I’ve Cracked the Code, Please Call Tech Support- Episode 17, Data Forms Rising

I feel like I’ve ran a marathon this week, and I’m still not sure I followed the route I was supposed to go. Database and backend work have thrown me for a bit of a loop, so I’m going to keep plugging away at it as much as I can.

  1. What do you find challenging about coding?

A lot of coding is not knowing what trees I need to plant in order to make the forest grow. It can also be tough to get the “right” tutorial for you. Since these are all being taught by people who already know how to code, their tutorial makes sense to them. The problem is, someone else’s brain may need an entirely different approach.

I’m a big proponent of using children’s books for coding (shoutout to JavaScript for Kids by Nick Morgan), and I’m hoping that as the years go by more of these in-depth, non-intimidating, example-focused works can come out on these topics.

2. Talk about a project that disappointed you. What would you change?

I would like to take another swing at the Towers Of Hanoi project. Mostly, it came down to time. If I had more time, I really think that I could make that project awesome, using sound effects, light-ups on hover, drag-and-drop…all sorts of things. But minimum viable product is just how it goes sometimes.

3. List three key things to consider when coding with SEO in mind.

There are waaaaay more than three things to consider when it comes to SEO, but here are three that help.

First, you need a title. That may seem obvious, but when you’re coding an HTML page it’s something you can miss. By creating a Title tag in the head of your page, you are telling the search engine who you are and what your page is about. If your title says “Eggplant: Well, Which Is It?”, and your page is about general vegetables, that’s not really going to help your SEO, since it’s not accurate.

Second, adding a meta description. Meta tags are often overlooked in my experience, but are very good for upping your SEO. By adding a meta description in the head of your page like this:

<meta name="description" content="This page explains what an eggplant actually is, and why it has been given such an utterly baffling name"

This gives the search engine a brief description of the topic for your page, and they will oftentimes include it word-for-word below the title and URL for your page. Very handy.

Finally, know your H tags. Using these correctly is crucial. H1 should only be used for the main heading of your page. If you have a bunch of them, the search engine gets all confused. By using these correctly, just like our title and description, people know exactly what your page is about.

4. List five or more ways you could optimize a website to be as efficient and scalable as possible.

I. The first thing that jumps to mind for scalability is reactivity. Most people are viewing the internet using their phones these days, so if your website only works on the screen you programmed it on, that’s a problem. Putting thought into the flexibility of your design is a must.

II. Remove anything that doesn’t need to be there. This may sound odd, but it’s important. Does this feature actually do anything that is necessary? Are the majority of your users going to even click it? More features means it’s more taxing, meaning longer load times. If it doesn’t give you joy, know that it can go.

III. On the topic of speeding things up, be mindful of the file sizes that you’re asking your users to download. If it’s a huge picture file, consider using a smaller, thumbnail size image that links to the bigger one. Not everyone is going to need/want the full size image. Also, consider using an SVG file instead. These are smaller, and scale much, much more effectively.

IV. Not everything needs to load at immediately, so consider loading your JavaScript asynchronously. By doing this, your regular page can load (giving the user something to look at), and your functions can load in the background. Otherwise you have longer overall perceived running times, which is no good.

V. Comment your content. Nothing is worse than having something break on your site, going in to fix it, and not knowing where anything is. By having clear comments on your code, clear file names for your individual pages, and logical links to your pages, you will save yourself hours upon hours of heartbreak.