To Quote or Not To Quote

To Quote or Not To Quote

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’m making a career change. I briefly mentioned FreeCodeCamp, but thought I’d tell you a bit more.

FreeCodeCamp was started by some people who looked at the ever growing need for capable programmers and decided to do something about it. So they wrote a curriculum that will give users a solid grounding in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, the three languages on which the visible side of the web is built, and on top of that give users the opportunity to build up a portfolio of projects that will help them get that coveted first coding job.

Sounds like any coding boot camp, right? Wrong. FreeCodeCamp has some very important differences.

To start with, it’s completely online and completely self-paced. That means you can do it from anywhere in the world. Campers connect with each other in the various regional and general chat rooms on Gitter to help each other out, find people with whom to pair program, and just hang out and make friends. At the time of writing there are 106 080 of us, and the site hasn’t even been running for a full year yet.

It’s also free. All it will cost you is the cost of connecting to the internet. Most coding boot camps on this level can run into thousands of dollars to complete, including living costs.

It’s open-source. The entire 800-hour curriculum is in a public repository on GitHub, so anyone can copy, modify, and even contribute to it.

And it helps people. Not just the people getting a valuable education in our tech-centric world for free, but the 800 hours of practical full-stack projects are spent building real-life web-apps for non-profits that don’t have the funds to pay experienced web developers to do it. FreeCodeCamp students have saved various non-profits almost half a million dollars already.

And the bonus? It’s simple enough that you can do it even if you know nothing yet about coding.

I’ve just finished my first project – called Ziplines – towards the Front End development certificate. It’s a random quote machine. I originally wanted it to show Doctor Who quotes (my birthday illustrations had actually started out as part of the design for that project), but the BBC denied me copyright permission. (Serves me right for trying to follow the rules. I should have just used them without permission like GoodReads and a host of unofficial wikis do.)

So, I decided to use the most quotable person in the English language instead: the immortal bard, ole’ Billy Shakespeare. You can view my quote generator on CodePen.

It doesn’t yet work right on mobile browsers – still figuring that out – but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out thus far. The wife made the button, by the way, but I made it move.

If you have ever wanted to learn more about coding, even if only to use a little HTML or CSS to tweak how things look on your blog, give FreeCodeCamp a try. You might find coding becoming your new obsession like it did for me.


Disclaimer: This post is in no way endorsed, sponsored or requested by FreeCodeCamp.com. I wrote this because I think this site is great and want to make others aware of it. Please follow the various links provided in the text for more information.

6 thoughts on “To Quote or Not To Quote

  1. Hmmm. I am so very clueless. But I really would like to be able to do this … Do you come away from it able to design actual websites? Because I can write the copy but it’s frustrating not to be able to make the whole thing happen the way I want it to.

    1. The focus is much more on JavaScript than on HTML and CSS, but you should be able to build a page (and then some) from scratch once you’re done. The curriculum doesn’t spoon feed you, mind. One has to get familiar very quickly with sites like Stackoverflow, CSS Tricks and the Mozilla Developer network to help one figure stuff out, but I reckon one learns more that way in any case.

      If you want a basic primer in HTML and CSS, especially as you can use them on WordPress.com, I can also recommend Lorelle’s WordPress School, starting with the post linked.

      If you look at the project I linked in the post and you click the “Edit in CodePen” link at the bottom, you can see the actual HTML, CSS and JavaScript code I used to make that. That’s the type of thing you’ll learn to do in the early stage of FreeCodeCamp.

      1. Thanks, Herman. I’m going to come back to this in a couple months, I think. Lots to do to prepare for winter … but during those long, cold, dark months I’ll have plenty of time to learn something new.

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