The forums ran from 2008-2020 and are now closed and viewable here as an archive.

Home Forums Other Best way to practice Reply To: Best way to practice


Did you go to school to learn web development?

I went to school for Education & Child Development. Programming is my second career, and I am self-taught.

I would probably steer clear of WordPress …

As would I; but if you decide that WP is what you want to do, go ahead. Just be aware that diving into wordpress isn’t likely to lead anywhere else: it is a world unto itself, and mostly an “expert beginner” world at that. It mostly leads to production work and doesn’t naturally develop a greater understanding or proficiency of what you’re actually doing.

Can you give me an example of what you do to practice?

Just write code. You only need an idea, but that idea doesn’t need to be a “whole” site/ application/ finished product. Code it, see if it works, look up your problems on google, rewrite it, …keep going. Don’t look for solutions without explanations: copy+paste might make your code work, but it won’t help you learn anything.

Like Joe, I write all code by hand. Typically, I’ll start with HTML+CSS, then write my backend in {insert-programming-language-here}, then go back to the front and finish things off with JavaScript. Steer clear of “website creation” software and use a plain text editor. Now I’m not trying to “convert” you to anything ~~use git~~linuxRoxorz~~paulisdead~~ but a working knowledge of linux and the command line will really help you (since the vast majority of web servers are linux).

Start with simple tasks and work your way up. If you start by trying to program a full content management system, you’re going to be constantly frustrated. You need to have an understanding of program “flow,” too (which is why simple projects are best to start), even if it’s just the basic HTTP request→response cycle.

For example, I recently worked on creating a dotmatrix display with JavaScript …
the most valuable thing is to pick something you want to build, realize you don’t know how to build it, and then figure out how to learn to build it.

lol, I read that as “dominatrix display”. Wooooooooo…!

In all seriousness, though, absolutely: you won’t get anywhere unless you commit to “figuring it out.” A class might be useful to you, but only if you manage to engage with it. Have fun!