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Week 3 – JavaScript

Last week we learned all about how CSS works to Style a Web Page. If you missed that post you can find it here. The third week of the “Grow with Google Challenge” on Udacity was all about JavaScript. This section consisted of seven sections: “What is JavaScript”, “Data Types & Variables”, “Conditionals”, “Loops”, “Functions”, “Arrays”, and “Objects”. This section is the biggest and most complex so far. It took some effort to get through all of this in one week, but I emerged triumphantly.

What is JavaScript?

In this section, we got a very brief overview of what JavaScript is and a brief history. When I say brief, I mean it. This section took less than 15 minutes to go through including the videos and demos. Short and sweet definitely works in their favor for this topic. I have gone through other JavaScript tutorials where they spend way too much time on the history of the language.

Data Type & Variables

Data Types and Variables are typically the first things that you learn about JavaScript or any other coding language. This section was quite large and contained 25 parts, which includes lessons, videos, and quizzes.

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The Data Types & Variables section contains the following lessons:

  • code comments
  • numbers
  • string
  • string concatenation
  • variables
  • string index
  • escaping strings
  • comparing strings
  • booleans
  • equality

This section was quite big, but Udacity did a good job of breaking it up into smaller consumable bites. Also, they regularly gave us quizzes to prove that we understand and remember what we learned in the previous lessons.

Conditionals

By far the most complex section of the course so far is the conditionals section. This section presents you with learning material as usual, but the quizzes are way more complex than anything seen so far in this course. I can see this section as being the place where you will find out who has the motivation to continue on with this course and who will give up out of frustration.

Conditionals included the following sections:

  • if … else statements
  • else if statements
  • logical operators
  • truth and false
  • the ternary operator
  • switch statement

Loops

Don’t you hate when someone repeats themselves? Don’t you hate when someone repeats themselves? Bad joke, yes, but this is what the DRY principle is all about. Don’t repeat yourself. Loops kick off one of the common ways developers use to not repeat themselves. The lessons here are not as difficult as the conditional section but are still challenging for the newbie.

This section contains the following lessons:

  • while loops
  • for loops
  • nested loops

Functions

Continuing with the DRY principle, we learn about Functions. This section continues by using lessons, videos, and quizzes to teach and reinforce the topic. This section is another place where the complexity of the quizzes suddenly jumps up a notch. Some quizzes will require a lot a practice and require you to use everything you have learned so far to generate the correct answers.

The Functions section includes:

  • declaring functions
  • return values
  • scope
  • shadowing
  • global variables
  • hoisting
  • function expressions

Arrays

Storing multiple values easily and efficiently using arrays is the next topic. Once again you will quickly learn and use your new found knowledge to solve several complex learning challenges. Some of the later lessons may require some googling or help from the community to finish. They are pretty tough.

The Arrays section includes the following:

  • creating an array
  • index
  • length
  • push
  • pop
  • splice
  • array loops
  • map

Objects

The final section in the JavaScript unit is about objects. This is a brief section in comparison to what you just completed. However, you should have a good understanding of the previous lessons before you move onto this section.

The Objects section includes:

  • objects
  • object literals
  • naming conventions

That concludes this week’s unit on Javascript. It is the largest and most complex unit so far, but I was able to successfully make it through. Next week I will tackle the final lessons of the course. Next week consists of lessons on the DOM, selectors, event listeners, jQuery, and a final project. See you next time.

In the meantime, I am going to pick up “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” as an additional resource to reinforce all the skills that I learned this week.

Learn about the Udacity Grow with Google Challenge
See what I did in Week 1 of the Udacity Grow with Google Challenge
See what I did in Week 2 of the Udacity Grow with Google Challenge


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