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By Mark Niemann-Ross | Saturday, July 11, 2015

Take Back Your Summer! Learn to Code

learn to code this summer

OK, kids. You thought you had two precious months of freedom. Nobody to tell you what to do. Sleep until noon, hang out with friends, no schedule.

But you’re finding everyone else has plans for you—right? #takeoutthegarbage #mowthelawn #cleanyourroom #loadthedishwasher #readagoodbook #getajob #takecareofyourlittlebrother #nomorescreentime

Don’t panic! We have a plan that’s going to make you cooler, get your parents off your back, and earn you more screen time. Are you ready?

By Scott Fegette | Monday, June 08, 2015

Get Your Hands on Code with New Practice Environments

practice-environment-static

Learning how to code doesn’t have to be a challenge. But when faced with setting up development environments, code editors, and servers before you can experience your first taste of success, it can certainly seem like a challenge.

Fret no more. With the new Practice Environments at lynda.com, there’s no setup involved. You can start coding alongside your course immediately in the comfort of your own web browser.

By Scott Fegette | Friday, April 17, 2015

A Peek Into the Life of Game Developers at an Indie Studio

find out how game developers roll

What does it take to be a successful independent game developer in today’s competitive, multi-platform market?

We asked Christine Clark and Matt Marshall of indie game studio Wayward for a peek into the life of a game developer.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Friday, April 03, 2015

Code as a Second Language – And Why It Matters

Code as a Second Language - Why It Matters

Learning to code is being proposed by some as an alternative to learning a second language. Imagine having the choice: French, English or JavaScript. It’s an interesting concept, but could present problems if you’re, for example, traveling in Spain and order a bottle of fine Rioja with something like “function getwine(‘2 liter’,’house’){};”

Research on brain activity conducted with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may support a connection between foreign and computer languages. A person is placed in an MRI scanner, then asked to perform a task. As the task is performed, scientists observe what parts of the brain use more oxygen, which identifies the parts of the brain being used for specific tasks.

This research suggests that our brains respond to computer programming in the same way as performing music, verbal creativity, problem solving, memorizing, repeating actions, deduction or rhyming. Rhyming words like “weep”, “beep”, and “sleep” light up your brain the same way as “while (x > 1) { result = result * x; x--; }”.

By lynda.com | Monday, January 12, 2015

Code Drives the World. Learn It on lynda.com.

Code is a new form of literacy in today’s world; it powers more and more of what we interact with each day. Learning some coding isn’t that difficult, but you may not realize the ways that programming can make you better at your job.

Find out how a little coding knowledge could enhance what you do this year, by exploring the infographic below. Below it, you’ll find lynda.com courses to get you started.

You’ll be surprised at how easy—and helpful—it is to add a bit of code savviness to your resume.

By Ray Villalobos | Thursday, December 27, 2012

Introduction to JavaScript templating using mustache.js

Recently I built a small website for an event in my area. This type of project required me to manage small amounts of data—information about speakers, bios, titles, and a description of the talks. I wanted to have a speakers page, but I also wanted a rotating promo built as a component I could use on the homepage, and on other pages to highlight the event’s speakers. That meant two different views for the same data.

This was the kind of problem I used to throw a quick SQL database at, but it really wasn’t worth the pain for this project as the amount of data was so minimal.  However, I didn’t want to resort to HTML because I knew the information would change often and be a pain to update. To solve the problem, I used a library called mustache.js. It’s pretty easy to use, and solves the problem with just a few lines of code.

Why mustache.js?

Mustache is a library that allows you to read in JSON formatted data and display it using templates you design with JavaScript. There are lots of similar libraries, such as underscore.js, handlebars.js, and dust.js. So why did I choose mustache?

By David Gassner | Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting started as a programmer and what language to learn first

It scares me to say this, but I’ve just celebrated a big anniversary: I’ve been a software developer for 25 years. My first programming language was something called PAL. It stood for Paradox Application Language, and was a part of Paradox, a popular DOS-based database application that was in many ways the Microsoft Access of its time. Over the ensuing years, I’ve learned and forgotten many languages as I moved into different areas of the software development world. But I found that each language was progressively easier to learn. Once I understood the fundamentals, I was able to apply lessons learned so far to the new challenges facing me.

No one was around in the beginning to tell me that programming was difficult. I had some work I needed to do, and with the help of sample code and tutorials, I figured out how to do it. It was only later that I learned how intimidating programming sounds to some folks. But it doesn’t have to be painful at all, and I believe that by finding and using the right learning resources, and moving forward in small incremental steps, anyone can learn to code.

We’ve been hearing from our members for the last few years that programming has become more important to you, and so in 2011 we responded by publishing a series of courses on some of the world’s most popular programming languages. In this post, I’m going to describe what you need to know to get started as a programmer and how to select a first programming language to learn.

If you’ve never done a lick of programming, you might want to start with lynda.com staff author Simon Allardice’s course Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals. As in many industries, software developers have their own lingo. Words like statement, function, method, and property have very specific meanings, and some of these meanings can differ from one language to the next. Simon explains the language of languages, and compares many of the most popular programming languages with each other. Examples are provided in JavaScript, Java, C#, and many others.

The next step is to choose your first language. Which language you choose will depend largely on what you want to accomplish. You might use one language for building web pages, another for creating applications designed for cell phones and tablets, and so on.

The most popular programming language course in the Online Training Library® is, unsurprisingly, the most recent edition of our ever-popular JavaScript Essential Training, also authored by Simon Allardice. JavaScript is so popular because it’s the programming language of the modern web. It’s the language that “glues” other web technologies together, such as HTML and CSS. It’s supported in all modern browsers, and is at the core of many popular web frameworks such as jQuery. Looking beyond the browser, JavaScript is also used in many other software development environments, including Titanium, a set of tools for building cross-platform mobile applications, Node.js, a recent entry in the world of server-side web application development, and Unity, a package that enables building games for many platforms.

If you want to build native apps for mobile devices, you might choose Objective-C to build apps for iPhone and iPad. Objective-C Essential Training will help you get started, and then you can move on to our other courses on building apps for the iOS operating system. Java Essential Training with David Gassner (yes, that’s me) teaches the language that’s used to build native apps for Android and BlackBerry devices, and C# Essential Training with Joe Marini will help you get started with building Silverlight and XNA apps for Windows Phone 7. And once you learn either Java or C#, you’ll be able to build not just mobile apps, but also applications for the web (client- and server-side) and much more.

In addition to the courses we added in 2011, the Online Training Library® offers lessons on other languages that you can use for a variety of tasks. These include tutorials on Perl and Python with Bill Weinman, PHP and Ruby with Kevin Skoglund, and one of my own personal favorites, ColdFusion Markup Language with David Gassner (me again).

So regardless of which language you want to learn, you should be able to find some valuable tools in the Online Training Library® to help you get started. I really believe that if you have something you want to accomplish that requires a bit of programming, you can learn it. That’s lynda.com’s new motto, and it absolutely applies to the world of software development.

Interested in more? • All developer courses on lynda.com • All courses from David Gassner on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Foundations of Programming: FundamentalsJavaScript Essential Training (2011)Objective-C Essential TrainingC# Essential TrainingJava Essential Training

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