Portfolio Site

Coming back to FCC means redoing the challenges and this time I’ve tried to push myself where I can.

This is my compulsory portfolio page: https://codepen.io/JammyPiece/pen/pwVrog

It’ll be nice to finally get some projects on it.

Next stop on the journey is basic javascript so here’s where I need to hunker down from the beginning to get a good grasp for the hard bits. Allons-y!



I’m still here! Or rather, my computer is still here and I’ve been hiding in a corner not touching it for a long while- the depression having put a kabosh on any motivation I had. So, I’m about to relaunch into making my own private portfolio site. I’d started it but then abandoned it. I think I was trying to do too much too soon and burnt out. But that way, I’ll never succeed.

So, I’ve gone to Dev.to for some uplifting reads, watched some ChristheFreelancer videos on youtube and am minutes away from jumping back on the horse, if only I could remember which way round the horse should face…

Back to Basics

I’ve just returned to doing FCC- HOORAY! I missed you!

I found the Moroni book really helpful until 2 things really didn’t click and I found the book didn’t adequately explain them for me. The first was the DOM and ‘getElementByID’ element. Then there was the ‘navigator’ element. When we finally hit a bit on JQuery, I’m sorry but I had to bail as it wasn’t working anymore for me. I’d finished most of the book anyhow so I’ll use for reference as I progress with FCC.

I’d had a bit of a break for nearly a week for health reasons but the thought of giving up completely (creative writing was the next big idea) annoyed me- I do really want to learn to code. I think one weakness in my motivation comes from not yet really understanding what I CAN do when I have the skills. I don’t yet have the vocabulary to either understand or describe the possibilities. I’m illiterate. Harumph!

Anyhow. I’ll keep reading my reddit forums, dev.to round ups and your blog entries in a hope to pick up the lingo and open my eyes to what I’m actually learning to do.

Slow but steady

1960's female computer scientist

I’ve been working through my Sam’s textbook at a steady rate. It’s good as there’s not too little, nor too much code to copy. I continue to develop my website- it’s really basic and chunky and horrible at the moment. But I know I’ll get to jazz it up with bootstrap once I get back on Free Code Camp. What a knowledge of html or css won’t help with is the poor quality photo- note to self: take a better one in work clothes…


I’ve had 2 major learning points since I last wrote. The first was -webkit/-moz pre-fixes alongside the column lines. I love the simplicity of the wording. Also, I was having difficulties with the headings inside the column wandering off to sit where they wanted. However, I eventually discovered that the ‘page-break-inside:always’ did the trick.

I had to create a table to position my projects-to-be gallery. Allegedly, you shouldn’t be using tables for positioning things but at the moment that’s all I know so it’ll have to do. I’m itching to get creating now and see what you can actually do with javaScript. At the moment, everything’s quite static with html/css.

Pacing Myself

When I started this blog, I set myself a 2 year deadline to get my full-stack cert from Free Code Camp. I’ve just come back from a 5 (!) month break and am basically having to start from scratch. This has led me to look at the estimated time scales and see how long it should take me at my new, slower pace.

I’m planing on doing 7 hours a week for the front-end cert which will take me at least a year. More if I use all the estimated times that FCC give you. Then it’ll be another year for the data visualisation and back end certs if I double my time to 14 hours a week. That’s still not that much and if my health improves, I’d be looking at 20 hours a week if my energy and brain function allows.

So, I’m now unlikely to hit my target of 2 years, as per my blog title. But the game is still on and I feel okay with that. I’d rather spend 3 years and achieve my goals than spend no time and never reach them.

What the heck happened?

5 bleedin’ months!? I had no idea I’d been away for so long…

I’d not abandoned my blog or goals but my long standing depression got in the way and has been causing me exhaustion when I do too much mentally and the amount of fcc work I was doing broke the camel’s back, so to speak.

Anyhow, I’m back and with a new approach. I’m going to have to limit myself, as much as possible, to 52 minutes a day- as per the research here on ideal study periods. I’d like to do a lesson a day but if that’s not feasible, I’m going to have to learn to let it go.

I’m also taking a step back from fcc for a month while I work through Julie Meloni’s ‘HTML. CSS and JavaScript’ (2015). It’s a really good textbook with quizzes and plenty of practical activities. What I like, and why I’m studying here first, is that it doesn’t shy away from the technical background stuff. I’m on chapter 1 and it addresses web domains, ftp and responsive web design. These are things that weren’t covered by fcc before you plunge in.

So, today, I set up my first ever web domain- lornaroberts.net. Tomorrow I ought to have a teensy, tiny bit of content- probably the notorious “hello world” My plan is to use this as my portfolio site/playpen. I just need to figure out directories first…

Blog one-month anniversary

Dearest readers,

Beyond my skeptical expectations, it’s been over a month now and I’m still both doing FCC and blogging. I have to admit to having a week off after finishing JS but I got annoyed at myself for abandoning the opportunities that becoming a developer could bring I’ve dragged myself back to it. I’m both excited and very unsure of the next section which is basic algorithm challenges. This is where you need to start thinking like a programmer.  Which I’m looking forward to. But will also require me to be able to recall or, more importantly, understand the previous lessons… I’ll keep you updated on how each challenge goes, if or when I get them completed. Perhaps with the odd frustrated winge along the way. No. 1 is called “Reverse a String”.

Finally, understanding!

Hello, folks.

Been in a JavaScript personal hell what little self-confidence disappeared and I’ve flopped around like a fish out of water. However, I have, finally, managed to fully understand that Profile Lookup FCC challenge. So, here goes for a walk through:

We start out with x initialised at 0, moving as far as the end of the contacts list and moving on one at a time. Now, if the value of firstNames is a match, and the property value also has a match, you return both the first name and the property.

But if only the property has a match, you return “No such contact”. Then finally, if there’s only a firstName match, you return, “No such property”.

All of this is very similar to the original instructions which I completely over thought. I also didn’t allow myself to thoroughly go through my notes which would have helped a lot. So, while I’m still the odd bit or bob off trying again without notes, I get what my mistakes are and why they’re wrong. So that’s a wee bit of progress.

Next up is a session on Object Oriented and Functional Programming. Then a big, big 50 hour chunk of basic algorithms in  long list of problems to solve. I’m looking forward to the new challenges but I’m concerned I won’t manage them. I feel like I’m hitting a natural boulder of ability that I’m not going to get beyond. I really need to get building another website so I don’t forget those basic skills while I try to obtain a different set of basic skills.

Do you ever doubt you’ll reach your big goal? Do you have any mental tricks to get past those doubts?

Back on the horse

Well, I decided to get back on Free Code Camp a bit early as I’ve been getting disillusioned with with my text book- Sam’s HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It had started out well and I felt I was getting extra concepts that with FCC but then I started typing out the exercises and realised that there were quite a few concepts that hadn’t yet been explained, or not fully enough in order for me to properly understand what was going on.

So I’ve restarted JavaScript on FCC from the beginning. I ought to get back where I was tomorrow. I can’t totally blame my book though. I’m struggling to retain anything at the moment but maybe that’s just because JS is hard if you haven’t done any coding before at all…or maybe that’s just an excuse and I need to work smarter.

I’ve just rejoined the gym and been going through posts on Pinterest for some motivation.  My favourite is “your speed doesn’t matter. Forward is forward.” Make it so.

A penny drops

Today’s efforts have elucidated a few issues for me. Firstly, arrays. For whatever reason, I hadn’t grasped that they’re packets of information. I was viewing them as sequences of numbers. Rather than seeing the numbers within an array and the instructions relating to that number specifically,  instead its position within the array. So that’s a minor breakthrough for me.

Secondly, the evil FCC exercise that had been eluding me has become 2/3rds understandable. I now understand that:

variable x is initialised at 0 value, runs until the end of array called contacts and involves moving on 1 position after each loop.

Then, if during the loop, a first name matches a first name AND if property matches with a property, then you return the values of x(first name) and the property.

If it takes a subsequent loop and it finds a match just for a first name it returns, “No such property” and if it loops again and doesn’t find anything then “No such contact” is returned.

What I still don’t understand is the useage of ‘.firstName’ and ‘.hasOwnProperty’. I mean, I get what they stand for but I don’t know the use of the dots, nor where the hasOwnProperty bit arrived from. At least I’m not too worried and have a bit of faith that I’ll come across this in my textbook before it’s time to get back to FCC on Sunday.

Meantime, I’m going to watch the Harvard CS50 computing course videos on youtube. I’ve heard it’s really good at explaining how to think like a programmer. Ciao for now!