Before you begin working through the milestones, this overview covers a few things you should know to move through the course, including what you’ll learn, how to use our code editor, Codeframe, and how to learn to code effectively using the resources available online, in addition to what’s here already.
What we’ll learn
Things we’ll cover
You’ll get a solid understanding of…
- Basic of good design on the web, from typography to color and layout to animation and interaction design
- How to create and code responsive design that work across different screen sizes
- How to think about accessibility, so as many people as possible can use what you make
- How to break down a design or wireframe to go from sketch to code
- How to share the websites you build under your own domain name on the Internet, so evryone can access it.
- Where to go and what to learn after Zero to Code, if you want to continue learning
In short, think about it this way: you’ll walk out of the course with a rockin’ personal webpage.
Things we won’t cover in depth (yet)
There are some topics that are important or interesting, but for which I think there are other high-quality tutorial or courses available online, or for which I don’t currently have time to built curriculum, so we don’t cover yet. These are…
- How to build dynamic web apps and services that require login, user accounts, profiles, and APIs
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content management systems like Wordpress
- Other languages or environments used for the web like Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails…
If you’re interested in learning about any of these topics, the aren’t out of the question! Drop me a line at @thesephist or reach out from the about page.
Using Codeframe, our code editor
Codeframe is the code editor we’ll use through most of this course to build projects and experiment with new concepts. It looks like this.
You can edit the HTML, CSS (inside the
For a gentle introduction to Codeframe, let’s write some HTML! Make sure the HTML mode is selected (it is by default), and type this snippet of HTML code into the editor pane on the right/bottom, replacing
[your name] with your name:
As you type, you should see something appear on the preview pane. What do you see?
You should see three things:
- A big, bold header that says Hi Codeframe!
- A smaller bit of text that corresponds to what you typed in between the
- A small button
This is HTML! Try hitting Save & Reload, and tap the preview button to see the webpage you just made open in a separate tab. To share what you just wrote with anyone, you can open it in a new tab and copy the link, like we just did here, or you can copy the link in the URL bar in the preview pane of the editor itself (they’re the same link).
After you save your work, you can always come back to the same version of the file with the URL. If you copy the URL to the editor itself, you can come back and continue to edit the code you’ve been editing.
This is Codeframe! Experiment with the HTML code in the editor, and see if the website you see in the preview behaves the way you expect it to. We’ll explore HTML in depth in the first milestone project.
Some tips on learning to code
Like learning anything new, learning to code requires a bit of a mindset shift. Here are some tips I’ve found useful in learning to code without getting to frustrated or bored, and to get the most out of the materials I have.
- At first, it might feel like there’s a lot to memorize. You don’t have to memorize most things you come across (I’ll tell you when you need to remember something specific). Google is your friend, and the key is to remember that there’s a way to do something, not necessary to remember exactly how to do it. As you practice and create more and more, you’ll learn these shortcuts and keywords by heart.
- Whenever you’re copying some sample code into the editor, if it’s not too much, try typing it out by hand instead of copy-pasting it. This will help us get it in our fingers faster, and make us think more consciously about what we’re writing.
- Add more tips here…
Resources elsewhere on the web
There’s so many resources online that’ll be helpful for you as you learn web design and development. Here are a few of my favorites that I’d recommend you find, if you’re ever stuck or want some inspiration.
MDN (formerly Mozilla Developer Network)
CSS Tricks is a blog dedicated specifically to design on the web. It covers actual “tricks” in CSS to achieve certain design styles, but it also contains lots of generally useful web design advice. Often, if you’re looking for a way to achieve a specific visual effect with CSS, CSS Tricks is a good destination.