James Van Dyke

Front-end guy at UserVoice Joined over 7 years ago

  • 0 stories
  • Posted to Interior Define – Warby Parker for Sofas, Jul 07, 2015

    Site looks so nice it makes us want to buy :) Any discount codes for us DN folks?

    0 points
  • Posted to veryman, Apr 10, 2015

    I call him "whyman".


    4 points
  • Posted to Ask DN: Has anybody taken a course at Thinkful, in reply to Marcus H , Feb 18, 2015

    Congratulations! I hope it goes well. The Thinkful team is very responsive and accommodating. I'm not sure about "pausing", but you can always ask.

    0 points
  • Posted to Ask DN: Has anybody taken a course at Thinkful, in reply to Marcus H , Feb 18, 2015

    I'm a mentor for the front-end (FEWD) course. It sounds like Thinkful would be useful for you. The FEWD course does include some basics of programming, but only because you're going to need to be familiar with the concepts in order to make a site that is maintainable.

    I can't answer whether Thinkful is the best option for you, in particular, though. I can say that I think you can get the same knowledge from a recent book about web development and by reading sites like netuts and Smashing Design, but that's a lot of content to sift through. So it's the guided vs. self-directed question, where Thinkful falls somewhere in the middle.

    For example, if I were learning from scratch, I think that I would prefer a community college course or two about the basics of web programming. Then, I would pick up a few books with exercises to dive into topics that interest me. I'd rather have the college course for direct access to a teacher and the books to study at my own pace.

    If you're strapped for money, or just want to be more efficient with your resources, I recommend reading the entire book Eloquent JavaScript v2 (it's free online) before you start the course. you can burn a lot of time (read: money) in the course if you're struggling with basic concepts and vocabulary.

    0 points
  • Posted to Ask DN: Has anybody taken a course at Thinkful, in reply to Jeya Karthika , Feb 18, 2015

    That's correct. The only thing you lose when your subscription expires is access to a personal mentor.

    0 points
  • Posted to Ask DN: Has anybody taken a course at Thinkful, Feb 06, 2015

    Hi Marcus,

    I mentor at Thinkful and can give you my insight. I believe that Thinkful is a unique service, but may not be for everyone.

    One neat thing about Thinkful is the inclusion of mentors. Mentors aren't your TA in truth, but more of a limited resource you can rely on to supplement your learning. You'll still be doing the work yourself, but a mentor can help you get unstuck. Mentors provide the most use in keeping you grounded. They have real world experience in the given subject and can provide practical advice and coaching that is not included in the course. That being said, YMMV.

    As a mentor, I see your project, but I don't grade them (no one does). I'll provide some constructive comments to make sure my students understand the main point of the lesson and the limitations of their code, but that is balanced by encouragement to ensure that they stay engaged. I'm not trying to bring them up to being A-grade programmers from the start, but to make them aware of the underlying practical complexities that may not be apparent from reading the course. I will also do code exercises in an online text editor to show more advanced topics as appropriate. This is something that can be missing from other online courses.

    Thinkful may not be the best if you are completely new to programming. As in, you haven't programmed before. I've noticed that students without previous experience struggle though parts of the front end course. This may be true of other courses as well.

    There's a large community on Slack for students to get help in addition to their mentors. This can be faster than emailing a mentor since mentors have day jobs and don't get paid to hover over Slack or their Thinkful emails.

    Also, I feel that Thinkful isn't trying to be the end-all source for learning a topic. The front end course, of example, covers the basics but does so at times by asking the student to go read a certain site or chapter from an external book. I also refer my students to free online courses to supplement their learning in parts they are struggling in or that I don't feel are covered well (i.e., object-oriented programming).

    I'd be happy to answer any more specific questions you might have.

    0 points
  • Posted to Ask DN: Which car do you drive?, Dec 17, 2014

    1999 Mazda B2500. Green. Manual. Got it for the cost of the title 5 years ago. Car seat on passenger side.

    Not mine, but looks the same. Even the toolbox.

    1 point
  • Posted to Frontend Local Development Setup? , Dec 02, 2014

    We use a custom gruntfile to serve our content, because we have a thick client. Our API runs in a separate process, started manually.

    I've used MAMP before and wasn't too happy. I prefered to have more control and run closer to production by using a custom provisioned VM with Vagrant.

    If you're looking to try something new, I would suggest using a Docker-based solution like Fig or even simpler, Bowery.

    1 point
  • Posted to lesser of two evils: @import vs large stylesheet, Nov 12, 2014

    For page performance, loading them all at once is better. @import statements halt the processing of the page and future downloads until complete and processed. In other words, you're adding overhead without any benefit. More info: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/service/FlattenCssImports

    If you're in the mood for a suggestion... There are lots of solutions out there, but you might want to look at LoadCSS


    If you separate the files for each course, you can use loadCSS to load the extra needed stylesheet when the user navigates to that page.

    2 points
  • Posted to Ask DN: Custom jQuery download Builder?, Oct 15, 2014

    I don't know of a website that does this for you, but you can do it easily enough on your own. Check out the documentation on their Github page: https://github.com/jquery/jquery#how-to-build-your-own-jquery

    Know that jQuery 2.x is only about 34k over the wire when compressed and minified. Most of that is core functionality, so you may not save a lot by going through the trouble.

    0 points
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