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🚀 It features one-page chapters and online companion exercises.
But technology changes fast.
Let’s explore how he did that.
1. One-page-ish chapters. One chapter per day.
- Short Chapters – easy to digest chunks
- Coding Examples – plenty of visuals
- Real World References – uses every day scenarios to explain concepts
- Interactive Exercises – test your skills online
To illustrate, each chapter is only one or two pages.
He recommends you only do one chapter a day. This is so the concept actually sticks to your brain. . .Rather than cramming a ton of stuff and not remembering half of it.
Further, most concepts are broken down into chunks of sub-concepts.
For example, working with strings is broken down into four chapters:
- Measuring length and extracting parts
- Finding segments
- Finding a character at a location
- Replacing characters
2. Author Mark Myers doesn’t make assumptions about you.
This may seem like a silly point, but as an “outsider” (he doesn’t work in the tech industry) he doesn’t make any assumptions about you.
Look around at other resources and you can see how often this becomes a problem.
Many instructors working in the tech industry assume you have pre-existing knowledge of certain things…Despite the fact that these are NEWBIE LEVEL TOPICS. And that can cause you to walk away or give up all together. (As a self-taught dev, I know the feeling all too well).
At the very least, it’s frustrating and time wasting. Because now you have to keep looking for another resource that respects that fact that you’re new.
On the other hand, Mark does not make assumptions! So it is truly newbie friendly. (This goes for his other books in his Smarter Way series, too).
3. Online exercises for each chapter.
After you read each chapter, you’re invited to test your knowledge with the online exercises. Basically, you log on to his website and select the chapter you’re working on.
From there, you’ll be challenged with a collection of questions relating to the topic.
For example, you’ll work with challenges like:
- fill in the blanks
- typing out code snippets
- drag and drop code
- JSFiddle – an interactive code editor
This is a good feature to really help the concepts stick.
And that is the quality of some of of the online exercises. While the questions are good, a few were buggy on my browser.
I’ve found the best browser to use is Chrome, but there are still some bugs regarding correct answers.
For example, in one instance I gave the correct answer, but it was still marked as incorrect.
This was not a common situation, but it was confusing when it did happen.
In web development years, that’s ancient history.
For example, you will learn the
var keyword rather than
let used in ES6.
Further, you will define functions with the
function keyword, rather than the “fat arrow”
=> that ES6 uses.
And if you’re completely new to coding, syntax is far less important than learning programming fundamentals and problem solving skills.
For example, learning why and when we use functions is far more important than the characters used to type it.
But still, for what it offers, I do recommend it for most new developers.