Even a cursory look at the wealth of languages, frameworks, tools, and resources available today reveals an overwhelming list of things I need to learn. The question for me – at this point (well, back when I started this project in February 2021) – is (was) “where do I start?”
I determined that, at first anyway, I’d be consuming courses on sites such as FreeCodeCamp, uDemy, and Codecademy; tutorials on the language and framework sites; references; and examples on W3Schools.com, and various YouTube videos. But still – what first?
I had registered my domain name, created a config file for the new site on my server, and enabled the new site. It was sitting there happily serving the server’s default page. While proving that the site worked, it was neither informative nor aesthetically pleasing. So, the first order of business would be a “Coming Soon” page – from which I learned more than I anticipated. More on that later, but that page is preserved at https://comingsoon.srccraft.net if you’re interested in what it looked like.
With the “Coming Soon” page up, it was time to choose where to start this journey in earnest. Over the course of a few days’ worth of Internet searches, I collected a long list of interesting possibilities. While I hope to eventually get through all of them, I realized I needed to pare the list down to a manageable few if I wanted to get anything done in anything like a reasonable amount of time. The following are the courses I started with. Note that I am still working on most of them; yes, in parallel with the following courses I also started designing and coding the theme for my site.
“A Web Development Crash Course in HTML5 and CSS3” (on uDemy) because HTML and CSS are the very foundations of the web. While I was reasonably familiar with HTML and CSS already, this proved to be a good review, and excellent resource for learning about the new features of the latest specifications, and it included a succinct explanation of the “box model” as well. I absolutely recommend this course as a great place to start if you want to learn web development. This is the one course I finished before the site went live!
“Git a Web Developer Job: Mastering the Modern Workflow” (on uDemy) because I need to learn to use Git and GitHub, and also to become familiar with a few other technologies. Well, several other technologies, some of which are essential to an efficient workflow. I had heard about a couple of them, but I had no idea how powerful they were to simplify and automate the development process. How does a self-taught developer learn Node.js and NPM, Webpack, best practices for CSS file architecture, and the BEM (block, element, modifier) approach to writing CSS? This course has all that and more, and I’m about 40% of the way through it.
“User Experience Design Essentials” (on uDemy) because I don’t know much about design, and I want my site to be visually appealing, intuitively useful, and follow modern best (or at least expected) practices. I’ve restarted this course three times now, which is not a reflection on the creator of the course. It’s much more a testament to how differently Adobe Xd works than anything else I’ve ever used. Combine that with the fact that I think Xd has changed some since the course was produced and that makes this one slow going for me. I’m getting there, though.
As an excursion (in parallel with “User Experience Design Essentials” above) I had intended to follow Corey Schafer’s “Flask Tutorials” on YouTube, and/or possibly work through Miguel Grinberg’s “Flask Mega-tutorial” at The New and Improved Flask Mega-Tutorial | Courses by Miguel Grinberg. However, there is only so much time (and sanity) I can spend on programming courses. Because Python is not related to WordPress (which is my primary focus for web development, at least for now), these have been moved to the “someday soon” category.
Because I’ve used Bootstrap in the past and found it to be both conceptually easy to understand and approachable (due to the excellent documentation on the Bootstrap site), I decided I wanted to use it in the development of my site. I had originally intended to build on WP Bootstrap Starter – WordPress theme | WordPress.org and was planning to work through “Learn Bootstrap” (on Codecademy) and “WordPress Theme Development with Bootstrap” (on uDemy). But, just as I was beginning to head down that road, I serendipitously heard about the resurrection of the Understrap theme by Howard Development & Consulting. At the time, Understrap Academy was offering a steep discount on the soon-to-be-released Instant Understrap course. After looking at what the good folks at Howard Development & Consulting were doing, I immediately switched to Understrap and signed up for the Instant Understrap course (which I have not yet finished but will real-soon-now).
So, that’s were I decided to start, and you’re looking at where I currently am. I’m happy with my progress and the results so far.