Welcome to Code Camp! I’ve been deep into coding this week with multiple assignments due and classes that have so much content to digest I can barely keep up. I think out of all my classes, my Programming Languages class with Venkat Subramaniam has been the most informative and interesting.
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned thus far in the class is how similar languages really are. It’s so much fun to pick up a language like Java (which I’m quite familiar with) program an easy to grasp example, then turn around and program that same example on Scala and Groovy which are both on top of the JVM. Though Scala and Groovy hail from Java-land, they are so different in both implementation and syntax.
After school is finished, I want to hit the books I’ve got on my Programming Book Wishlist hard. I’ve been playing with the idea of having a Read/Work-Along on some of the books I’ve been recommended across my career as a student. Here are a list of some of the books I have on my book shelf, waiting to be read and worked through:
- The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
- Programming Ruby 1.9 (3rd edition): The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide
- Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide
- IOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide
- Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages
- Code Complete
If you have any suggestions or thoughts on the matter, feel free to leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
As you may have noticed, Crafting Night Tuesday was cancelled this week on the blog. School just started last week, and I’m still trying to get a handle on my new schedule (aka no real crafting was done). Crafting Night will be back next week with an update on how I fit crafting into my busy schedule (as well as some pictures on what I’m working on).
Today I’d like to talk about some of the online video resources I use to get up to speed quickly on topics I may not be familiar with, or know very well. These resources are (in my opinion) no replacement for buying a good book and learning a language or concept top to bottom, but they will provide you with enough information to get you interested and speaking intelligently on the subjects they cover. I’ll only be talking about video based learning materials today, but you can expect future posts on text-based materials.
My first experience with online video based learning was through Code School. I was lucky enough to win a free gift card to Code School last year during Houston Techfest. Code School focuses mainly on web-based development, but also has some great courses on Ruby and Git. The courses heavily subscribe to game theory. You watch a short lecture, complete some tasks implementing what was talked about in the lecture, then get a badge. At the end of each course, you get some prizes (including a $5 credit towards your next month’s bill). This is still my go-to resource if I want a crash course in anything web-based. Code School allows me to get a taste of a language or concept and provides resources for further learning. At $25 (really $20 as long as you finish a class a month) a month it is a little steep, but I don’t see myself unsubscribing anytime soon.
This is a new screencast that I just recently started watching and have subscribed to. NSScreencast is a series of videos made by Ben Scheirman giving 10-20 minute talks over pertinent topics within the iOS and Rails world. My first introduction to Ben as a speaker was at Houston Techfest last year. It was at his lecture that I was inspired to go out and learn Rails. Through NSScreencast Ben provides a fast-paced informative talk that you can watch once week. I’m still going through the archives, but I’d highly recommend going to the website and viewing some of the free videos. If it’s something you are interested in, subscribe for $9 a month.
From what I understand, RailsCasts is the epitome of Ruby on Rails screencasts. I was rewarded by Code School with a free month to RailsCasts and I continued my membership so that I could have the access to all the content available. Ryan Bates does an amazing job at offering short videos with lots of information. There is a large archive covering various topics within the Rails world. Just like NSScreencast Ryan provides free videos to check out, and for some this will be all you need. If you are interested, a membership will only set you back $9 a month.
These are my current top three resources. As you can see, most of these are iOS based or Ruby/Rails based, but that’s not because I define myself as an iOS or Ruby developer (or at least not yet). I’d love to hear from you, what video based resources do you use to learn languages or development concepts?