Trying Something New

This week I decided to branch out a bit and learn some HTML and web development. As a part of this I went through codeacademy to get a start on HTML web development.

A screenshot of an explanation of HTML

Comparing codeacademy and the Android Developers tutorial the first thing that jumps out is codeacademy has more in depth explanations and doesn’t assume you know what anything is. I found the Android Developers tutorial to be hard to follow sometimes and it was not clear where things were or how to fix problems such as the ones that cropped up for me two weeks ago.

Screenshot of codeacademy html tutorial

If you want to see the start of my HTML coding journey head over to my other blog post talking about coding in general. Once I got through the first bit I started to learn about dividing text on the screen as well as creating headers of different sizes. HTML is very intuitive that way you just type <h#> where the number sign is a number with 1 being the largest and the heading getting smaller as you increase the number.

Screenshot of codeacademy HTML tutorial

Another thing I like about codeacademy compared to the Android Developers tutorial is that they have a checklist with each step of what you need to do to help you learn. It also is able to tell that you did it correctly and offer hints if you are running into issues.

HTML has what are called tags which are the <p> for paragraph or <h1> for heading. The big thing is you choose where you want to close the tag. For example I could type <p> DNA is made up of four nucleic acids called Adenine, Guanine, Thymine and Cytosine. These nucleic acids are found in all living things and are the building blocks of life. </p> The paragraph is not closed until I put in the </p> tag. This allows me to break up text or separate items for better visibility in the code but not have them separated in the actual web page.

Screenshot of codeacademy explaining what an image tag is in HTML

Images are handled differently. They are self closing tag meaning I don’t type <image> then when I want to close it put </image>. Instead the tag is <image src= “image-location />. This is because the image tag is specific to a single image if you had to close it separate each time you could try and put two images in and that can break things.

Screenshot of a website built using HTML

So after all this I have a website that is starting to come along nicely. It doesn’t have any fancy graphics or interactive elements yet but it does have the basics of a website with headers, subheaders, images, paragraphs and lists. Although this is the last week of my learning project for edtc300 I plan to continue to learn HTML and Android app development so that hopefully in the future I can build my own website and app.

WHat Have i Learned?

When I began this journey in the middle of May I would never have guessed how much I would have learned. I am now able to create and run a very basic Android App and I am also able to write a very basic web page.

Screenshot of the Android Developer Website and Codeacadaemy

I have gained an understanding of two development languages. Kotlin for developing Android Apps and HTML for developing webpages.

Screenshot of the layout Window in Android Studio

I have also learned how to implement buttons and text boxes in Android Apps and give them defined edges so they don’t appear off screen on different phones.

I have also learned how to use Android Studio and pass that knowledge onto others in the form of an info graphic. I have learned how to take large amounts of technical jargon and make it accessible and easy to understand.

Most importantly I have learned that coding may seem daunting and impossible to understand but there are lots of great resources out there to help you.

Learning Online

Coding is a little unique because it is a skill that requires you to learn online. Yes there are books for it but because they are static and can become out of date they cannot be your only resource. Learning coding online allows you to go through interactive tutorials such as codeacademy or hour of code. It also allows you to ask questions on websites such as stack exchange where you can ask for help and almost always get a response.

Screenshot of the technology section of Stack Exchange

One of the downsides to learning online is that there are a lot of materials, tutorials and how to videos out there. It is very difficult to determine which one is best for you. People may stick to the larger names or the ones made by the companies you are developing for but this means you may miss out on some awesome learning opportunities.

Learning online has many advantages. It is democratized, easily accessible and allows tutorials to be interactive, easier to understand and to reach even more people. However it does have its drawbacks such as an overload of information, and numerous tutorials to choose from. Learning online has allowed everyone with an internet connection to gain more knowledge and skills than ever before and to pursue careers, hobbies and interests that would have been out of reach without the internet.

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