal favourite, although the in-browser teaching has a lot of limitations vs « real life ». But it is very helpful in getting concepts step by step, and I found it very useful.

. Examples, examples, examples… :

It’s great to have access to hundreds of tutorials on the web, but when you’re following a specific program or course with exercises to be done, it’s nice to get a correct example of what was required from you at the end… and even better,to get a few alternative takes of the same exercise, that can illustrate various approaches to the same problem…

I feel I have the basics in HTML & CSS at this stage, but need to spend much more time on Bootstrap for example… but no more time on this for the moment, as week 9 is the beginning of the Javascript cycle! Need to move on!


Next article: Learning to code – Weeks 9 to 13 – Javascript

(This article was first published on Momslearningtocode.com, now closed).

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