Front-end Web Development/Notes
Notes from previous Frontend Web Development classes.
Class for 2013-04-01: Preprocessors
This class expanded upon the topic of backend web apps by talking about preprocessor languages - languages which compile into HTML, CSS, or JS. We'd taken a look at PHP and ERB, but we also walked through languages that look nothing like HTML (HAML), and languages that compile into CSS (Less, Sass + Compass) and JS (CoffeeScript). These languages can make your life much easier as they help keep you from repeating yourself (DRY!).
Class for 2013-03-25: Backend web development
This class was all about the seedy underbelly of web development: the backend!
I know we already have a backend class here at Noisebridge, but this one was tailored toward frontend developers wanting to get a taste of how things come together. We spent the first half talking about PHP, then moved onto a Rails, a more complex example.
Here are the steps used for class preparation:
THE EASY WAY:
If you would like to follow along and are on Windows or OS X, the easiest option is to run a virtual machine:
- Install VirtualBox AND the Extension Pack
- Download this preconfigured Ubuntu virtual machine (1.82GB)
- Double-click the .ova file. You might want to check the "reinitialize the MAC address" step.
- Start the machine after installation and you're all set!
- System username and password are both "frontend". Feel free to change them if that's uncomfortable.
THE HARDER WAY:
If you don't want to use a virtual machine. I haven't tried these myself, so I can't profess as to how easy or hard it is.
On Linux, you'll need to follow these steps:
On Windows or Mac OS X:
- Start with RailsInstaller: http://railsinstaller.org/
- And for PHP:
THE HARDEST WAY:
Install Apache, PHP, RVM, Ruby, and Rails individually. Good luck!
Class for 2013-03-18: Version control (Git) and the command line
This class was a general overview on version control and the command line. I'd taught how to use an FTP client to upload files to the web, but the truth is that most developers don't do that anymore - rather, they collaborate with their peers by using version control systems, which allows them to keep track of their work in a reliable fashion and push it to the web.
Again, this class wasn't about web development per se - it was just an important introduction to using the command line to work with Git, one of the most popular version control systems. Everyone created their own repository and checked in their work.
No video for this class :(
The repository we created
Class for 2013-03-11: Old vs. new: progressive enhancement and browser testing
We talked about progressive enhancement - a practice where websites are created in a layered way that makes them accessible and cross-browser friendly. We looked at two versions of an example site and demonstrated how one is outdated, and the other adheres to progressive enhancement principles. We've touched on these concepts throughout the whole class, but in this class we focused on why they're important, and what could happen if you DON'T adhere to them.
This segued nicely into a talk about browser testing - how to do it and what to look out for.
Class for 2013-03-04: CSS3
We've covered CSS3 before, but in the context of a mockup. We went further into CSS3 with a demonstration of what the new technologies are, how to make the most of them, and how to make sites using them look good in less capable browsers.
Class for 2013-02-25: Mobile websites
We took this blog and turned it into a mobile-accessible website via the use of media queries. We also talked about the rest of the world of the mobile web: user agent strings, frameworks like jQuery Mobile and Sencha Touch, and the future of HTML5/CSS3 in mobile website and app development.
Class for 2013-02-11: HTML5 elements
We took an entertaining (in my opinion) look through this page containing every currently valid HTML element. Many of them are considered "HTML5", but that's just because they're new.
Class for 2013-02-04: More useful jQuery plugins
Our final jQuery-focused class touched on a number of other common plugins that are found in the wild. We took a closer look at Bootstrap and jQuery UI, and looked at plugins that make your page look super snazzy:
- Datepicker (jQuery UI) - fancy datepickers appearing near your input fields
- Accordion (jQuery UI) - collapse and unfold lists of elements
- Scrollspy (Bootstrap) - change navs to highlight where you are scrolled on a page
- Cycle - make easy slideshows
- Chosen - style dropdowns
Class for 2013-01-28: Sign-up forms
We continued working on our site and added a sign-up form, with validation, inside the modal. We used the jQuery Validation plugin. This is a very common request from clients and it comes in handy to know all the tips and tricks of forms and validation, and what new HTML5 elements can provide.
Class for 2013-01-14: Menus and modals
We went back to the "professional" site we'd put together a number of weeks ago and added more functionality to it with some jQuery plugins. We first made a dialog box - or a "modal" - pop up when you click the sign up buttons. We did this by introducing jQuery UI to make common web development tasks easier. We also add some dropdown functionality to our menus using pure CSS, but this can be done using jQuery UI or Bootstrap as well.
No video for this class. :(
Class for 2013-01-07: AJAX
Class for 2012-12-17: File transfer
We talked about file transfer - not only uploading files using FTP, but using the web browser to get and send information via forms and other methods (an overall talk about HTTP GET/POST).
Class for 2012-12-10: jQuery, cont'd
We continued learning about jQuery by focusing on the example we saw last week. We're added functionality to it that made it seem more like the real thing.
Class for 2012-12-03: jQuery
No video for this class. :(
Class for 2012-11-05: Working from professional mockups, cont'd
We continued putting our professional-looking site together from where we left off.
Here is the code that the mockup was based off of - a good way to check your work. It might differ slightly from what we did in class.
Class for 2012-10-22: Working from professional mockups
Class for 2012-10-15: CSS floats
Floating is the secret sauce behind creating websites with multiple columns, navigation menus, and basically any block element that's aligned to the left or right. We learned about floats by taking a look at some examples, then took a mockup and created a site from it.
Class for 2012-10-08: CSS positioning
We focused on positioning of elements: spacing them out from other elements using margins, positioning them absolutely on the page, positioning them relatively, fixed and more.
Class for 2012-10-01: CSS selectors and the box model
CSS selectors are probably the most complex part of the CSS language, so we looked at them further in-depth. We also talked about the box model, the display concept that makes words and containers on the web look like they do.
No video for this class. :(
Class for 2012-09-24: the basics
We covered the very basics:
- Explaining "frontend" vs. "backend"
- Discussing tools of the trade
- Explaining the separation between structure, presentation, and behavior
- Writing a basic HTML page
- Styling the page with basic CSS
- Explaining the role of frontend web development as a job and career