Progress – Not Perfection

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“Progress – Not Perfection” is a quote by Kathy Freston, a best selling author on the body/mind/spirit approach to health and wellness. This quote reminds us that even though we have a way to go before we become accomplished web developers, we don’t have to be stressed about being perfect right now.  What’s important is that we keep on our path and continue learning code –  brick-by-brick, hour-by-hour, two hours a day – until we reach our goal.

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Today, we take a breath on our code trail and and see the view of how far we’ve come along so far.  Since the launch of our code-learning journey in 2014, we have definitely made progress.  Last year at this time, we had just finished a course on HTML were then learning how to make background colors with CSS.  Now here we are, creating for-loops, objects and variables so we can duplicate the hour blocks to our “Mountain of Code Tower” with javascript.  We still have our foam board grid and colored pens, but this year we will also create a tower with code (HTML, CSS and Javascript).

We are deep in the woods of our code learning journey and are making progress daily.  I feel like Cheryl Strayed from the book Wild, I’ve gone too far to turn back and I look ahead and see the many miles we need to go.  At least I still have my boots!

We are not perfect, but that’s okay.  We are getting some traction and have moved beyond the newbie stage of last year.  With Treehouse, Code Academy, and independent practice, we have delving into: frameworks, advanced CSS, HTML forms, Javascript, jQuery, responsive design, Sass, Console, Git basics, web optimization and more.  All these topics are like different puzzle pieces that we need to learn how put together.  We are starting to understand the different shapes of the puzzle.  Now it’s time start learning how to build something beautiful.

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Detour – Proofreading Code

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After learning about linear gradients on Treehouse, which  blends two colors on a web page background, I decided to add it to my codemoms project.  Yet, when I tried to add the code, it only covered half my page and not the entire background.  What was I doing wrong?  I had to stop on my path to figure this out before I went any farther.  It was a detour worth experiencing.

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I learned that there are sites that will check your code for errors.  This is very helpful since we are remote students with no teacher in the room to look at our work.  So I uploaded my html file to the W3C Markup Validator.  WC3 checked my code and informed me that I had more than one error (I won’t say how many).

Even though my web page was functional, I could see that the code was not really clean.  The validator helped me go through my code, line by line, and understand my mistakes.  When I reloaded my html, it said I passed.  Yay!

The big lesson we learned today is that coding needs to be clean, lean and orderly.  I am so glad that we had this detour at an early stage of our trek, so we can build good work habits.  So, after cleaning up my markup and learning a lot, we’re ready to hit the trail.

Learning by Doing

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We are taking steps each day to move up the code path.  To date, we have accumulated 70 hours of learning (our yearly goal is 500).  We are currently taking a CSS module with Treehouse.  After going through lessons on Selectors, Pseudo Selectors, Lists and Font Styles, my son and I decided to take an afternoon to practice what we learned so far.  My son worked on his web page and I updated our site at http://www.codemoms.org.  When I first launched it three weeks ago, my web page was made with only HTML code that had some in-line styling.  

Now that we had a bit of CSS under our belt, we were able to add color, style fonts and text, hover on hyper-links,  and make links active.  I had to go back through my notes to find out how to code what I wanted to do. It took longer than I expected but by “doing” it, we were learning.  I cannot stress how important it is to keep good notes and stay organized.   As I worked on CSS, it was exciting to try different codes and see them appear in the window.  We are at the beginning stages of our code path.  I know we have a long way to go on this journey with more challenging modules, but it is rewarding to actually create something with code that I can launch and see.  

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We like going up the path at our own pace, stopping to investigate, re-watching lessons as we need, taking the time to organize, and practicing what we learn.  Now we are ready for the next stretch.  Still on track.  Onward we go.