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I'm on the first stage of the front end web program. Should I be coding my website on workspaces all along?

I'm simply wondering if I should be working on coding my site from the get go. I would not want to start from scratch towards the end of the stages of the whole front end web program. What does everyone that has completed the program recommend?
My plan is to get a job after finishing this thing.

4 Answers

Dylan Marsh
Dylan Marsh
4,328 Points

You're very welcome! The art background is great to have for this line of work actually! Every track has their own specific courses, or set of lessons (I.E. "Build your own Website" which is the first course), so what I would do is complete each of the courses and take a break in between them.

Apply AT LEAST 1 - 2 things from each track to your first website before going on to the next course - If you don't know a way to apply it to your site make a new bare-bones site and test the new thing that you want to practice. Make the exact website Nick creates after the first course to start WITHOUT COPY AND PASTING in order to physically type the code yourself! ( obviously put your own name/colors/etc...), then move on to the next courses and start applying what you learn to your first website. That really helped me out!

Where you have the photography background, you can showcase 6 or so images like Nick does and do it the exact same way. Write a little caption under each of your pictures or maybe even use one of your pictures as a background-image for your header (If you don't know how to yet, don't worry, it'll be covered soon) There's plenty of ways you can incorporate what you learn into that first site, even if it's deleting code and re-writing it using a different assortment of selectors or applying short-hand techniques.

For taking what you know outside of Treehouse, I wouldn't recommend paying to host a website until you are more familiar with what you're doing. I would go to http://brackets.io/ and download it. This is an IDE (Integrated Developer Environment) which is also what workspaces is.

In other words, it's where you do your coding and set up everything you need. There's a whole bunch of IDE's and people will tell you how much better certain ones are over the other ones, but in reality you should just go with whatever you like. Brackets is a pretty solid one; It's very simple, there's a lot of add-ons and updates, it has a live-preview option that allows you to see your changes in real-time (and actually outlines what your working on it's pretty awesome) and the best part of all - IT'S FREE.

Use Brackets - or if you find better something better through a google search then use that software - until you do all the lessons and make your website super-awesome. Then put your website online and start building a name for yourself by working on projects!

Dylan Marsh
Dylan Marsh
4,328 Points

Also, I would highly recommend taking some of the courses at http://www.codecademy.org as well as what you have here at Treehouse. I took most of these before coming here and it gave me a good base to go from. Also, the data is presented in a different way so it may help you learn better for certain things. There's a lot of cool practices with API's (you'll learn about those if/when you get more into the programming (mostly JavaScript + PHP) side of things) and little "30min" practice goals. It's 100% free so you have nothing to lose! Again, I would definitely check it out - especially if you've been putting a lot of hours into these courses it's nice to have the change of pace and different environment.

Ps - I'm by no means a master but feel free to add me on facebook or twitter!



Dylan Marsh
Dylan Marsh
4,328 Points

I am not done the program yet either so whether you count my opinion is up to you. I started the first class in the front end development track with Nick Petit and immediately AFTER doing the entire course made my own site with my own tools (following almost exactly what he did). I find for me that it helps to test what I know after everything so it doesn't distract me or take away from what sinks in while I'm doing the lessons.

Since I finished the first class I've been going back to that first site I made and adding 1 - 2 small changes every time I learn something interesting (either through the lessons or possibly a question you might have and end up googling) In the end, I hope to have a beautiful site that I will actually use to showcase all future projects.

Now, this has worked for me so far but It also depends on your learning style. I prefer to power through the lessons and then really test myself afterwards so I know which areas stuck with me well, which areas I kind of picked up, and which areas didn't stick whatsoever. From there I can re-watch videos or practice whatever I need to. So, in essence, I would say to just do what feels right for you.

The thing to remember (especially if you're looking to get a job afterwards) is that the more you rush things, the less comfortable you will be with what you learn. There's no way it's all going to stick with you no matter how smart you may be. You will have to practice as much as possible and even then you will still forget something (even if it's minor).

So to summarize

  • Work along with the videos - optional (depends on how you learn)
  • Make a basic site after the first lesson and BEFORE you continue - Definitely do this
  • Continue to make that basic site a little better when you learn something cool - Helps me, but up to you
  • Possibly start a new project if you run out of ideas for site #1 - Just keep practicing!

If this is something you really want to do as a career just keep working hard and it will pay off! I believe in you, buddy! Also Merry Christmas and/or happy holidays if you celebrate something else. You can do this.

~ Dylan

Thanks Dylan! I really appreciate the feedback. My background is in photography, I obtained a BFA from an art school in San Francisco but all I managed to get was squat. Now I'm really trying to make this count since I don't want to be a bartender all my life. I guess that what I was really asking is, if I should power thru each lesson and then at the end try to implement what I have learned. By lesson I mean each step of the 14 steps in the front end web program. I am definitely not trying to rush thru the program since I really want to learn. Do you know how to apply your coding outside of treehouse and workspaces and then test it to see if your coding looks right on what will be on the web? I have done it before in a multimedia class but I don't remember now.


Thanks again Dylan! Happy New Year!