Week 4

 What we learned/did

  • This week we returned to the front end side of web development. Instead of writing code for the server, as we have been doing almost exclusively for the past few weeks, we began writing for the browser. This is, in a sense, a simpler task, since JavaScript was originally designed to be a front end language. On top of that, all of my experience prior to Grace Hopper was with writing front end code, so I was definitely feeling more in my element.
  • We completed our first multi-day workshop this week. It involved building a trip planner website over the course of 3 days. On the first day, we designed the look of the page using HTML and SCSS (basically a similar but better version of CSS, I wish we had spent a bit more time on it, and will try to remember to study it more on my own time). On the second day, we made the site interactive using JQuery, and on the third day we made the data on the site persistent (still there when you refresh the page) by hooking it up to a database in the back end through AJAX. We were assigned different partners for each day of the workshop, and instead of keeping our own code from day to day, each day had a “starting point” written by an instructor that we were supposed to build off of. For me, this was pretty frustrating, not only because I never got to see my own work through to the end, but also because it can be very difficult to understand code written by someone else. However, as frustrating as this is, reading other people’s code is an important skill to have as a developer, since many jobs require you to build off of projects written by someone else.

My favorite parts

  • I had a bit of an “aha” moment with Friday’s lecture on AJAX. In short, AJAX allows you to make little mini-requests to the server so you can get new  information without having to redirect to an entirely new page. It’s the glue that holds it all together, and it’s pretty great.

Code and the city

  • At the moment I really have nothing good to say about New York in the summer, except the subway stations are basically free saunas, and walking down the street is like visiting a very informative multi-sensory exhibit of urine from different species of mammal. Also, the financial district has some pretty epic views of the water (for real, see above).

My overall thoughts/opinions

  • Overall, this was a tough week. There seemed to be a general drop in morale amongst the students. For me this was because some of the lectures felt repetitive, in particular the ones about CSS and JQuery which we covered extensively in foundations, and because of the general un-funness of the workshop that I mentioned above. Still, it went by fast, and feel like I know a lot more than I did a week ago. I’m looking forward to next week and to learning Angular.js, which is essentially better JQuery.
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