Become a Web Developer from Scratch by Victor Bastos – Udemy course Review:

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Udemy.com bannerAs some of you may know, I’ve been studying a course on Web Development for some time now. With the abundance of free time medical retirement has offered me, I have restarted this course which had been left several months back for reasons of health, work and then no work. It’s called “Become a Web Developer from Scratch” and it’s taught by Victor Bastos. This is my review of the course so far.

“Become a Web Developer from Scratch” Udemy course review:

I’ve, admittedly, only completed one Chapter of this course, but thought I would give a review of how it’s going so far and my thoughts. First, some stats about the course:

  • The course cost $199 (£125/€159).
  • There are 8 sections (or chapters), each of which is a different web development language to learn.
  • The course teaches Basics, Back end development and front end development.
  • There are 233 lectures made up of 37 hours worth of video presentations, PDF’s and code examples
  • No “Death by PowerPoint”. All videos are screencast’s where you watch Victor explain the subject
  • The course is self paced and you can ask questions to the 44000 strong community of learners on the same course.

The entire course is set up of Lectures, one after another, most about 5 to 10 minutes in length. Each video is a different topic about the language you are learning. Victor Bastos, the lecturer, will take you through the examples and explain how each part of the code works together. Examples are given throughout the videos which you are encouraged to try to improve on yourself. The last source code is available to download for each video so you can check your code to his.
Should you run in to any problems, each lecture has its own discussion board, where people can post questions which will either be answered by Victor himself, or other users further along the course than you who may well have come up against the same problem. If there are any major problems, you can message Victor personally who will get back to you ASAP.

As you progress through the section, you learn more and more complex skills of the sections’ language. By the end, you’re ready to put it all together to build a final project. In the first section of XHTML & CSS, you learn how to write a very modern looking website from the ground up. Every aspect of the final project is designed to use all the new skills you have learned in the section.

section 1 final project image

The Final Project for Section 1 is this attractive website with three pages, images, tables, navigation bars and all styled with CSS.

The course is structured as such that you learn the very basics first (XHTML & CSS) and then add to it by increasing the complexity and usability of your skills. In all, you learn ten separate and essential languages to help build modern and dynamic websites:

  1. XHTML & CSS
  2. JavaScript
  3. PHP & MySQL
  4. XML
  5. JSON
  6. AJAX
  7. jQuery
  8. HTML5 & CSS3

Some may wonder why you learn the outdated code first, and the most modern standard last. The explanation from Victor is simple: many websites you see out there today are still coded in older styles of HTML. If you learn the old code first, it makes it easier (and makes more sense) when you learn the new standard of HTML5. Personally, I agree with this. You learn the old (often harder) way first, then find out there’s now an easier way of doing it. Isn’t that always the way?

There is no previous knowledge of coding, HTML, internet or anything to be able to take part in this course. As long as you can handle a browser (which, if you’re reading this, you can) and a text editor, you have the necessary skills to start.

No one is perfect:

Considering this was Victor Bastos’ first ever course teaching through videos, it’s fair to say there are some rough edges here and there. First off, as you may have guessed by the name, Victor is Portuguese, so he is teaching this course in a second language. He has an accent, but speaks very clearly so that nothing he says is a total guess. My main quibble about the course is that unlike some more commercial or professional videos (from other resources such as Treehouse), the lectures to have a feeling of improvisation about them. By this, I mean that Victor will often write out code and then change his mind about what to right and start again. There are the inevitable mind blanks whilst he tries to think of what to type, and, of course, code errors. Hey, no one’s perfect. That being said, the code errors are good, because not only does it give you a chance to spot them before Victor does in the video, but also shows you what little errors in code can throw up, and potentially save you hours of searching for errors in your code down the line.

Personally, I’d like to see the lessons build towards a bigger picture. For example, to be shown the final project at the beginning of the section, so that when Victor cover’s something you can visibly see on the page, he could refer back to it saying “see, this is how we can use tables for these individual text boxes” etc. My final critique is that there are sometimes subjects that Victor will glance over or not explain as clearly as I would like. This is where broader study has to come in. I have read books on the subject alongside the lectures to help reaffirm what was covered or even find things that were missed out. For HTML & CSS, I highly recommend the HTML & CSS book by Jon Duckett, or one of the Head First books by O’Reilly.

Future of the course:

I’ve had this course for nearly two years, and it’s already been refreshed and updated once since then. Victor, along with some of the first students to take the course, are setting up an online training academy called Onclick Academy which is currently in Beta. All the videos are there from the Udemy course, but with some nice updates where user feedback has pointed out improvements. Victor also recently announced that he is working on “Become a Web Developer from Scratch 2.0”, which will be a completely new course with updated lectures and explore other languages for web development.

Conclusion:

I may not have finished the entire course yet (I’m only 25% of the way through), but I do find it very useful as base for learning. However, I would recommend that you also read supporting books on each subject which may explain subjects in more detail or new subjects that Victor may have missed out. I also use the W3Schools website to back up the lectures as this is also a good resource for learning and code examples and has lessons on 6 of the 10 languages covered.

If you’re a budding Web Developer in the making (like me) then I would highly recommend this course. For the price, there are few out there to match it with such responsive teachers and such a large community. The course has a promising future too, so it’s not likely to go dead any time soon.

You can find “Become a Web Developer from Scratch” by Victor Bastos on Udemy.

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CRPS/RSD Photo Challenge – day 3: Share a Photo of ways you cope with pain

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Yesterday, I was asked to show you a picture of ways I cope with CRPS/RSD pain. This photo, shows you the majority of ways I deal with my pain. I must confess, however, I take a lead from one of my friends who is also a sufferer and taking this challenge on the facebook group. My apologies to you Lynsey, but I guess we both have similar ways of coping.

Laptop (top left)

The laptop signifies my writing and coding which help me to escape my pain. I have so far written two manuscripts which I edit in slow time . I’m also learning to code HTML and Java. It is my hope when I have finished this, I will turn into a freelancing business from home, thereby no longer having to stress myself out getting to work. I mainly write fantasy, which also helps in my escapism.

Buddhism (top right)

I was raised a Christian, but found that Buddhism spoke more to me than the teachings of the bible. It has helped me see this disease as nothing more than Karma and not luck, melovolance or anything else. I have also come to see my suffering as a good thing. This may sound strange, but in my view, if I have this disease, then that’s one less person who has to deal with it. Maybe this is somewhat foolish thinking (as I doubt that Karma takes into account the amount of disease to spread round, but it makes me feel a little happier).

Batman (middle right)

I have been a Batman fan since I was a young boy, collecting stickers to enter in a book. I have only recently rekindled my love for the capped crusader, and have been watching videos and films, reading comics and books and playing games and role play on Batman, which I find very escapist and soothing.

Kindle (and/or other books)

Any other kind of reading, whether it be general fiction, HTML or Coding books or self help books, I find very relaxing. Ever since I finished a book cover to cover for the first time at the age of 14, I’ve been hooked on reading. My favourite fiction author is Lee Child. I just love the character of Reacher (no, not the Tom Cruise version).

Tablets (mid centre)

The tablets quite clearly are my most regular coping technique as I take 11 ½ tablets a day spread over three occasions (and trust me, that’s low compared to some of my friends). I don’t appreciate the constant side effects that all these drugs give me, but I’d be worse off without them.

Earl Grey Tea (mid centre)

Earl Grey tea is my go to for relaxation tea. My other is Green Tea. I originally started drinking Earl Grey because it was Captain Jean Luke Picard’s drink in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was one of my favourite programs as a kid. I find the smell instantly soothing as he often would have it as a refreshment when contemplating a difficult situation, or giving council to one of his officers.

Gaming (bottom left)

As I already said, I find gaming another great escape from my pain. Inside the world of gaming, I can explore deep and mysterious caves in Skyrim, or zoom round the streets of San Francisco in Driver or, better yet, jump off rooftops and swoop in on criminals and solve clues as The Worlds Best Detective (Batman). I think what I enjoy most is that in all these games, I’m not walking round Gotham with a stick or looking to see if the cave is accessibility friendly. I can walk again, without pain or sticks.

Walking Sticks (bottom)

Having just cursed them, my walking sticks are another coping mechanism. They are quite literally a crutch. If it were not for my sticks or my wheelchair, I would not be able to get round the flat. My leg often gives way, and the sticks help me to keep stabilised.

If it were not for all these things, along with the support of my family (mentioned in my previous post) my pist-CRPS/RSD life would be unbearable.

Surprisingly fun coding

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Of late, along with my creative writing, I’ve been enjoying learning HTML coding. 

It all came about when I was looking into creating my own website for when I launch my freelancing business. I’ve used a ‘website builder’ program to build a website before – I built the website for the Basildon Writers Group Website – but I didn’t like the lack of control I had over the elements of the website, and without paying extra (on top of the domain name), there were some features that were not available. Fortunately, none of them we needed to use, but I don’t like the fact there was no option (other than paying extra).

I found a website which taught you step-by-step how to create a website through WordPress.org, where you have your own domain name, and everything is hosted on WordPress’ servers. It was a very good tutorial and suggested getting to know a little HTML programming to be able to solve some minor problems. In related searches, I found lots of great resources on HTML programming, including 30 videos which teach you the basics.

Ever since, I’ve been writing and playing with HTML code. I haven’t got to the point of writing a full website, but I did get to write a website, publish to the net using a server using an FTP program. Granted, it doesn’t look like much, but it’s an achievement to me. It’s only a couple of titles, a paragraph and a bullet list. If you use WordPress, that’s just a couple of clicks of a button and selecting the correct formats. In HTML, however, it’s a lot more work. As exampled:

<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>
<title>My First Website</title>
<meta charset="utf-8" />
<link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css" />
</head>
<body>
<div class="wrap">
<h1>My First Website</h1>
<p>Welcome to my website! Here are some things I enjoy.</p>
<ul>
<li>Web Development</li>
<li>Chess</li>
<li>Reading</li>
<li>Learning</li>
</ul>
<h2>Favourite Quotes</h2>
<blockquote>
<p>Here is a favourite quote of mine...</p>
</blockquote>
<blockquote>
<p> ...and here is another</p>
</blockquote>
</div>
</body>
</html>

 See? Not so simple. Still, I find it really good fun. I might even add it to my Freelancing job. But first, I need to get my skills up a bit.