I’ve Cracked the Code, Please Call Tech Support- Episode 3, Revenge of the CSS

The first official week of my Full-Stack Development has been completed. Phew. I’ve learned a lot, I have broken so, so many things. But I’ve built some things too! Does creation require destruction? Can a person survive on coffee alone? What does the outdoors look like these days? These are legitimate questions.

  1. What has your experience learning to code been like so far? What would you change about it?

Honestly coding has been a bit of a sprint so far. In the first week we’ve gone from 0 to programming responsive websites using HTML and CSS. Sometimes it can get a little overwhelming, but once I broke my brain a little bit to how the material works I’ve been having a pretty good time. It’s gone from being scared of VS Code every time I open it up to being excited that I get to build something that day.

The only thing I would change is the pacing I suppose, but I signed up for the fast-track program for a reason. I’ll see the sun again. One day.

2. How do you describe the DOM, as you know it so far?

The DOM (Document Object Model) is the fundamental structure underneath every webpage that you’ve ever seen. It’s the skeleton of the webpage, the blueprint of the document that we follow in order to construct it, and other metaphors that I haven’t thought of yet.

In order to demonstrate how this works, let’s build a super-quick webpage. So, we’ll need to tell it what kind of page it is (html). Next, we need a head for the page, and a body (see the skeleton metaphor now?). Within the head we can put a title for our page, and within the body we can put a paragraph.

All of those elements give us a branching path that we can trace, giving us all of the elements of our site. It’s referred to as a Document Tree for this reason.

3. Can you explain the difference between coding a website to be responsive and using a mobile-first strategy?

This is an interesting one! Making a website to be responsive is a technical challenge, but can be fun to do. Basically, we code the webpage to look good on a computer web browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and then, we start to think about how it should look when the screen gets smaller. We then code the page to adjust for this: scaling down, rearranging or removing certain elements, etc.

A mobile-first strategy suggests that we should think small first, them expand. Most people these days are browsing the internet on their phones, rather than sitting at a computer. So, the idea of a mobile first approach is that we should design for those smaller, mobile devices first, then scale-up for the bigger ones. It’s a legitimate approach, and can help you to think “Do I really need this element?”

4. What does coding look like to you in your mind?

Well, if my school-dreams are any indication it looks a lot like VS Code and Lego.

But honestly, that VS Code blueprint has definitely wormed its way into my brain. I find myself thinking about coding problems while I’m doing other tasks, and writing out the syntax in my head of how it might work, or examining elements of my favorite websites to see how they pulled off a particular effect. Hopefully it helps. It has definitely made looking at online menus a more enriching experience beyond the burritos.

5. Where do you see yourself working in 365 days from today? What do you want to be working on?

I would love to be working at a large, creative tech firm like Microsoft or Google. Bit of a pipe dream, I know, but that’s what I see in my head. Working on creative, intuitive programs/pages to help people who don’t know how all of the tech works under the hood. Something that explains how online security works to people would be great, given how much information we have out there these days.