Weeks 1-6 Midterm Review

Thanks for all the feedback on the Weeks 1-6 Midterm Review “assignment”.

Some of the suggestions, questions and comments

* more coding assignments – if you have specific suggestions, please let me know. There is always a huge range of skills and interests in the class. Everyone needs to demonstrate the basics. Everyone should be challenged. If you aren’t challenged, you are welcome to add to the difficulty and complexity – be sure to include comments so it is clear that this is your intent.

* Voyager – using ftp to transfer files is something every web developer need to know about and how to do it – once. Most professional web developers rarely use this unless something is really messed up. If you transfer your HTML file from Thimble, remember to transfer the .css file as well. Then make sure the .css is linked correctly from your page on Voyager. So if you can transfer a page to Voyager and we can see it, you are done.

* more about web site hosting. JavaScript, programming – These will be addressed in the coming modules. This will be high level introduction only as in-depth specifics are beyond the scope of this course.

* discussions – There is a lot to consider for web development. There is more to it than just writing some code. If it was just coding, you can learn this in a couple of hours. The discussion introduce a broad range of important topics. Following the links, you get to see dozens of web sites – some good, and a few that are great.

* online learning – There is more to learning anything than just doing the assignments and getting a grade. In the time available, it isn’t possible to cover every possible condition or problem you will encounter as a web developer. The discussions provide a good cross-section of the type of problems that will come up, and how these can be resolved. Even though this is an online course, there are 20+ others working on the same assignments and reviewing the same articles and web sites. You are not alone.

There are so many great questions and suggestions. Here is another batch.

* Layouts for every device – Where most people get stuck is trying to precisely control the exact look of the page on all devices. HTML is expressly defined to provide viewers and devices flexibility and override on page display. Unlike printed pages where the designer gets to dictate everything, the web isn’t supposed to work like that. I prefer a narrow window on a big screen and big font on my phone. I don’t care what you think is aesthetically pleasing if I can’t read what it says. This shouldn’t mess up your page layout. Try for a good general solution and let the device display work it out. It may not be exactly what you want, but it is pretty good for everyone.

* defining style – external, internal and inline – Remember – there are 3 ways to specify style information. Throughout the class we have been emphasizing external (separate .css file) and internal (style element in the page head section). The third and most direct styling is the inline style tag. Use INLINE style information to apply directly to a paragraph or words in a paragraph. Inline styles override internal and external styles when multiple types of style sheets are found on the same page. See Willard p.44-45 and in example throughout 3. Style Sheet Setup.

* div – Sites with many pages with different types of information benefit from div – define once, use many. For example, if a site has a page for each department, each page would have contact information, function description, etc. All the contact information should look the same although the content is different. Using the same div for department contact information on each department page makes this easy.

* Need to know – You many never use some of this stuff in real life, but it is important that you know what is available. Most people never use an image map, for example. However, it may be handy to provide links on an image rather than a big long boring list of text. You now know you can do this!

* questions, helping others – It is great that questions get asked and answered by the class participants. Thanks to all for your contributions. However, if you ask a question and you don’t get a satisfactory answer, please point this out. Ask a follow-on question or ask the question in a different way. It may be an oversight or a misunderstanding about what was being asked.

* video tutorials, lectures – This is always tricky. There are 1000s of good videos on every imaginable subject at every level of detail and video length. When you find a great video about a topic, recommend it. These will be added to the collection. A list of video tutorials by topic is in the works.

Here are a few more points that have come up…

* Some people are still struggling with Voyager. If you can display your page but the CSS is being displayed – Did you copy your .css file to Voyager as well as your page html file? is it in the public_html directory? Is the link to your css file in your html page file correct?

* ATC Lab Help – if you are on campus, stop by the ATC Lab Help desk. Someone there should be able to provide specific information to you. Troubleshooting at a distance for getting Voyager to work for you with your account and files is really difficult. It is much easier to just show someone in person.

* Videos – There have been more requests for videos, so a page of links to videos by module topics will be posted shortly. These range in length from 2 minutes to 4 hours. The length will be next to the link.

* Example of the assignments – Because there is no one “right” answer to the coding assignments, look at the work of other students. Ask them questions if you see something that you don’t understand. Yes, this can be more difficult for you but you will learn much more.

* More coding, less discussion – Discussions are opportunities to examine code in the real world. You should be looking at the source code for every article you access for the discussions. This is more effective than simply giving you a list of tags to use as a coding assignment. Think of the discussions as a treasure hunt – what cool coding examples are being used in this site? Why is this appropriate for the content I am researching? How did the search engine know to bring up this particular page or article?

* JavaScript – we talk about JavaScript a bit. It is great for validating input from users, and for changing the page for each individual visitor as appropriate. JaveScript is both powerful and easy to code. However, it is not well standardized so each version of each browser handles things differently. Too bad because it was a great tool when most of the code worked in most browsers most of the time. This is no longer true, unfortunately.

* Individual / final project – coming soon. This project will give you the time to work on your own “site” and to use the tags, attributes, properties that you need to achieve the look and functionality you want. Start thinking about this project now. Also consider working with an informal group to share ideas and give and get feedback – more information in the coming weeks.

* Code challenges – check the Questions & Updates forum for Coding challenges. How did they do that?



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