Coding and Web Design

Coding

The idea of this post is to elaborate on the fundamentals of coding. This page will not teach you how to code, but is meant to give you an indication as to where to start and what to expect. Coding is about learning by doing.


So here you are, in the beginning of a new quest towards acquiring a new very in-demand skillset. One can only assume if you have made it this far, that you are stuck not knowing where to start learning how to code. Honestly, I have been there too and therefore here is a quick overview of where to start and what to expect as you go on.

For me, this website is a method to learn how to code. I have acquired many skills along the way to help me, starting in school. I have an engineering background and therefore computations are a part of my daily life. But as I have had to do more and more challenging tasks, coding has helped these become infinitely easier. The first question to ask yourself on this path, is what is it you want to achieve with the skills you gain? Answer that and then figure out where you want to apply them. If you have a clearly defined goal on where you want to go, then congratulations, you have already overcome the first hurdle. Keep in mind that this goal can change over time as you learn more, but start with a specific target in mind, like a small project, even if it only for you to understand and use.

Give yourself a task to achieve. For example, I want to write a program that reads all the files inside a folder on my desktop write the names to a text file.

Choosing a Language

The choice of programming language can be a daunting undertaking when you have no idea what each language does. I mean should I learn Java, Python, PHP, or start with C++, R; the list can be endless! However, there is lots of information out there about what language to choose for what application. For this exact reason, it is essential to choose an application. Do you need to simply input some values and get a value in return like a calculator? Or do you want to create an interface like a form where multiple values are needed with drop-downs and check-boxes? How do you want the user to enter values and how do you want to display them plays an important part in limiting your choice of programming language.

Object-oriented programming

Object-oriented programming is essentially running code around something fixed. Most languages, especially for your first programming language run code around objects within the computer. These basically contain properties that a user can interact with. For example if you look at Excel, the excel file is a type of object. This is called the worksheet, which has properties like file name myExcel, and file type is .xlsx. Inside this object, there are other object called sheets which have properties themselves and within them are other embedded objects called cells. The cells contain properties like value, or background color, or font size, etc...The excel program is essentially a (Graphical User Interface or GUI) to interact with these objects.

If these concepts are difficult to understand, but at the same time you are comfortable with excel, than perhaps you should consider using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to start learning how to code. Ever heard of a MACRO, or heard someone say I will just run some Macros. Well essentially they are talking about running custom code directly in Excel. The good news is, if you have licensed version of Excel, you already have the required Software Development Kit (SDK).

VBA

VBA is an object-oriented programming language that is embedded with excel. MACROS are snippets of code that execute in the background and interact with either a VBA form, or with the excel sheets themselves. You could use the following steps to teach yourself VBA very quickly.

  • Ensure you have licensed version of Excel and that it includes VBA. TIP: Open a blank workbook. Click as follows and look for a check-box on the right-side for a box that says Developer.
     File>Options>Customize Ribbon
  • Check it and then press OK.
  • Look at the top in the ribbon and notice there is a tab now called Developer. Within the Developer Tab there are options for Visual Basic and Macros. Click on
     Visual Basic 
  • Congratulations! You have just opened your first SDK.
  • There are literally thousands of videos to teach you how to start learning VBA. That combined with the power of Macros, you will learn very quickly how to start coding.

The next steps...

Once you have completed your first steps in learning how to code, you can choose the next language you should learn. This again should be based your needs. VBA is a stepping stone to larger more capable applications like C# or Javascript.

Web Design

In this day and age though, where would we be without the internet? And what would the internet be without web pages. Since these first existed, they were a method of digital communication, reachable by anyone with internet access. Essentially this is a limitless encyclopedia of knowledge.

Web Design is an enourmous field and offers immense opportunities to reach people around the globe and share your ideas, much like I am doing with this blog. If your end goal is to have website but have no interest in coding really, then your best bet is to look for a provider that helps you build websites like WIX or SquareSpace, or even WordPress. I personally have no experience with these as my goal was to learn web development from the ground up, essentially learning more coding languages.

How to start?

Here is the daunting question again; how to start? Of course there are tons of video tutorials and you can find endless books about web development. But there it goes again, which language should I learn, PHP, ASP.NET, Java. Should I build a static or dynamic website? Do I need a database? Who will host my website?

To avoid losing your mind, my recommendation is start with something like course in which they guide you through the steps of creating a website. I started this way and it has worked out great for me. My specific method was to learn using UDEMY, and I created my first website using getbootstrap.com, a free source code for html, css, and js. And I wrote most of my code in html and css, aftewards adding my own Javascript once I understood the fundamentals.

How do I host my Website and give it a domain name?

This part can be somewhat complicated to find information about. However, go to a website like Name.com to find if your domain name is available and how much you would have to pay. Then use a hosting service like Godaddy.com or Hostinger to find a plan that suits you. Once your have your files built and linked, you can upload your website using their online utilities. Really, this part is not that difficult, but do not expect it to be for free.