Getting Started

A (brief) helpful history of the web:

When the web was invented, people were unsure of its use and purpose. They knew it could hold and send information, but they weren't sure what kind of information it would send.

The first major language for the web was HTML (HyperText Markup Language). It is a language (with its own rules and symbols) that allows people to create text and links on the web. But text alone was limiting - people wanted to also include pictures! After pictures were added, people wanted to keep adding more functions to the page: for example, automatically redirecting from one page to another, or typing numbers into a formula and getting a result, like a calculator.

A company called Ecma International was able to design a new language to tell the computer to do all of these things. This language was called ECMAScript, which then became CoffeeScript, and eventually, JavaScript (as we know it today)!

JavaScript was a really powerful language that allowed software engineers to do many things - but people wanted to make it easier. For example, engineers would have to write two paragraphs of code just to make a button move on the screen when you click on it. The reason for that is that computers are dumb if things are not explained to them in detail, which takes time. To make programming computers much easier, Jquery was created: a library of resources to help coders communicate with computers. Essentially, it is like giving the computer a page from a book that tells the computer how to make the button move, instead of having to write it out yourself.

This makes programming computers much easier.

Resources for beginner software engineers

What is W3Schools?

Throughout this pre-course, you will be learning a lot of programming fundamentals from W3Schools. It is a great online resource to learn and understand programming languages. Their resources explain HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and you can even quickly try out their code examples by clicking on “Try it Yourself.”

What is Replit?

In order to run code, you typically need to download software that is tailored for this. Replit is a website that allows you to code and create websites directly online, without all the effort of setting stuff on your personal computer. It's what we'll be using in the Final Project of this pre-course to make things easier for you!

What is Stack Overflow?

Everyone gets stuck sometimes and there’s no way you’ll remember everything about code. Stack Overflow is a website where programmers ask questions and get answers. You will find that most of the problems you will face have already been answered there.

For example, if you’re trying to figure out how to make an image rounded, you can google “how to make an image rounded stack overflow” and find the answer in the first few results links.

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