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🎙 Learning Curve Podcast

EP 12

Beginning Javascript 🧗‍♀️

April 27, 2020 ᐧ 30m 1s

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Show Notes

How did you get started with Javascript? This is the question Brittik and Aravind answer in this episode along with fun stories and few resources for getting started with JS. Resources Codecademy Tree house Hosts Aravind Balla Brittik Basu Learning Curve Podcast


🤗 This is transcribed using an AI tool. So don't expected it to be perfect. If you find mistakes, please help us polishing this by making a PR.

Welcome to the learning curve Podcast, where brittik and Aravind share with you everything that they've learned so far about technology startups and remote life.

Hello, and welcome to the 12th episode of the learning curve podcast. Today we are going to talk about JavaScript and how you can begin learning JavaScript, as well as we'll share our journeys to becoming JavaScript developers and all the takeaways we have for you is packed in this episode. So Aravind, when did you start JavaScript like when did you hear about it? What was your journey?

I believe I started, like, I knew about HTML and CSS in my school like in ninth grade or 10th grade. We used to build small websites including images, like wallpapers and stuff and writing a bunch of like, markup in the below and and that sort of websites but I think I knew about JavaScript when I got into the college. So I was attending a lot of meetups while I was in college. One of the meetups, which was Google's developer groups meet up there. I remember a person showing me a Sudoku app. Okay, and it was like solving itself. You could point it. He showed that in the phone. So he opened the camera. He pointed at a Sudoku, like the image and it solved the Sudoku page. And he totally wrote this in JavaScript. As like, what? you could do things like these in JavaScript. I never knew so that that was the point. I was like very interested to learn JavaScript and interested to explore. What are the things that you could do with JavaScript? Before that I didn't have any idea how to

Did you start coding right away after that, or did you explore some frameworks or basics of JavaScript?

So in that, in that meetup, I took a few notes on on the words or the terminologies that I liked. When I googled them, I couldn't understand any of those terminologies. So I thought I'd learn things from scratch. So I think I went to the Mozilla's docs, read a bunch of stuff, tried to replicate a few things on the internet. And basically starting a simple project and doing like writing native JavaScript.

What was one thing that was is very high tech or confusing for you back then when you just heard about JavaScript, when you were just beginning. And today, it's like, oh, it makes sense. Is there something that you remember? That isn't so difficult today?

So I think I was very confused when people said that JavaScript is a scripting language. But you could do anything with it. I mean, we're a scripting languages, like, you write a bunch of steps to manipulate something, but to do something, but with JavaScript, you could like change the DOM or play styles, or what also I was not clear about where to use JavaScript and for what purpose to use JavaScript, but now, it makes sense.

I think the scripting language thing is confusing. People say that, oh, it's a scripting language. It's not a full fledged language. But it has turned into somewhat of a full fledged language, you can do everything that you can do on Native on JavaScript, you can access, you know, the camera of your phone, or any other thing you know, even the fingerprint sensor, you can do that with just JavaScript. And JavaScript has definitely come a long way. So I think I can understand, you know, the dilemma when you hear it's a scripting language, but no, it can it does more. But I think when you heard that it was a scripting language, it indeed was JavaScript. In the beginning, it did not have the superpowers that it has today. I don't know if five years back if Cordova was so mature like today, or if there was something like capacitor, which the ionic team has, these are like bridges that enable JavaScript to make apps that run on the phone, just like a native app. So things have come a long way. And I don't remember anyone of recent talk about JavaScript like, Oh, it's just a scripting language. No, it's, you know, grown into something more.

So the thing with Internet is you get latest articles and stuff. And also the old things. Right? So if you Google, about script, JavaScript, being a scripting language, you will find articles in that. Because it's the internet, right? What was your story? brittik? How did you start learning JavaScript or getting to know about the web?

So I started a long time back in 1990s. this isn't my developer journey. Of course, it was when I got exposed to computers, I got exposed to the internet. My aunt had a computer where I would use paint and draw beautiful helicopters and other things, you know, use the spray paint brush and just have a good time. That was my first interaction. And it was indeed magical for a kid to experience that. And after that, we had this really old computer, my uncle gifted it to us. And you could put CDs where you would know about everything around the world, you know, different places and stuff. So that was computers, but I never thought about what people actually have to do to make these programs that I was using. Of course, a seven, eight year old kid can't know that. But when I actually went into school, and during my eight ninth grade, that's when we were exposed to HTML and a little bit of basic web development was taught. So that's when I learned about HTML and still I did not have any clue about what JavaScript is? Or what it can do, we were just using lots of tables and nesting things into it. And to create the website structure. We did not know about DIV this is back in 2004, or five. And it was really nice to write code and then see a website. We, we used websites before, but we did not know how to build it. And now I was actually creating a website. So that was pretty amazing. And then, just like you when I went to college, I learned about JavaScript, but we weren't taught about it. And of course, you know, in the first year, so it was mostly HTML. And I remember we got a task to design something. And I just created something in paint and added an image. So yeah, it looked like a website. But no one knew that there wasn't any code, just an image behind it. So that was fun! So that's my intro to computers HTML. And I still don't remember exactly when JavaScript came into the picture. It was mostly scripts, I think that we imported in our websites to get widgets and stuff and calendars. And I remember the web was a lot jQuery was dominating framework back then. I started learning JavaScript on Code Academy and treehouse, they are amazing resources you should check out. And I think the reason I started learning it was because I would import the scripts, but I had no clue how to manipulate it or what they were doing. If I did something, it wouldn't work or you know, it. I just didn't know how what JavaScript was and how to Use it. So I thought, let's learn. Code Academy has this very beautiful way of teaching you if you're someone like me who learns by doing Code Academy teaches you exactly like that. It gives you some instructions. And you're supposed to execute them on the right hand side in a code editor like, window. So that was pretty cool. For me. I learned most of my JavaScript from there. And from treehouse, they are amazing resources. And after that, I stumbled upon a framework called ionic. And that's when it was it became fun, because ionic had this promise that write JavaScript, and we'll make an app out of it. Like, wow, okay, so with my existing skills, I could actually make iOS and Android apps. It was fun. And they also had very good doc. So yeah, basically, that was my intro to JavaScript and computers in general. Aravind what was yours? Like how how did you learn JavaScript? What was your process of beginning to learn the language?

I learned it from somewhere, but I don't exactly remember which website was it. But I surely remember visiting codecademy and the layout that you explain read, there is an explanation on the left and you execute that on the right side. I think I remember this layout. And I might have visited Codecademy as well. But there was this famous website called HTML dog and it had a bunch of stuff on HTML and JavaScript, all the native HTML tags, the JavaScript functions that you could use. I mean, it was more like this Mozilla MDN website, but it was more focused on the learning and it has like a structure to the website. So I think that was where I learned it from. But I don't think it's up today, we really have to check. But I remember doing a lot of stuff like building things play to dos or replicating a website or building some sort of functionality. And I used to Google a lot. I had this good skill of searching for a problem and copy pasting it from Stack Overflow. That's a very good skill to have

Aravind what was the first thing that you built using JavaScript. It could be anything, app website, whatever, what was it?

I built a website, but that didn't have JavaScript. I watched a YouTube series on the person building the website and replicated it that didn't have any JavaScript, but I remember in my first or second year of college, we had this hackathon, where they gave us 24 hours trade to be something of a particular theme, though. So what we did there was we built a QR scanner app. But as I had this skill of copy pasting code, I could like take a take a scanner, open source scanner and I could the copy paste things, change the heading, include that scanner app in the website. And like use the laptops webcam to scan. I mean, I don't understand the code. I didn't understand any of it. But I made it functional. I read what they said and tried to fix that. Then the code is still up on my GitHub, which is very bad. I never like looked it up again after like building that thing. And this APP has earned us second prize in that competition.

Wow, congrats. I mean, I think that was a first app and it won and accomplished

in a day I didn't know anything about JavaScript that much. And in in this time span of 24 hours I could. Even though I copy pasted, I could like build things because no no one else could even like, copy paste the code. So I think it was a good experience of like, doing something which you don't completely understand.

That is the beauty of JavaScript, you know, you don't have to learn a lot to see results.

So that is the beauty of JavaScript you know that. You don't have to learn a lot to see results. You can do a bit you can pick some code from open source. You can also write something very basic and immediately see result. This is something that deterred me from using swift because there is a learning curve there. It takes time to publish on iPhone and actually see it on everyone's devices. Whereas if you create a web app, it's immediately there on everyone's browsers, phones, computers, it's everywhere. So I love the simplicity of JavaScript, where you can write code, see results and just deploy it. So I remember the first thing that I will know I don't remember the first thing that I will, but I remember building a tic tac toe game and it was a fun process, where I use the 2d matrix to create the board and then I manually created it by putting certain numbers on it, which represented x and zero. That was pretty fun and the game is still on on my GitHub. I think it's tic bot I loved it. It was a favorite game of mine. And I built it along with my brother. And he didn't code but he helped me with the logic. There were some edge cases with tic tac toe. And it wasn’t simple game, it was more like you were playing against the CPU. So I had to think about the different ways and also to have a difficult mode, easy mode, and I was just, you know, having my fun with it. So that was the first thing that I did. And then I think I, I went into startup weekend. And that was fun, but I didn't really do much coding there. But after I finished there was someone who approached me and said, Hey, would you join as a co founder, I said, Okay, and that's when when I actually had a real project, when I was working with other people, that's when I built an adventure app where you could find different adventures using Ionic framework. And yeah, that was super, super fun. So I have only coded in JavaScript. I learned a bit of Java in college and a little bit of other languages but never really built anything. I still remember using turbo C compiler. And it was really daunting back then when I didn't really know much about programming

the blue screen

Yeah dude. Did you code in C?

That was the necessary language in all colleges. I think You write the code in some sort of weird terminal or the blue screen and then you compile it. I don't know. I don't, I didn't. I never really like that experience.

Eventually understood what C Programming was and you know, but it still I don't like the experience. There are many developers who still use c++ and C. And they are amazing. They're mostly into algorithms and stuff, and very smart people. But it's not a good first language to begin coding with something easier as basic or are other simple languages that are made for kids or beginners. Or I would even say JavaScript. It's very simple. Yes. JavaScript is very forgiving language. It lets you keep many errors and still runs your code. So in that way, it's a very, very nice and beginner friendly language.

JavaScript is very forgiving language.

Why did you stick with JavaScript? You said you'd learn like C Java and Alright, so what is the main important reason that you stuck with JavaScript?

I'll tell you what frameworks are. They are rules set by other people to make coding in general easier, but still, you have to follow rules.

It was easy. I could immediately do something with it whereas with C I couldn't build a website. with Java. I think there wasn't an easy way to build a website with Java two, there was something called, ... I don't even remember. There was some some way to make websites with Java. But no, it sucked. To be honest. I, I know there are so many people learning Java and stuff, but that's not me. And I think if you are someone who learned Java or whose job involves coding in Java, you will find JavaScript very refreshing. As long as you don't dive into a framework, then it gets. I'll tell you what frameworks are like frameworks are rules set by other people to make coding in general easier, but still, you have to follow rules. But when you don't stick to that, it's freedom and you can do whatever you want and it's very beginner friendly to just stick to vanilla js. And once you get hold of the basics, then you can pick a framework of your choice. And the job of frameworks is just to make things more easier. So if you're building a very big app, then frameworks help a lot. And they minimize errors and stuff. So but you're a beginner. So start with the basics. And eventually you will get there if you want to do react or when is a wonderful react developer. I do everything. But yeah, so that's that with frameworks and how you can just begin with js.

The job of frameworks is just to make things more easier.

And don't let the terminology confuse you. Like, I mean, people, a lot of people say normal JavaScript plain simple JavaScript as vanilla JavaScript because that is the plain ice cream you can find.

Don't let the terminology confuse you.

Everyone loves vanilla icecream that’s why.

that's right. Learning and do JavaScript.

Aravind, why do you love JavaScript? What is it? Why is it your framework of choice?

So the top point for me is that you could like write JavaScript and run it on almost all the devices that you use. Like you can do it on your computer, you could use the same JavaScript and run it on node environment and make a server out of it. These days, there is this framework called Johnny five, which helps you write JavaScript on IoT devices and these microcontrollers. So that even works in your home automation stuff, like I mean, the microcontrollers these days are in fridge TV, and all right, so you can write JavaScript on those devices as well, which makes it a very interesting language. So and you can write the same JavaScript and use those frameworks that you mentioned, like code Cordova or React Native and build a phone app out of it. So how cool is it like you learn one language and you can nail all the platforms. That is the biggest reason why I stick to Javascript.

...how cool is it, like, you learn one language and you can nail all the platforms.

Very, very good reason to stick to JavaScript. Because when we learn something, we want to make sure that you can use that knowledge in as many places as possible. So JavaScript gives us that superpower to do that. I don't know if there are many other languages, which do the same thing with the same simplicity that JavaScript provides.

Because when we learn something, we want to make sure that you can use that knowledge in as many places as possible. So JavaScript gives us that superpower to do that.

What are your thoughts on the future of JavaScript? Do you think it will still be in the game five years down the line? Or if there is anyone starting to learn JavaScript? Is it too late?

So JavaScript has kind of stuck around for a long, long time. I don't know if it's exactly from when the web began, I think we didn't have JavaScript, but it was soon after we did. And we still have JavaScript and it is continuously evolving. With TypeScript. You can see (TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript, by the way) how JavaScript can also have much more complexities that normal JavaScript doesn't have. So it's, it's like a basic thing. And I think in the future, JavaScript will become so easy that you just write it and the compiler will do all the heavy lifting. So for a developer, the ultimate goal that these framework creators are trying to do is to make you write less code, and I already see this vision you have this framework called svelte, and even stencil by ionic where they are focusing on the compiler. So you write your normal JavaScript and the compilers take it in. And they churn out very, very good code with fewer errors. So I think we are moving towards the future and the current framework developers are taking JavaScript further and further ahead and making it a language that will stick with us, definitely for the next 10 years. I'm very optimistic about JavaScript being here. And just think of it there are so many websites out there in the world. And the web has always been friendly to keeping these old websites alive. There hasn't been a crazy breaking change which makes these obsolete so I'm very sure there won't be a crazy breaking change which would make JavaScript obsolete. It is going to be around but it is going to change for the better. So Aravind, what is your take? What do you think about JavaScript being around?

...we still have JavaScript and it is continuously evolving.

...in the future, JavaScript will become so easy that you just write it and the compiler will do all the heavy lifting.

Current framework developers are taking JavaScript further and further ahead and making it a language that will stick with us.

I think it will be around because I see a lot of companies completely betting on JavaScript, like, Facebook has really invested into this JavaScript ecosystem by like, open sourcing its framework called react. And now a few few months ago, or a few weeks ago, it released a new Facebook app, new facebook.com, which is completely rewritten. It used to be only PHP before, but now the front end is completely on JavaScript, and the new technologies. And Microsoft also bets on JavaScript. The the IDE that we use Visual Studio code is completely written in TypeScript. So and that is also open source. It even bought and GitHub that's another thing but and I think I heard that Microsoft is like the team's app is is react app. Right. And also, it's building a lot of the office UI like PowerPoint and Excel. It's front end modules using react. So that is a very huge bet on the JavaScript ecosystem, right? So all these Windows apps or the like desktop apps are also being built by JavaScript using JavaScript. So that that means that it is a serious language, and there is a lot of future to it. So it's not not at all late if you are learning JavaScript now

this is actually a very good time to learn JavaScript. There are so many resources out there. And Aravind, would you like to start with giving everyone a list of resources? What they can start with?

list of resources, I think you'll find a lot of resources on the web by just searching for them. But what advice I would give to people who are starting is that don't, don't get stuck in reading the docs. Because you should have a different mentality when you're reading the Docs or learning from the docs. And do not treat it as your textbooks. Because the conventional way that people do it is they try to complete the syllabus and then answer the questions. That is not how it works in the web these days because you should know that you don't have to know everything before you start building something. Learning on the go or like starting with half knowledge is very important. And I'd say you should, you should start building something as soon as possible. And learn on the on the go by googling what you need. Or if you face any problem, you Google that problem. And in this way, you will learn much better. And and I'd say that project, if you if you build something that you'll use on a daily basis, like you're solving some problem that you are facing, then you will have this motivation to even with continue building that and fixing things on the go. That's my top advice for someone who is starting out. What's your take?

Don't get stuck in reading the docs

You don't have to know everything before you start building something.

Learning on the go, or like, starting with half knowledge is very important.

I think I would say the same thing that yes, you know, do your project. And I would like to add that there is when you look at a language, there is so much that is possible with it. It has so many features, so many technicalities that you can learn, but you're not going to apply all of them. And also you will feel overwhelmed when you look at it as a whole big thing to learn. Rather, if you're just doing a project. Yes, you can do it like Aravind said. So my advice would be yes, start with Code Academy, I would highly recommend recommended. I'm not sure if it's still the same Code Academy or or if it got better or worse, you have to look that up. Also, Team Treehouse is good. The show a few view videos. And after that, there is a quiz, which is basically having to write code. So as long as you're writing code, you're good. You are learning, but ultimately, make something share it with the world. Learn how to use GitHub, what is version control, learn that and also check out netlify. It's it's a service where you can immediately host your website, you can drag your folder there as long as it has an index dot HTML file, it will be out there netlify will give you a link and you can just share it with the world. So yeah, put something out there. We will be very excited to check it out.

So yeah, these are the things that we wanted to talk about beginning JavaScript, we shared our stories with you. If you think you you picked up some tips from here, do let us know how did it help? And do let us know about your stories of how you started or how you are going to start. Also, tell us about the things that you built or you’re starting to build by replying to the episode, tweet on Twitter,

and guys do 100 days of code challenge you can do it and it keeps you accountable. The world knows and yeah, if that is something you're if that's your cup of tea, start that. If you're someone like me, who doesn't want to, you know, brag about what you're learning, just learn a lot something and share it, share it with the world. We hope you guys love this episode, like share and you know, follow us. And yeah, have an amazing weekend. Bye

Do 100 days of code challenge. You can do it and it keeps you accountable.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai