Take Chances, Make Mistakes, and Get Messy!

So my coaching football season is over and I have a bit more free time to work on some web development!  I haven’t shut out all learning though!  Here is what I have been up to:

  • JavaScript & jQuery interactive front-end web development by Jon Duckett — I just started the Events chapter.  I really think this will be one of those books I have to go back and read.  When I went through the HTML & CSS book, I was able to understand pretty much everything the first time through.  But the JavaScript & jQuery has been a different animal.  The DOM chapter really helped me understand the methods people used that I thought were coming out of thin air.  I think I also understand the this keyword a bit better now.  But XSS and some of the Event Listener stuff is kinda confusing me.  I think it may be due to me not really focusing on the different ways we have to accommodate for older IE browsers (just a hunch).  But overall it really has made some things clearer for me.
  • Team Treehouse — I have unpaused my membership to Team Treehouse and started back on it.  I went through the creating a website for “Smells Like Bakin” to help remind me of all the parts of HTML & CSS.  It actually really helped in understanding CSS grids.  I think I may be to a point where I understand where to go for simple grids and how to use them.  I plan on throwing together a website with this in mind.
  • The Odin Project — I have been listening to a new podcast called Codenewbie (which is pretty awesome, and can be found at codenewbie.org), and one of the guests mentioned this website.  So I ventured there one night (during one of my night classes I help teach), and really liked what I saw.  So I have tied it to my Github account, and started going through it also.  It seems like it will focus in Ruby a bit more than I want, but I have gone through some Ruby courses during my Front-End Track on Team Treehouse.  It seems to really focus on projects, and that is what I need to be working on more and more.

Which brings me to what I did yesterday.  I make a little webpage where the focus was determining the hour for the computer, and using that to change the color of the background and text (here is the Pen for it on Codepen.  I wanted to start here because A) it sounded interesting and fun to do and B) it would get me off my butt and start making some things.  I think I have been in a rut of where I have been reading, watching, listening, etc.  to all kinds of things about web development.  The one thing I haven’t been doing is taking on projects (big or small) and just practicing and playing around.  Ultimately, this has been to my detriment I believe.  This may be why I feel so overwhelmed by all that I am reading and learning.  I need to take a queue from Mrs. Frizzle off of the Magic School Bus and do as she always says, “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”  Maybe I have been satisfied in my comfort zone, maybe I just thought (think?) that I do not have enough time, or maybe I am scared.  I don’t really know, but I could see it being a combination of the three.  I think I have some ideas of what I want to do, but I kinda feel like I need to know more than I do now to accomplish those things.

You may be something that is here.  You know what?  That is probably true!  But what better way to learn about those things than to get headfirst into a project and start figuring out what you need/don’t need?  This is something I need to start telling myself.  I still have problems with determining what projects are too big, too small, too expansive, too easy, too blah blah blah.  I think I am using those as excuses to not start on anything.  The key is to just start making things, and it doesn’t matter the size, scope, difficulty, and other aspects.  Just make some things you think are neat.  Ultimately, I think this will lead to making things that are really useful or entertaining.  So know that I have acknowledged that I have been making excuses maybe I will start actually making projects and stuff.  So here are some things I would either like to make or just tools I would like to play with:

  • CSS3 animations — not sure where to go with these.  But I am thinking about loading animations right now.  I have also thought about using this (probably alongside some JavaScript and jQuery) to work on some basic math formulas. (Pythagorean Theorem, Graphing Lines and Systems, etc).
  • Menus — I know that most people use jQuery to create responsive menus, but I wonder if there are good responsive menus that could be created using only CSS3.  I think the issue should be the show/hide part of the actual menu button, but maybe there is something to be used as an alternative to this for CSS3.
  • Mini-game — I really like video games.  So I think I would like to create a stupid little mini game just to get started.
  • Long one page website — You know those long one page websites where the background image is fixed, but multiple background are scrolled through as you scroll down through each section? Those look cool.  I would like to make one.  I am curious though about doing that for the smaller version for the website, and having the different sections become columns on the desktop version of the website.

Let me know what you guys think about any of this.  Are there any obstacles you experienced?  How did you clear them, or did you clear them?  What are some things that might help me on my journey?  Thanks for reading guys, and have a great day!

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